Tassel Turning Time: Social Media for Commencement

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. As a higher ed social media professional, Commencement is hands down my favorite time of year. The sense of accomplishment, pride and celebratory vibes infiltrate all aspects of campus.

To mark this momentous occasion, the CSU Social team spent weeks planning and strategizing content for the week of finals leading up to and through Commencement weekend.

Here’s a rundown of social media highlights from the week.

BuzzFeed study tips

We tapped into the popularity of BuzzFeed listicles by creating 10 study tips for finals. The cool thing is that all 10 tips were provided by CSU professors who won best teaching awards this year. Ashley is our BuzzFeed writer extraordinaire and did a masterful job pairing funny GIFs with the thoughtful tips. That article generated 1,859 views. Of those, 1,000 views came from Instagram where we created a story featuring the BuzzFeed. Side note: Instagram Stories have so much potential and it is encouraging to see that fans click on the swipe up links.

Screenshot of Buzzfeed article


Everyone needs a little motivation to get through finals 💪

Outstanding grads

Every year our PR team writes stories on a handful of outstanding graduates. Our colleges do a great job of pushing out their Outstanding Grad stories on their platforms. This year, CSU Social produced a short video featuring some of the grads.

When in doubt, post a puppy

Tater Tot and his good luck finals message was a hit. Look at that face 😍

Screenshot of an Instagram post

Live coverage

The #CSUSocial team covered the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering ceremonies live on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram Stories. CSU hosts nine Commencement ceremonies throughout graduation weekend. Our social media main account don’t cover them all live as the respective Colleges do a great job with that.

Screenshot of a tweet

Screenshot of a tweet

Hashtag unification

Of course, it’s important to all use the same hashtag. This year our primary graduation hashtag was #RamGrad and then we tied in the larger #Classof2018 hashtag.

Screenshot of Instagram post

Screenshot of a tweet

Screenshot of a tweet

Screenshot of a tweet

Engagement sprint

As any higher ed social media manager is well aware, it’s a mad dash to engage with fans who tagged our accounts and used the graduation hashtag throughout Commencement weekend.

Screenshot of a tweet


Our photography did an amazing job of covering Commencement weekend. Their photos captured the essence of the feeling on campus. They uploaded hundreds of photos to Flickr.

Graduates in caps and gowns


This year, my team created three distinct videos for graduation. Videos are key pieces of content within our social media strategy. The Facebook algorithm favors videos and online video consumption has been steadily rising over the past few years. We strategically decided to produce three quality videos for Commencement weekend because it is a pivotal moment in the lives of our students.

The Alma Mater video kicked off Commencement weekend. The Veterinarian Letters video was a tribute to one of the programs that makes CSU so special – that we have a vet school. And last but not least, we ran a contest where we surprised grads at their graduation parties with CAM the Ram. More than 40 grads entered to win a surprise visit from CAM. How cool to have your university’s mascot crash your graduation party?! We are always thinking of ways to create real-life engagement from digital engagement. This project achieved that goal.

Screenshot of CAM the Ram Facebook post

Screenshot of video post

Special shout out to my all-star team – Jen, Chase, Ashley and Wisdom are ridiculously talented. Because of their creativity and dedication to making Commencement special on social media, this was all possible. Thank you, team.

In considering myself a Commencement nerd, I really enjoy seeing how other universities cover graduation on social media. The clever use of emojis, Boomerangs and phrasing is inspirational. I thought this was a cool idea of from University of Vermont – we may need to figure out how to do something like this next year.

Did you see some engaging Commencement content this year? I want to know about it! Shoot me a note at Kimberly.Stern@colostate.edu or tweet me @KimberlyLStern.