Social Media Outreach for Graduation: A Multi-Platform Approach

Group of high school graduates taking a selfie together

Your school communications office is probably juggling several social media platforms. Each platform has its own benefits, algorithms, content preferences and audiences.

It’s not easy to create content that meets each platform’s requirements and best practices–and, most importantly, your school audiences’ online expectations on each platform.

You can’t just post the same thing on your school’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or LinkedIn channels and expect to optimize engagement across your different audiences.  

Using Commencement activities as a case study, we’ll show you how to share this important content across various platforms. There are a few must-do’s, though, no matter the platform: 

  • Consistent School Branding Across All Posts:
    • Create a branded “Congrats, Class of 2024!” in your school’s colors and fonts. 
    • Design custom graphics that feature your school’s logo, colors and any relevant commencement-related imagery. These graphics can also be used for announcements, invitations, countdowns and highlights.
  • Include Hashtags:
    • Hashtags such as #ClassOf[Year], #GraduationDay, #CommencementDay, #HatsOffToGrads and #MovingForward can help increase the visibility of your school’s Commencement activities on social media platforms while increasing engagement with students, parents, faculty, alumni and the broader community. Use Google or AI to discover the top hashtags being used by your competitors.
    • In addition to a custom hashtag for Commencement, event-specific hashtags for different activities within the commencement, such as #SeniorBanquet, #BaccalaureateService or #GraduationParty. 
  • Respond to ALL comments and DMs in a timely manner to:
    • Facilitate communication, build excitement, provide assistance/answers to event questions and contribute to building a vibrant and supportive online community around this significant event celebrating student achievement. 
    • Express gratitude in response to congratulatory messages and expressions from your community. 
    • Further showcase the event experience with behind-the-scenes content, highlights of speeches, and event moments captured through engaging comments.
    • Enhance brand image through active engagement with comments and DMs, showing your school’s brand image as responsive, caring and attentive, fostering positive relationships and creating memorable experiences for stakeholders. 

Instagram: It’s all about the visuals

Target Audience: Gen Z and younger (Millennial) parents

Objective: Tell Commencent stories with fun, unexpected, behind-the-scenes images that describe graduation day from beginning to end and other Commencent events. 

Publish photos of:

  • Stack of diplomas about-to-be-presented
  • Close-up shots of seniors in cap and gown holding hands, hugging
  • Photos of decorated mortarboards, speeches rating on a podium, etc.
  • Your school’s graduation traditions (long white dresses, for example), flowers (try pictures of those in florists’ boxes waiting to be distributed)
  • Signs and balloons, etc., that proud families have at Commencement

Recruit a senior or two to do an Instagram takeover with posts by the senior class president or another leader on the last day of classes, for example. Give clear expectations and make sure the student leader introduces themselves, their roles at the school and where they are going to college. This takeover is as much about outcomes as it is about sharing a unique voice on Instagram. 

Use Instagram Stories to share in-the-moment updates and behind-the-scenes joy of end-of-year events. While these disappear after 24 hours, they are featured on the Explore tab for broader discovery. Use Reels for video storytelling, such as quick videos of teachers and coaches offering congratulations and advice for college and life to the Class of 2024.

Facebook: For the families

Target Audience: Parents (Millennial and Gen X) and Boomer grandparents

Objective: Showcase Commencement and the Class of 2024 in a variety of posts designed to get your audience reacting and commenting. 

Content: Get creative! Facebook audiences love a variety of posts. Check out these ideas from and try a few (or a bunch).

Branded graphics are hot on Facebook, and it’s a great way to share pearls of wisdom from end-of-year speeches from school leaders and graduation speakers. Get speeches ahead of time and create images (in your school colors and with your seal) that are ready to roll on Commencement day following the festivities.

Facebook loves a longer story, so showcase a series of seniors with their profiles and what they’ve loved about your school. You can interview them and digitally transcribe the interview for a touching, heartfelt look at what they’ve learned and the experiences they’ll cherish from your school. (And include where they are going to college and plan to study.)

Livestream the ceremony on Facebook and invite people to watch it live. You can also livestream other big events (especially traditions that will resonate with your alumni) during the end of year. 

Ask a question on Facebook targeted to one of your audiences, like alumni: What’s your favorite Commencement memory? If you have a tradition that crosses generations, like decorating graduation robes or carrying a specific flower at graduation, ask something like: How did you feel the first time you held your Daisy bouquet at Commencement? 

