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Vlog University

Vlog University is a social media marketing agency run by high school students.

The shift in modern media has changed the way we consume information and are influenced. This change has also altered how businesses & nonprofits market. VlogU embraces this shift to empower youth from under-resourced communities to obtain careers by working with these businesses & nonprofits. The students also become more digital literate while learning how to build their own online movements.



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.






January 2019
So who has the skills to help amplify the messages of schools and organizations through digital platforms? What about digital natives, the ones who grew up with a phone in their hands?

About the innovation

Shouldn't we tell kids to stay off social media?

There's a new way of doing things. There has been a shift in modern media. Entertainment has become more accessible than ever and 80% of the United States uses at least one social media platform and that number is only going to continue to grow. This is where people communicate and consume their information. Now, 44% of the US relies on Facebook as their main source of news. This is how we are influenced now.

However, in the age of misinformation and clickbait, some are struggling to find the positives. It’s a common thought that the platforms are filled with noise and polluting the minds of young people. But, social media isn’t going anywhere. So why not learn how to embrace it and use it for good.

Those that have been hurt the most are the ones that advertise. They are now competing with sources of entertainment. Businesses who haven’t learned to adapt are unable to bring in sales. From an impact standpoint, Schools and organizations are unable to have their messages be heard. This could hurt funding, event attendees, or general awareness. Also, some schools and organizations don’t have the budget to hire marketing agencies.

On top of that, agencies have also had issues adapting because a marketing degree doesn’t prepare you to be successful on social media. It’s more about relatability and personality than tactics and theories.

So who has the skills to help amplify the messages of schools and organizations through digital platforms? What about digital natives, the ones who grew up with a phone in their hands?

Jordon Rooney believes that high school students can be better social media marketers than a digital marketing agency. Last summer he started VlogU, which is a social media marketing agency run by high school students. The results were incredible with the students improving over 40-60% in their ability to be able to explain fake news, modern propaganda techniques, and how social media algorithms work.

The students also learned how to create solution-based content and how to build their own online movements. VlogU partnered with nonprofits and took on social media marketing campaigns for them. The students improved their confidence level in being able to obtain a career in social media by 250%.

VlogU’s curriculum can be implemented in schools or organizations anywhere. Do you have students available to you? If yes, then you have the resources to create an internal social media marketing agency. This provides a unique solution for schools and organizations while giving students real world career experience.

This is preparing students for the new economy. Remote work has grown by 140% since 2005. That's nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce. These skills do not require a degree, resources, or connections. Students can showcase their personalities and creativity to thousands or even millions. All that you need is access to internet and the nudge to get started.

Implementation steps

Recognize the importance

Let me get this out of the way – Social media is not going anywhere. 80% of the US uses at least one social media platform and that number is only going to continue to grow. This is how people communicate now and how people are influenced. This is how careers are made. Let’s stop resisting it and start using it for good.


Ask yourself, who would be a good fit? Who would excel in social media marketing? Look for those that seek attention: For example, creatives for developing quality content and adding a unique personality, writers will create stories that people will engage with, and analytics to conduct data driven projects, etc. You want students who are willing to invest in themselves. Trust me that will make all the difference.

Discuss guidelines and set expectations

The students may run the social media agency, but they will need some direction. The VlogU staff is responsible for teaching the students how to use the equipment, how to bring their ideas to life, and how to stay motivated throughout the whole process!

Identify Roles

So how big can your team get? Who would be a good fit for what? This is a great opportunity to get multiple people and personalities involved!

Who is creative or loves watching movies? Great! You’re on our video production team.

Who has a big personality and loves acting? Congrats you will be in the videos!

Who loves to read or write? Awesome! You’ll help write scripts and develop copy.

Who is great at math and an interest in numbers? Perfect, you can be our analytics team and keep track of our social media numbers.

Content brainstorms

Questions to ask.

Is this socially relevant? Does this provide a unique perspective, entertain, or evoke emotion?

Brainstorm different topics for content. Promote conversation and collaboration within the group. Build off of each other’s ideas. Almost every time it won’t be the first idea that comes to mind that is the best one. Be aware of what events, holidays are coming up and what topics might be relevant for content. What is going to be your hook, story, and offer? What is going to call your followers to take action? Always ask these questions when establishing the purpose of your content. Lastly, create action items and a timeline of what steps you are going to take from the meeting.

Amplify your impact

Remember, social isn’t about acceptance, it’s about amplifying impact. I always stress to my students that this isn’t a competition. You aren’t competing for likes and followers. You all can have the same 100 likes. Support each other and grow together. Keep harping on the impact. You aren’t seeking attention simply by using social media more.. You are providing community, opportunity, a voice, and an impact.

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