The University of Missouri (MU) hired Canadian marketing firm Glacier to choose student influencers around the university that could help stop the spread of coronavirus.
The unconventional approach started at the end of August and cost around $10,000, MU Spokesperson Christian Basi told CBS News. Basi believes the campaign has helped reduce the number of active cases at the university.
“We did see an increase in COVID active cases – they peaked at the very beginning of September, on Labor Day weekend, and then after that we saw an immediate, dramatic drop in the number of active cases,” Basi explained.
Influencer Marketing COVID-19 Safety
Sarah Kerns, a Biology major and one of the influencers chosen for the program, posted a picture of her wearing a Missouri Tigers mask.
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“Through wearing masks, practicing proper hand hygiene, and familiarizing myself with Mizzou’s Renewal Plan, I’m confident that this semester will be awesome,” she wrote, linking to the university’s Show Me Renewal webpage.
The Show Me Renewal webpage showcases MU’s plan for creating a safe, sustainable campus environment amid the pandemic. It displays resources for social distancing, testing, and other safety requirements.
Joining Kerns in her social media advocacy is biology freshman Caleb Poorman, health science junior Erin Marquino, communications senior Annie Vukotich, and business senior Niki Tajik.
The influencers use the #Mizzou_Ambassador hashtag and post content relating to the university’s social distancing measures, using the #CampusClear app, and remaining up to date with the latest MU policies.
The University of Missouri also said that it would be willing to have the marketing firm hire more students to raise awareness about other health issues on campus such as sex education, drugs, and alcohol.
Other Universities Follow Suit
Other schools are also looking into using social media to reach students with pandemic safety messages, especially with the upcoming holiday season.
Auburn University in Alabama set up a site similar to MU’s Show Me Renewal webpage called A Healthier U, which shares videos made by student leaders and campus administrators that remind members of the campus community to follow safety guidelines.