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Colleges Are Hiring Their Own Students as Covid-19 Safety Influencers

  • September 26, 2020

She pointed to the influencer twins Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight as an example of what the future will look like for university marketing. The twins, who have millions of followers on Instagram and YouTube, are paid by Baylor University, which they attend, to promote the school as a destination for prospective students. (In August, the twins announced on Instagram that they had both contracted Covid-19; “It is NOT due to in person classes that this happened,” they wrote, praising Baylor’s safety precautions.)

Temple University has created paid positions for student vloggers, and shared content created by influencers on campus across its official social channels. “We keep a good pulse on the influencers in our student body,” Kristen Manka-White, a marketer at the school, told Inside Higher Ed.

The University of Maryland is planning to start paying students to share coronavirus safety information on social media in the coming weeks as part of a larger student ambassador program, said Sophie Tullier, assistant director of assessment and research for the division of student affairs.

The ambassador program began when the school limited the number of students returning to campus, leaving many R.A.s without jobs. The students were reassigned as ambassadors, with duties including handing out safety information on campus and providing other students with masks. Some of them will also be paid for posting on their own social media accounts.

The students won’t be paid based on their posts’ engagement rate, Ms. Tullier said, explaining that instead, a social media post would count for “15 minutes or 30 minutes” of work at an hourly wage. She added that while the school does plan to track engagement rates for the content, “we won’t be using that as any sort of incentive pay structure.”

The goal, she said, is for them is to come up with content and “bullet points.” These could include identifying Monday as for “how to maintain your mental health and Covid, while Tuesday is about, you know, remembering to wear your mask, and Wednesday is a reminder to keep doing the daily monitoring.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/26/style/coronavirus-campus-influencers.html

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