Graduation is the main attraction for any college or university. It also happens to be one of the best times to reach a captive audience. This year, we pulled all the stops on CSU’s social media channels leading up to the big day. In the process, we managed to reach nearly 6.5 million people on Facebook alone (as of June 5, 2017).
So what did we do, and how did we do it? It all starts with planning. Our team had ideas brewing months in advance, then met about a month prior to graduation to finalize our content calendar, graphic assets, and video plans. Below you’ll find all the assets we created for CSU’s Facebook account.
Facebook Graduation Content
The first step in planning for our graduation coverage was designing a graduation mark. Chase created this years creative design which was used on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. We also incorporated the design into our video end card.
We kicked off our special graduation coverage with a little humor to ease our students into the stress of finals week by creating a BuzzFeed-style “Finals week presented by” video.
Next, we wanted to give our Rams an encouraging boost of confidence with a special video message from CSU’s president, Dr. Tony Frank.
What better to relieve stress and anxiety than puppies?! We arranged a video shoot surprising vet med students and professors with puppies. Not just a couple of puppies – an entire litter of wiggly, fluffy, tail-wagging, stress-relieving blue heelers.
We wanted to give our students a study break, so we created a Ram coloring page to take their minds off finals for a little bit. We incentivized participation by offering up free #CSUSocial t-shirts to the best submissions. As you can see, we have a lot of creative Rams!
We received a great content tip from our friends in CSU Halls – it turns out that four friends who met in one of CSU’s residence halls, celebrated their friendship by taking a group photo for every season of their college career – 16 photos in total. It was such a fun and creative idea, and we were more than happy to incorporate this gem into our content.
Next, we highlighted some of our most impressive graduates through our Outstanding Grads program – a cooperative project with our public relations team – to showcase graduates with an extraordinary commitment to excellence.
The momentum on campus really picked up at the end of the week when graduation ceremonies kicked off. We arranged to have our mascot, CAM the Ram, appear in a short Facebook Live video to get people excited about the upcoming ceremonies.
We created a fun, interactive Facebook Live video with a reaction poll, asking our fans to choose the reaction that corresponded to the timeframe when they graduated. We almost always see elevated engagement numbers on Facebook Live posts, and this was no exception. Nearly 2,000 fans played along by choosing the reaction that matched their graduation timeframe.
Later that afternoon we published a video featuring kindergarteners and CSU graduates. This idea formed from the concept that kids at the beginning of their educational careers could have an opportunity to ask questions and give advice to CSU grads at the end of their college careers. The result captured some sweet, lighthearted moments and was a fun way to end finals week and kickoff graduation weekend.
Our final two graduation posts marked the end of our commencement coverage. First, we posted a Facebook photo album celebrating moments from a variety of our commencement ceremonies.
It would be an understatement to say that we saved the best for last.
Many students use commencement to motivate themselves to buckle down during finals, but Kevin Hoyt used the dream of crossing the stage and accepting his diploma to push himself to walk again. In the fall of 2012, Kevin was an average CSU Online MBA student. After an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down, he was determined to finish his degree online AND walk across the stage to accept his diploma. He did just that. And our video team was there to capture the magical moment, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. To learn more about Kevin’s inspiring walk, read THIS and learn more about the analytics HERE.
We wanted to create special On-Demand Snapchat Geofilters to help or grads document the story of their big day. With three different filters ordered for several areas of campus at key graduation times, we saw our greatest engagement to date in our Geofilter analytics. The 2017 graduation Geofilters were viewed by nearly 280,000 Snapchat users!
All of these assets, plus numerous clever Twitter GIFs and Instagram posts and galleries, we were able to reach more people than ever. 6.5 million on Facebook alone. And for that, I believe #CSUSocial captured graduation with honors 🎓
To sum it up…
1. Plan ahead
2. Create a diverse mix of content
3. Build video assets into your plan
4. Kids and puppies help
5. Feature inspiring grads