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Digital marketing in higher education doesn’t have to be boring. Here’s how Colorado State University makes it fun.

June 9, 2017

We love when universities get creative with digital marketing and stretch beyond the typical post. Universities who do this well understand that it’s all about building a strong thematic narrative that drives user participation and deep engagement, and Colorado State University is a great example of this. Either the university’s social media team are all millennials, or they’re just that good, because they maximized the excitement around spring graduation to execute a well thought out digital experience that reached nearly 6.5 million people just on Facebook alone. And that’s for a short lived execution.

Here’s three creative digital executions by the university that worked exceptionally well.

Geofilters and frames.

CSU created a graduation-themed geo-filter that encouraged graduates to add to their own photos. Snapchat’s filters led the trend for photo customization, and now Facebook has rolled out a feature that allows anyone to create a frame that others can add to their pictures. Its interactive and can quickly go viral. CSU was about to generate 280,000 Snapchat views accumulated from the use of the filters.


CSU continued its graduation week celebrations with a cute video with #RamGrads and future #RamGrads talking about growing up. It’s hard to go wrong with cute kids, and this one hit it on the nail. It was authentic, lighthearted, and was a pretty clever strategy at cultivating a future pipeline of CSU students. The video generated more than 65,000 Facebook views and more than 1,300 Likes.

User participation.

Storytelling is key to engagement, and being consistent with your messaging will resonate more effectively and drive interaction. CSU tied in finals week and graduation anxiety with interactive digital assets that would drive user participation and user-generated content. A Ram coloring page was created to take students’ minds off of finals, and participation was encouraged by incentivizing participation. ‘Outstanding Grads’ was the theme of a photo collection of new grads being commended for their stellar performance. Even alumni were encouraged to get in on the action with an interactive Facebook live video interaction poll asking fans to choose the reaction that corresponded with their graduation year. The poll generated 21,000 views and 1,800 Likes.

The university also posted about their grad week campaign.

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