Making the Most of Graduation

By Jeremiah Barba | Apr 17, 2017

Graduation season is upon us again. Are you ready to make the most of this exciting time?

One of the great things about higher ed marketing is the predictable calendar. Big events like commencement come around at the same time every year, so you can try new things and measure their impact. That said, I’m sure you have a few other things on your plate, and you’re not just sitting around planning your commencement efforts. So here are a few ideas to help make the most from graduation! (Commence video of mortarboards being flung into the air.)

First, let’s talk about the “who” and the “why.”

Who are your audiences and why are they important?

Graduation season is one of those times where everyone is tuned in. From current students to prospective students, alumni, parents, and the community, it’s a big day and you’ll have a huge audience ready to interact. So it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t miss! Current students (especially seniors) are excited to share their day, prospective students may be tuning in to see what they could be a part of, alumni are ready to reminisce, parents are ready to brag on their graduates, and the community pays attention to their local college or university. Each audience has their reasons for keeping an eye on graduation, and it’s one of the best times of year for higher ed marketers to interact and engage.

Interact & listen

One of the key opportunities during commencement time is interaction & listening. If you have a graduation hashtag (hint: #youshould), then fire up all your best social listening tools and get your team ready to respond and interact. Have fun with the day! Get your GIFs ready and be quick to retweet & interact with those who are talking about the big day. Engagement is just waiting to be had!

Level up your live streaming

Many colleges live stream graduation, whether on Livestream, Facebook Live, YouTube Live or others, but with all the new technology around streaming, maybe this is the year you elevate your game. Facebook recently made 360-degree live video open to all, so this might be your year!  

Make traditional & digital BFFs

We’ve talked before about how traditional and digital can be best friends, and commencement time is no exception! Your campus will be teeming with grads, current students, alumni, family, and friends, so you can use that time to marry the physical & virtual to boost engagement. Scavenger hunts, “Kodak moment” stations around campus, Instagram frames, and Snapchat geofilters are a few ways that traditional & digital can combine their powers to create memories that beg to be shared. And though you might need to plan this for 2018, graduation is a prime time to bring in some augmented & virtual reality into the mix.

Be ready for the unexpected

One area of graduation day you might not think of is (ironically) the unexpected! Weather can be a factor, so prep messages for social media & beyond in case nature intervenes in the plans of the day, and be ready to field questions on parking and other logistics. And when it comes to preparation, a “war room” (for lack of a better term) could come in handy to unify your efforts and quickly address any issues that might come up. Go team!

Tell Us What You Think

How do you make the most out of graduation in your higher ed marketing? Are you trying any new things this year? What do you find to be the most effective to drive engagement?

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