Why students’ engagement in creating digital content matters?
In spring 2020, the marketing team of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences accepted the challenge to test the new marketing approach and pass over the opportunity to create digital content about the university, its study programs, the city, the country, and local environment to the students.
Generation Z and digital content
According to various research findings, future students, who belong to Generation Z, expect modern digital materials, for example, visuals, quotes, photos, videos, short videos, and graphics. The easiest way you can win the heart of Generation Z is to use digital or real-time marketing, which should be used on different communication platforms.
On the other hand, there is a growing demand for matching needs and personalization opportunities – finding and choosing what you are interested in or what is needed in a particular situation, ignoring everything that is not relevant or interesting, or unnecessarily delays time.
Although Generation Z finds what they need themselves, there is still an unarticulated need for content curation from the sources they trust. At the same time, it is also essential that the communication is focused on the students’ achievements, not the university's milestones, and it must be aligned with global trends and events.
Ongoing experiment 2020 - 2021
Taking these main principles as the guiding notes for students’ engagement, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences opened up the possibility for its students to create a team, which would produce the digital content about the university for future students and share it in their social networks and the university’s main communication channels.
Students received mentoring and technical support from the university’s Multimedia lab, especially in using a green screen, a light board, filming, editing, and creating an audio-visual story.
The primary outcomes of the ongoing experiment with students' engagement during the last two years (2020 and 2021) are the following: 33 university students, 4 pupils from Valmiera State Gymnasium, 5 industry representatives, 6 teachers and professionals as mentors were involved, more than 100 created unique digital content and shared on social platforms Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Youtube, and one scientific publication on the findings of this concept and experiment.
The marketing team and ViA researchers used this experiment as a case study and analyzed the processes from a scientific point of view. The results were presented at the 15th International Scientific Conference "Society. Integration. Education" on May 28, 2021, and the publication "STEM Students' Engagement to Foster International Marketing through Digital Content" is available at: http://journals.rta.lv/index.php/SIE/article/view/6489.
Building marketing ecosystem
It is essential to balance the students' interests in creating the digital content with the expectations from the university to show the complete picture of its activities. Indeed, it requires creativity and a certain amount of risk-taking so the results can be unpredictable. For using the full potential of students’ engagement, the international marketing ecosystem should be in place and well-adjusted to the specific needs of the university.
During this project, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences tested and adapted the marketing ecosystem by involving 5 different parties: STEM students, media students, future students, industry representatives, and teachers. Transformed were also the students' engagement, main functions, and digital content categories.
As a result, the marketing team is convinced that the students’ engagement concept should be continued in the next academic year to boost interest in STEM subjects by creating more personal and in-depth stories on what it means to study STEM.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube and check for the most recent students’ work.
Contacts for more information on this initiative: Administrative Vice-rector Iveta Putnina, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unofficial top selection of student’s digital content:
- Randevu with ViA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aETCN3m8tpU
- Podcast “Inspiration” (11 episodes): https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAqO5Z45U8pU1LTfisrY_6vgWI4kUwCyM
- Student types in Covid-19 pandemic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFLYwahK6bc
- Game: One day with IT student: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy3dqMAiELw
- Interview with industry representatives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7hpznFDvOg