Ask graduates and families to post their photos to your post of graduation pictures.

YouTube: Short-form Video is King

Audience: Everyone

Objective: Share a variety of videos about your school that capture your audience’s attention and showcase your school’s culture, fun and mission of educating smart, capable leaders like the Class of 2024.

According to Sprout Social’s most recent YouTube stats, people spend 48.7 minutes on YouTube each day. Moreover, as of 2024, viewers collectively watch 1 billion hours of YouTube videos per day on their TVs. This indicates a growth in YouTube engagement, making the platform ideal for engaging your target audience. What gets people and keeps them watching? Short-form videos with catchy titles and thumbnails and great production values (high video quality, sound, and editing). You will need to optimize your video descriptions and tags to get discovered. 

Remember to create a “playlist” to house all of your commencement videos in one place. By saving them under a playlist category such as “[your school] [year] commencement,” viewers will easily find those videos, and Google will rank the videos higher in search.

Content ideas for before graduation day: Reddit popularized the “Ask Me Anything” trend, and it’s a great way to highlight your faculty and seniors at this time of year. Select faculty or a handful of seniors and record them for an Ask Me Anything (AMA)-type video. Keep them under one minute and create a series to host on your YouTube channel. Be sure to brand them.

Some questions to ask:

“What advice do you have for the Class of 2024?”

“What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?”

Just for seniors: “What’s your dream and how did [YOUR SCHOOL] help you on your path to that dream?”

Check out Matt Damon’s AMA video for inspiration.

Roll out your videos in the days leading up to graduation (and they will be great to repurpose during admissions season in the fall!)

Content on graduation day or shortly after: Use YouTube to livestream Commencement activities, but you can have a little fun and embrace current video trends.

Create a “Best of 2024 Commencement” with video clips from various end-of-year traditions accompanied by the soundtrack of one of your choral groups singing a beloved song at baccalaureate or graduation. Include edited moments from the commencement speeches. 

TikTok: Have Fun!

Audience: Gen Z but increasingly older viewers

Objective: This is the time to get in on the trends, be silly and have fun. Authenticity rules on this platform, and your students (and prospective students) will love seeing your true colors on TikTok. 

Check out current trends by following @tiktoktrends or check out Later’s monthly TikTok trends. Whatever you do, keep it focused on your seniors. 

Content: Short videos of grads enjoying a senior BBQ and dancing for the camera, vamping while in line to process for graduation and having fun cleaning out their lockers. These moments of unscripted joy are what will resonate on TikTok. 

LinkedIn: Networking and Celebrating

Audience: Parents, alumni and fellow educators

Objective: Help usher your graduates into the next phase of their lives with an intentional LinkedIn presence at the end of the school year. Show off your expertise and value-add to timely conversations on LinkedIn. Keep things professional and use LinkedIn’s publishing feature for those long-form gems.

Content: Congratulate your seniors, share a graduation class photo and share some stats on their collective college accolades (i.e., $ of college scholarships received, etc.). Or link to a larger story on the Class of 2024 on your website.

Ask one of your thought leaders to write (or you ghostwrite from an interview) a commencement-themed post. Can your college counselor speak to college admissions trends that are so much in the news today? 

Directly load the video you’ve created of the “Best Of” Commencement speeches from the day. Don’t link to the YouTube version; LinkedIn rewards native videos on their platform with a bigger reach.

Encourage comments and ask people to share their best advice. 

Making multiple platforms work with limited staff

We’ve given you a lot of ideas, but how do you make this work with limited staff, time and budget? 

  • First, make a plan and capture it in a shared Google Sheet. Include the platform, content, images needed, who is responsible for creating and posting and the date for posting.
  • Start a few weeks out and revisit the plan every few days with staff.
  • Create a shared folder to store images and content as you create it.
  • Use the many free resources that can help you with this lift. Check our list. 
  • Assign others who can help (a video-savvy teacher or great student photographer)

After Commencement, craft an email from your head of school with links to all the platforms and the many ways you celebrated the Class of 2024 across your social media. Maybe include a download of the full student speech (with permission, of course). It’s a great way to share all your work and the wonderful accomplishments of your seniors during this celebratory time. 

Elevate your school’s social media presence with captivating short form videos. Connect with Kalix Marketing Group today and unlock the secret to engaging your audience like never before. Reach out to us here or call Jonathan Oleisky at 410-662-5925

President’s Notes
Jonathan Oleisky

Jonathan Oleisky

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