Colleges and universities are no stranger to it. The military academies are on it. Private schools. Beauty colleges. Heck, I’ve seen posts from pre-schools honoring how the little tikes are moving onto that next big challenge of kindergarten.
But what about your school district? Are you using social media to promote graduation? It’s graduation season, and that means countless opportunities abound to depict not just happy faces topped with mortarboard caps and tassels, but glimpses into what makes your school special.
Graduation social media content
Don’t limit your graduation-themed social media content to the obvious cap-and-gown, human interest stuff. It's about much more than just the ceremony.
Use this special time of the school year to promote other aspects of your school district. Don’t get me wrong, regalia is great and certainly part of the visual appeal of graduation, but think in terms of using graduation as a vehicle to reinforce your school’s mission or brand.For example:
- Number of graduates
- Percentage of grads planning to go to college
- School initiatives (programs, physical plant, leadership)
- Type of careers your grads are exploring
- Clubs or extracurricular groups
- Former grads (#XYZschoolAlumni)
- Student profiles (not just the valedictorian and salutatorian)
- Guidance counselor profiles
- Teachers, principals, non-instructional staff profiles
Share and share often
If you’re at or anywhere near the communications hub of your school district – I’m talking to you, Ms. or Mr. PR director, communications specialist, engagement coordinator, et al – it’s incumbent on you to be sure you’re not only creating great posts, but monitoring and sharing the ones that others create. Social media is all about engagement, so share, retweet, like, comment and otherwise spread the word to start that great dialogue that reflects so wonderfully on your school district.
Twitter is the workhorse of social media, and it should be for your school graduation too. Your first step for promoting should be to create your own graduation hashtag. #MapledaleGrad or XYZSchoolGrad. Just plop the word ‘grad’ on the end of your school name, and you should be good to go.
When tweeting, be sure to include some snappy captions or comments with your images, videos, GIFs. Add stickers or graphics if you’re so inclined (not a fan, personally). But make sure you come up with that solid, simple-to-remember hashtag to make it easy for your grads, parents and the whole school community to get involved. Read this article for tips on using Twitter to promote parent engagement
Facebook and Facebook Live
Facebook, the most popular social media channel for school districts according to polls conducted by the Campus Suite Academy, is where you want to make sure you both pre-promote your graduation and chronicle the event itself with photo postings and short-copy glimpses of human interest.
Yeah, I know there are limited tickets available, so you might ask why promote graduation beforehand? It’s all good, folks. The goal of the posts you create before graduation ceremony is not to move tickets you don’t even have, rather, to build excitement and interest in this special day. At the event itself, roll video from your phone or go live using Facebook Live, which automatically creates recorded video you can post on your school website. Here’s a primer on using Facebook Live for schools.
Beyond the human interest stuff, many of your parents will be hitting your Facebook page when graduation nears for event information – location, time, directions, etc., so be sure you generate some posts that cover those kinds of details.
Still the fastest-growing social media channel going (makes me wonder what that next one out there could be), Instagram is a natural for graduation day sharing. Like Twitter, you can search for photos and updates using hashtags, and you can mention individuals using @username in a comment. Include others in your captions or comments on your pictures. You can also set up Instagram to be connected to other social media accounts.
Commence with promoting graduation
These are the big social media channels and the big ideas that can help you get the most out of graduation time. Graduation ceremonies are certainly momentous occasions, but they’re more than just pomp and circumstance. Use your school’s arsenal of social media tools and the almost limitless content ideas to generate some positive buzz about your school district.
Graduation aside, Steve Williams of Campus Suite wrote a super article on Why Schools Should Be Using Instagram on a routine basis to engage their school community. And should you require help with managing and making more out of your school’s social media, look into Campus Suite’s free social media management tool. It’s a sweet way to streamline your school’s social media, and when integrated with a total web communications solution, creates great efficiencies for any school communicator.
What other ideas do you have for how to get some great branding mileage out of your school district’s graduation?
Marketing director and content strategist for Campus Suite, Jay’s a former school public relations specialist who’s helped businesses, schools and colleges use the power of web communications to improve their image, generate support, and optimize relationships. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @jay4schools.