January 29, 2021, by Matt Davies
Virtual Volunteering: The DTH Marketing project 2020-21 by Ciara Murphy
In today’s blog DTH volunteer Ciara Murphy, a second-year Classical Civilisation student, shares some of the challenges and successes of virtual volunteering for the DTH.
Each year the DTH takes on a group of around 20 students from the faculty of arts, to volunteer in the Hub and to work on exciting, real world projects. Unfortunately access to the Hub has been strictly limited this year and like so much else, all training and project work has been remote. However, this hasn’t meant the quality of our work or our experience is any less than it would have been in previous years!
This year, there was a choice of three projects to work on; a Marketing project, or one of two projects running in partnership with the University of Nottingham Museum; the video project, or the Photogrammetry project.
At the start of our volunteering back in October, we had to undertake a short training course via Moodle to learn some digital skills. We learnt about topics such as copy-writing, and photo, video and audio editing, skills which we then put into practice to each create a 90 second video on a topic of our choice. A few weeks later we all got together online for a fun video viewing event where feedback was provided by the DTH team and resident video expert Joe Bell. We, as the volunteers, then voted for our favourite videos and awarded the winners prizes.
The Marketing Project
The Marketing project, which is the project I’m involved with this year, involves running the social media platforms for the DTH, producing marketing materials and conducting market research to better understand what Arts students would like to see from DTH. Student volunteers are now responsible for all of the DTH platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. We meet virtually each week along with DTH manager and project supervisor Matt Davies to discuss potential content, compare analytics and brainstorm ideas. I have been running the Instagram account where we share content including our #DTHAppOfTheWeek, a series we created sharing our favourite productivity apps to help fellow students. Volunteer Melania Burlacu created a fantastic graphic template for us to use on all of our posts for this series!
Recently, we have also shared lots of virtual events, including virtual exhibitions from museums, and virtual concerts by Lakeside Arts. For example, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery went global during lockdown with a game to create your own AI museum exhibition.
By switching our Instagram account from a personal account to a business account, we unlocked the ability to analyse our engagement through the Insights tab. This allowed us to do all sorts of things, such as view the age and general location of our followers, and even view the most popular time of day our followers are on the app! This allows us to upload our content at the time we know our followers are most active, improving our engagement.
In November 2020 the School of Humanities Marketing Team very kindly met with us virtually to impart some of their vast marketing knowledge and experience and offer some useful tips on how best to utilize social media.
In the marketing team, we also get experience of conducting market research. Over the Christmas break we created and sent around a short survey for FoA students to complete which has helped us think about content for the social media platforms as well as other online resources offered by DTH via its SharePoint page. Once we received the results, we were able to analyse them and learn more about our target audience. The ‘How do I …’ guides have proved particularly popular and we are currently looking at ideas for new guides which we will be posting about soon!
Benefits of volunteering
So far in my volunteering, I have not only gained digital media skills learning how to use new software and produce content, but I have also improved upon my communication skills, time-management, and organizational skills, all of which are very valuable on a CV. I look forward to developing these skills further and using them in the future.
This years DTH Marketing project team are: Ciara Murphy, Melania Burlacu, Harriot Smith, Anna Hooper, Emily Grote, Miranda Harrington, Riana Unadkat.
The University of Nottingham Museum Projects
The Video project is led by Joe Bell, the University’s Video Production Officer. The team is made up of eight students who will be producing videos to promote the Museum, including a virtual tour and a spotlight on artefacts and exhibits.
The third project this year is the Photogrammetry project led by Matt Davies. The team are working to produce 3D digital versions of artefacts from the museum using photogrammetry.
More details of both of these projects will be coming to this blog soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
More details of the University of Nottingham Museum can be found here.
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