July 23, 2020, by Matt Davies
A Year in the DTH Marketing Project by Maria Benedetto Mozo
Over the past year I have volunteered at the Digital Transformation Hub (DTH) on the Digital Marketing project. We are a small group of undergraduate students who run the DTH’s social media and promote the Hub’s resources. Shifts are two hours every week and can be chosen to fit your timetable – so there is plenty of flexibility!
WHAT DID DIGITAL MARKETING INVOLVE?
The DTH tasked us with finding ways to increase engagement with Faculty of Arts students to increase their awareness of the Hub and what it offers. So, first of all we learned how to use social media data analytics to identify the most popular content the DTH had previously posted. From this, we realised that we had different audiences on Facebook and Twitter and were then able to create content which we thought would be most engaging for each group. In the meantime the DTH organised a specially-tailored marketing workshop led by the Faculty’s Marketing and Communications Manager Helen Frost. Talking to a Marketing professional was a great experience and we were able to implement what we learned about audience behaviour and user stories in our work for the DTH to further student engagement.
Digital Marketing also involved promoting the other DTH projects happening this year. We came up with a ‘DTH Spotlight’ blog series which allowed us to share updates on the projects here on Digital Dialogues. I really enjoyed acting as editor for blogs from other volunteers and getting the chance to write myself. This work was carried out on WordPress, which I had not used before, but can now use confidently. The DTH staff were always on hand to guide us when acquiring new skills such as this.
The two hour shifts in the DTH were mostly spent creating and scheduling posts for our social media. We were introduced to HootSuite, a platform specifically designed for managing social media channels. This meant that all team members could see what posts had been scheduled for the coming week so that our content did not overlap. It was also great for keeping our channels busy without us having to be in DTH posting every day.
I was very grateful that the Hub let us continue to work on the project from home once lockdown started in March 2020. This gave me the experience of working online and collaborating with the rest of the Digital Marketing volunteers via Microsoft Teams, as well as challenging us to tailor our content to reflect student lockdown needs.
OTHER SKILLS LEARNT
Although digital marketing was our focus, there were plenty of opportunities to acquire other digital skills. A particular favourite session of mine was working with DTH manager, Matt Davies, on some basic photography skills. He showed us the different types of camera available in the Hub and how to use green screens and Photoshop. Equally our Marketing project leader, DTH Research Associate Johnny Cammish, encouraged us to try out new equipment and incorporate it into our Marketing content. For example, we were able to learn how to digitise slides from the DTH collections and how to use the Virtual Reality headsets.
Beside learning digital skills, volunteering in DTH provided great opportunities to work both individually and as a team which has given us invaluable experience for future jobs. I also got the chance to assist the DTH on a University Open Day and found that talking to prospective students about DTH resources, equipment and work has developed my confidence and communication abilities.
HOW HAS VOLUNTEERING AT THE DTH HELPED ME?
I had no previous experience of Digital Marketing or competency in digital skills and the DTH proved a very collaborative environment with plenty of opportunity to learn new skills. There was plenty of support along the way and I have learnt a lot in just a year! Although I do not yet know what I will be doing after graduation, the DTH has given me a great set of transferable skills, both digital and personal, and a good foundation to pursue Digital Marketing as a career or a postgraduate qualification.
Even if volunteering is not for you, the Hub has a great collection of digital resources to help with studies in general, so I really encourage anyone to go have a look! For instance, if you are an English student like me and have a load of books to lug home on the train at the end of term, then you should check out the bookscanner. Just turn up with books and a memory stick and you will quickly and easily be able to scan text as PDFs directly onto it – subject to copyright restrictions of course (information on what you can and cannot scan is available in DTH). This turned out to be a real life-saver for me!
I would strongly recommend volunteering at the DTH for both the work experience and the opportunity to work with a really friendly and enthusiastic team outside of your course bubble! If you want to find out more about the Volunteer Scheme and projects, or express an interest in volunteering then check out the volunteer webpage here.