Authentic student ambassadors with mdx.ac.uk

In this episode, we're joined by our first special guest - Lydia from Middlesex University - discussing student ambassadors and community building.

Watch the latest episode of Most Clicked below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on LinkedIn for notifications about new episodes! A full transcript of this episode can be found underneath the video too.

Nathan Monk
Hello, and welcome to episode two of Most Clicked where we discuss the popular stories of the week courtesy of the education marketer email newsletter. I’m Nathan from SMILE, a leading digital agency for the higher education sector. And today I’m hosting this session with my good friends. Matt Lees is also from SMILE, and Kyle – who is the infamous education marketer.

Alright, so this week, we’re gonna be looking at the top three stories again, call from your newsletter. Why don’t you take it away and tell us what was most clicked last week?

Kyle Campbell
I think before we kick-off, we talked about this Facebook blackout just very quickly. I mean, what was the show? I think this is the longest time the site’s been down since its launch.

Nathan Monk
It was bad! We had scheduled a live stream for 5pm. Literally, the moment that everything went down, and it just took out our provider, we couldn’t do the live stream. So annoying.

Kyle Campbell
Was that a live stream on Facebook?

Nathan Monk
No no, just through the software that we use – because it has so many ties with Facebook. It just bombed.

Kyle Campbell
It makes me think that how connected these things are. And you know, from a content marketing perspective, I always say to people that if you’re building these properties and businesses, you should probably not build them on a rented platform. It’s not just one that goes down if something breaks, and the whole thing could just cascade and now time and time again. We rely on these things every day, and they can go away just as easy as they come. It’s a big warning for all of us, I think.

Nathan Monk
Yeah, absolutely.

Kyle Campbell
Okay, so first item. So the most popular clicked item this week was a piece around Twitter: Twitter spaces. And the new Twitter function allows you to generate revenue through the platform. So I was really surprised at this. The story is that having launched their new revenue platform for creators, and they’ve only managed to generate 6k, in the first couple of weeks have been launched. And that’s across everything. That surprises me because I feel it’s not a failing of the platform in itself. I just think it’s more the fact that Twitter didn’t really speak about it. And I think generally Twitter needs to get a lot better about talking up the things that they’re doing that are quite innovative. Because it’s doing a lot. You know, it has integrations with spatial, which is a new 3d working tool. It’s sort of like a really good version of Microsoft Teams. And it treads that sort of uncanny line between knowing the reality in the digital space when you’ve got this really weird avatar. I don’t know if you’ve seen it?

Nathan Monk
Yeah, I think I’ve seen little bits of it nothing serious. I’ve not, I’ve not taken it too seriously, and looked into any deeper. It sounds pretty interesting.

Kyle Campbell
It is. And you know, I’ve had a play with it. And the thing I did on it was like a digital auction. And you know, I got to see this, this piece of artwork being auctioned in a 3d space. And yes, I was experiencing it through my kind of… not a
budget smartphone, but one that isn’t on the latest iPhone, and it was chugging a little bit. But you can see how over the next few years, this sort of stuff is really going to smooth itself out and, and find a bit more of a foothold in the market. But there’s loads of cool stuff like that happening on Twitter. And you just, you just wouldn’t know about it. So yeah, something needs to happen there. Because Facebook certainly shout about all its innovations, (even if it has gone down recently), but there’s more noise over there than there is on good old Twitter at the moment.

Nathan Monk
That’s really cool. What was what’s up next?

Student Ambassadors

Kyle Campbell
Okay, so, this is a piece from a University – University of Middlesex.

A screenshot of Most Clicked - discussing student ambassadors

Nathan Monk
We’ve got a special guest! Kyle, do you want to do the honours, and introduce our special guest?

Kyle Campbell
Lydia is from the University of Middlesex, and she looks after campaigns and all kinds of marketing across the entire team, really. So we’re very happy to have her on here as our first guest to actually talk through one of these marketing initiatives from a first-person perspective.

Nathan Monk
Hi, Lydia. Do you mind stepping us through a little bit about what you’ve been up to?

Lydia Horstman
Yeah, so I think the video that Kyle chose is a video that we made about teaching and learning. So it’s got three students talking about their experiences during the pandemic, where they’re all learning at home, and then before that, as well. And I think that one of the things Kyle thought was a good thing about the video was how it was a bit real, and
reassuring and personal. And I think that maybe part of the reason for that is the way that we work with the students, which is the way that we always work with students, we co-create with them, and we talk to them before we do anything and understand where they’re coming from, like their experiences and their interests. And then we use that to shape the way that we make the content. And so it feels like they get to tell their story. But we also get to tell our story as a university.

… the way that we always work with students, we co-create with them, and we talk to them before we do anything and understand where they’re coming from, like their experiences and their interests. And then we use that to shape the way that we make the content.

Lydia Horstman, Middlesex University

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, it’s, it’s really cool. And I was saying before we recorded how I really like how you’ve tackled some really challenging things that have been popping up this year, especially around online learning. And you managed to find some students who have had a positive experience.

