MSSU uses Social Media Ambassador Program to recruit students

JOPLIN, Mo. – Hannah Smithson has nearly 1,400 followers on Instagram and that number continues to grow as she adds to her profile with plenty of green and gold.

“I’ve had a few people, they’ve looked at my profile and they’re like, ‘Okay, I see you go to Joplin like what school is that?’ and I tell them about it and they’re like, ‘We never heard about it, like what made you come here?’ and so I tell them about it,” said Smithson, a senior at MSSU.

As part of Missouri Southern’s Social Media Ambassador Program, Hannah uses her reach to promote campus events, show off Southern Swag and offer helpful advice.

“I’ve had people asking me about classes for help, or how to get around campus so it’s definitely something where people feel like they can just reach out to me,” said Smithson. 

The program began about a year ago under Ashley Eriksen, MSSU’s Web & New Media Coordinator. It started off with just eight students, but quickly grew to 15. She says it has become a useful tool to boost engagement online.

“Everyone can kind of feel what an ad looks like and our goal is to create this genuine and authentic voice and what better way to create that voice than to use actual voices of our students,” Eriksen said.

Eriksen says prospective students tend to respond more to hearing testimonials from people they see as their peers.influencer mssu

“The goal is to create a relationship with the campus community and the high school community. We want these people to be local or be people who are relatable so they’re transfer students, they’re from high schools that are just around here,” Eriksen explained.

In addition to getting free stuff, influencers also take home a new set of skills, something Smithson plans on using in her future.

“I’m actually looking at a marketing position at a hospital back home. I didn’t ever think I would be something like that, but this has really opened doors for me,” she said.

Eriksen added that some influencers have told her that the program kept them from dropping out when things got difficult during lockdown. The program provided them with a network of friends to keep them going.

The Spring 2021 Social Media Ambassador application deadline is set for 5 p.m. on January 13.