COVID-19 has been impacting students and student associations across Canada for well over a year now. For the most part, students are attending classes online and associations are operating virtually. And while the vaccine rollout is a step in the right direction, it still will take some time before many of us are fully back on our campuses.
In the meantime, we have compiled a list of five things you can implement to make your virtual student association more successful.
Make it easy for students to get in contact with you/reach out for help.
Whether this is having a chat feature on your website, a phone number in your Instagram bio, or an email address on your Facebook, making it easy for students to contact your Association is crucial. If students can easily reach you this makes it known that the Association is there to help and support them.
If students know you are there to support them, this will improve/elevate your Association’s relationship with its students.
Along with making it easy for students to contact the Association, you should also be diligent when it comes to answering questions. This will also help to build/improve the connection between students and the Association. It will also help show students that there is a real person(s) behind the account/platform.
If someone leaves a comment on an Instagram or Twitter post, do your best to answer the question directly or point the student in the right direction to help them get the answer/information they’re looking for.
Have interactive activities that students can do on their own time.
Zoom fatigue is real … especially now when we have all been attending virtual meetings, events, etc., for well over a year.
Provide students with opportunities to engage with your Association that still allow them to get outside or just off their screens (in a COVID-safe way). This could be by organizing a scavenger hunt using common household items and having students submit a photo when they’ve completed it or providing students with fun activities they can do on their own time (i.e., a fun word search, a Spotify playlist they can listen to while going on a walk, etc.).
Use multiple different social media platforms.
It’s been previously said before that you should pick one social media platform and stick to it. However, this may be different in COVID-times. Not everyone has Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., so if you only have one social media platform you may be cutting out a large portion of your target audience that is not active on the platform.
However, if you have more than one platform you are more likely to reach a wider portion of your audience – inherently making your Association more successful by helping/connecting with more students.
Keep your website updated.
Although this may be more challenging since messaging is constantly changing with new COVID restrictions and rules, it is important to keep your website updated. Typically, aside from social media, your website is the main place where students are going to go for messaging, and you want to ensure you are providing them with the most up-to-date information.
This past year (a year and about one month but who’s counting) has been challenging to say the least.
If anything, nonetheless, it has shown us how resilient both students and student associations can be. And despite not knowing when the ‘new normal’ will arrive or what it will look like, by using the suggestions and tips above, associations can work to let students know we are still here to entertain, support, and advocate for them.