Graduation week is always one of the busiest and most important times of the year for the digital communications team and our colleagues across Corporate Communications. Both the University website and the social media channels see a significant increase in traffic, as students and their friends and family look for information and updates about their graduation.
In the weeks running up to graduation and during the week itself, we use our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels more than ever. With only two designated members of staff within Corporate Communications to deal with social media, the biggest challenge is getting engaging content out in time, while still doing all the other work our jobs entail.
One way in which we mitigate this challenge is to create a detailed plan and schedule as much content as possible using Hootsuite. In the months leading up to graduation, we held a planning meeting to discuss what we wanted to achieve based on what we learnt during graduation week 2017. Using this information, we then created our social media calendar with posts to share before, during and after graduation.
Posts shared ahead of graduation included information for graduands and throwbacks to previous ceremonies. For during graduation week, we regularly posted about watching the live stream and connecting with the Alumni department. These type of posts are prime examples of schedulable content, as we already had all the information needed and it was just a case of picking a time to publish it. We were also able to schedule content to go out on any day at any time, which was particularly useful for evening and weekend posts as they tend to receive higher engagement than daytime posts.
However, it was not possible to schedule all posts. During graduation, there were some posts which could only be created once we had the content, such as the class photo, honorand speeches and academic procession photos. At times, it was quite time-consuming to get all the images and text collected for these posts, but knowing that we had a selection of posts already planned meant we could spend more time gathering new content.
Another benefit of using Hootsuite is that the University’s Alumni social media accounts are also connected to the platform. During graduation, we were able to see what they had scheduled, and this allowed us to compare our schedule to ensure that our content complimented theirs. It also let us see in advance what posts we had shared or retweeted from the main University channels once they had been published.
Although scheduling posts in advance has many benefits, it is also important to keep reviewing your scheduled content in case anything changes. For example, during the Wednesday morning ceremony, the online live stream encountered some technical difficulties which meant it was unable to play. There were scheduled posts planned to direct people to the live stream, however, once we knew there were issues we went in to delete the posts as we did not want to direct people to a broken live stream. Also, while the new Hootsuite Planner is great for displaying scheduled posts, it is still in Beta which means that not all features are currently available, including being able to edit posts in the Planner.
The team really benefited from using Hootsuite this graduation, and we all agreed that graduation 2018, while still busy, felt more structured and less hectic. The ability to get detailed analytics from the platform also allows us to measure the success of graduation better and make improvements for future graduations. It is almost sure that Hootsuite will continue to be used to schedule and manage our social media posts.