And actually seeing this stuff front and centre in your marketing is very powerful, because no other universities, I wouldn’t say are dodging that topic… but they’ve been very tactical, by the way they handle it. But you’ve been very forward and how you get students talking about that experience and how they are experiencing their day – and I’m sure you agree, Nathan, that’s pretty powerful!

Nathan Monk
It’s on the money. For a webinar that we did not too long ago, we did some work with Akero. And they’ve got this awesome, kind of data insights thing. And well, Matt, why don’t you talk a little bit about the stuff with Akero and why this is so spot on?

Matt Lees
Yeah. So Alex from Akero spent quite a bit of time talking to him. And he gives some really good insight into the kinds of things that that students are after. And yeah, I think I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, I thought was really quite refreshing to see the students front and centre of that piece. You know, we talk quite a lot about social validation and how the student’s voice means just as much as the institution’s voice so it’s quite nice to have that piece that’s solely focused around them.

Lydia Horstman
Yeah, we try and put people at the centre of all of our content, but especially students, and then last year, actually, we made a video kind of towards the end of their first month at uni. And we got students to kind of film themselves and what they’ve been up to. It was about starting University in lockdown basically, which kind of had highs and lows and they had positive experiences but also they were sad about the fact that they couldn’t meet people in person and one person was an international student, so she had to go home. And so I think that also had a really really good response. I think people took well to the fact that we weren’t trying to sugarcoat things but also students had had a good time. What’s nice about that was; we can kind of revisit it this year and go back to those students and be like what was your first month like on campus? And what they’ve got to add to it.

Kyle Campbell
It really pays to have those core groups of students you know you can go back to. I remember when I was in higher education a lot of your time is spent finding those people and when you finally find one or two it’s like “wow, this is great” because they tend to deliver time and time again. The more they do the better they get and it’s a nice big circle of gratitude.

It really pays to have those core groups of students you know you can go back to.

Kyle Campbell

Lydia Horstman
And then you also know who to ask when you want to talk about certain topics because you know them and you know what they like, what they’re interested in what they’ve got to share.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, absolutely.

That leads us into our final piece about ambassadors.

Nathan Monk
Yeah, knock yourself out Kyle, this one’s all you!

Kyle Campbell
Well, thank you very much. It’s really weird when my own content actually outperforms other stuff. And I had two pieces this week – one that was a bit of a personal piece into crypto and potential to education marketers, and then one which about ambassadors: How to work the core set of principles that lead to ambassadors having better conversations. Quite obviously, the ambassador piece won.

I don’t think people are ready for the crypto stuff yet. And I don’t blame them. It’s absolutely terrifying. So let’s talk about the ambassador principles. And I think the reason this article did quite well is that I perhaps take a slightly different take on it.

I explored a lot of the stuff that goes into building ambassador teams. So it’s stuff you don’t necessarily see in the conversations, it’s the groundwork you do to lead up to those great conversations. And one of the things I looked at was the recruitment process behind getting ambassadors in. So rather than just creating one sort of blanket job ad, it was about breaking those job ads down into the individual type of ambassadors you want to recruit. So you might want to create a digital ambassador to work solely on video or one who solely works on blogging or social media channels, whatever you want to phrase it. But the idea is you’re treating these like individual job specs, rather than a blanket approach that will not necessarily appeal to everyone. So you’re getting quite niche in your recruitment process. Lydia, I don’t know if you’ve got some thoughts on this and how you’ve gone about working with student ambassadors. at Middlesex.

Lydia Horstman
Yeah, so we recruit quite a few across the department and the ones that I’m specifically we’re the digital ambassadors. So we have a really specific JV for them, we include examples of the kind of stuff they could work on in there, which I think helps as well to bring it to life a bit. And talk about the opportunities they’re going to get. And, and I think the other thing we do is we kind of proactively recruit like if we spot people on social who are doing good things, or they have a good audience, We’ll go to them. And kind of be like “you’re a bit of an influencer be an ambassador too!”

Which works really well. I think that I think being specific about what they can get out of it as well is good. We always talk about the fact they’ll get a chance to build digital skills or talk about things that matter to them.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I think you’re right, and that outreach part as well as really important. Too often do we rely on those standard channels putting the job ad out, but you know, if you know there’s talent out there, and you want to sell your role into them that that’s definitely a way to go. And I really like that and a lot of the most successful ambassadors have seen other unis. They tend to come from that sort of roots because they live in this sort of stuff. And you know, why wouldn’t they bring their all to their student ambassador role, too, so yeah, glad to hear that you’ve had that experience too.

Nathan Monk
Awesome. Well, let’s think about starting to wrap up here at Lydia, thank you so much for being our very first special guest ever. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you here. that just about wraps up episode two. Thank you very much for watching. If you liked what you saw, please consider subscribing. And we’ll see you soon. Goodbye!

Default image
Nathan Monk
I'm proud to work for some of the world’s most influential brands that shape cities and define lives: Universities and colleges. I provide advice to forward-thinking senior leaders on how to exceed their organisational targets by creating user-focused, digital-first strategies.

Leave a Reply