5 Ideas for Finals Week

Remember when you were in high school? The week before winter break was full of excitement and anticipation. But for stressed out college students, the week before winter break can feel like a soul-sucking vortex of stress and anxiety. With last minute pleas like…

Me: God let me pass my finals.

God: new phone who dis?

How can we, as social media managers, provide some light-hearted levity during this stressful time of year? Here are five ideas for content that might help ease the pain of finals week.

1. Surprise Studying Students

Do you have a school mascot? Incorporate them into your finals week content. This year marks the third edition of Hugs & High Fives, a fun, whimsical video where #CSUSocial sneaks up on unsuspecting students in the library with a surprise visit from our mascot, CAM the Ram. He always manages to bring a smile to even the most stressed out faces. This year, we threw in an extra dash of holiday spirit when CAM handed out “CAMdy canes.”

2. “Tag A (Insert Your Mascot Here)” Posts

Whether it’s a cute photo of a puppy, or a GIF of a polar bear crawling his way across Antarctic ice, we like to ask our fans to “Tag a Ram” who needs a little extra push, or “Tag a Ram” who needs some love and support during finals week. These posts do not disappoint. In fact, never underestimate the power of puppies – our corgi post from last week has moved up the ladder and is now our new top Instagram post of all-time. As of today, the Instagram post has received almost 9,500 likes and more than 600 comments where people tagged their friends and family. It also performed very well on Facebook, with almost 7,000 reactions and more than 1,000 comments. And no, we can’t believe it either. As #CSUSocial’s Kimberly Stern said recently, “The Internet is weird.”

3. Create a BuzzFeed Listicle

You don’t have to be a huge digital media company to tap into BuzzFeed success. Using social media like the pros at BuzzFeed is possible for your institution, too. The BuzzFeed example below worked for many reasons – it speaks the language of our student audience, it’s short and sweet, the list is relatable, the GIFs are hilarious, and it’s timely. #CSUSocial’s Ashley Manweiler has the magic touch when it comes to creating successful Buzzfeed posts for Colorado State. You can read all about her strategy here. 

4. Puppies Make Everything Better

Many universities have programs where they bring dogs and puppies on campus to ease the stress of finals week. Why not elevate this idea by creating a video of students being surprised with puppies? In this video, we surprised our students and professors with puppy, after puppy, after puppy. The reactions were just as awesome as we thought they would be.

5. Study Break Activities

Who doesn’t love a good study break? We like to lighten the mood by incorporating study break activities into our content across channels. On Snapchat we play a fun game called “Find CAM” – a spin-off the popular Where’s Waldo book series (thankfully there’s a Ram emoji we use for this). I usually take a photo of a busy spot on campus (bike racks, flower gardens, and other busy areas on campus work best), then I add as many color-related emojis as possible to fill the space. Sometimes I’ll even offer “bonus points” if students can find a certain number of emojis used in the game, in the example below we used the white sneaker emoji.

On Facebook, we have offered adult coloring pages, word searches, mad libs and maze puzzles like the example below.

The ideas don’t end there. There is so much more you could do to support students during one of the most stressful times of the year. How about a message of encouragement from the President of your university? Or perhaps a motivational quote and image?

Your Turn

How does your institution cover finals week on social media? Tweet to me at @jensmith7  – let’s share ideas and talk about best practices for creating finals week content for higher education 👍