The Oklahoma City-based startup SpokesMe is recruiting college students this summer in 15 cities across the United States in an effort to promote its social media services to other businesses.
Working as independent contractors, students who are involved in the program will work to recruit businesses to use SpokesMe's services.
The company offers strategies for other businesses to boost their social media presence and other services, such as mobile appointment reminders for doctors' and dentists' offices to send to their patients.
Company founder and CEO Jay Wright calls his army of college students the SpokesForce. He rolled out the program for college students in the Oklahoma City metro area last summer with about 50 recruits.
Apart from having the benefits of using the college students to promote his company's services, Wright said he wanted to create a program that promotes entrepreneurship.
“So many people's first experience with entrepreneurship is something that you have to invest a bunch of money in,” Wright said. “And I try to keep it fun.”
Students do not have to pay any fees to participate in the SpokesForce program, and they also can participate in SpokesMe-sponsored webinars on topics including social media, personal finance, and public speaking.
Wright plans to use the program to handpick top sellers and offer them full-time positions at the end of the summer.
Andy Gin, who graduated from Oklahoma State University in December with a degree in entrepreneurship, has joined SpokesMe to try and recruit new students to the SpokesForce.
Gin plans to work college career fairs and other events looking for recruits.
“The response has been good, so far,” Gin said. “When students hear social media, it's something they are already familiar with and are doing in class — they're Facebooking and tweeting already.”
SpokesForce members earn commissions on new business accounts they bring in for SpokesMe and also residual income from whatever business the students bring in for the company, which is also attractive to students who work in the summer to try to save money for the school year, Gin said.
“The residual payments are good during the school year, especially when you are a student living on a ramen noodle-type budget,” he said.
More information about SpokesMe is available at spokes