Besides following the team and the head coach, search for current athletes and strength and conditioning coaches.
It’s no secret that college coaches are active on social media. According to a survey released by Cornerstone Reputation in 2017, 85 percent of college coaches pull up athletes’ social media profiles during the recruiting process. Of these coaches, who represent over 200 DI, DII and DIII schools across the country, 87 percent use Facebook, 79 percent use Twitter and 65 percent use Instagram to screen recruits and determine whether they would be a good fit for their team.
What does this mean for your recruiting journey? Social media can be an effective tool to boost exposure and connect athletes with coaches. Follow these five guidelines to create a strong, positive online presence that boosts your chances of getting recruiting.
SET YOUR ACCOUNTS TO PUBLIC
Make sure your social media profiles are set to public to help college coaches recruit you. If your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts are set to private, coaches may assume you have something to hide and move on. Remember to review your profiles for anything they might find inappropriate before you make them public. In addition, consider including your social media handles in messages and emails to college coaches. Coaches will often like, favorite, share or retweet posts by recruits to show their interest.
DON’T LET ANYONE POST ON YOUR ACCOUNT WITHOUT YOUR APPROVAL
Student-athletes need to be in control of everything that appears on their social media profiles. Facebook’s default setting allows others to tag or mention you on posts that automatically show up in your account. But if college coaches are searching your profile, you don’t want them to see anything inappropriate that’s been carelessly posted by friends on your wall.
To stay in complete control, log in to your Facebook account and click the down arrow at the top right corner of the toolbar. On the dropdown menu, select “Settings.” In the left-hand column, click “Timeline and Tagging” and look for “Review posts you’re tagged in before the post appears on your timeline?” Click “Edit” and move the setting from “Disabled” to “Enabled.”
FOLLOW OR LIKE COLLEGE PROGRAMS ON YOUR TARGET LIST
By following a program on social media, you can keep an eye on departures from the team and athletes returning to the roster. Plus, you can get a sense of the qualities the coach prizes in athletes. Besides following the team and the head coach, search for current athletes and strength and conditioning coaches. This can give you insight into the daily schedule, training philosophies and workout routines.
DM COACHES TO GET ON THEIR RADAR
The world of Twitter moves fast. Use the platform to your advantage by sending Direct Messages to coaches at your target schools. While you aren’t guaranteed to get a response, many coaches use DMs as their primary way of communicating with recruits. To send a DM from the Twitter app, tap the envelope icon and click the speech bubble icon with the plus sign to start a new message. In the address box, type in the name or @username of the recipient and enter your message.
To make sure your DM stands out, introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in that specific program. Keep it brief and to the point, but don’t send a generic copy-and-pasted message. Depending on the school and sport, it could be wise to DM a recruiting coordinator or assistant coach before trying the head coach. Keep in mind that for most DI and DII sports, coaches aren’t allowed to DM recruits until June 15 or September 1 of their junior year of high school. Also, include a link to your recruiting profile — especially if you have highlight video available.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
While you don’t want to annoy your followers with a flood of endless self-promotion, social media is a great way to tell the world about your accomplishments. Stay humble by thanking teammates, coaches and parents for their support. To boost your recruiting process, post about academic and athletic awards, combine and camp performances, college visits and firm scholarship offers.
Don’t forget to regularly upload highlight videos. Videos are often the first time a coach sees a recruit, so seize every opportunity to increase the chances of coaches watching clips of you competing in your sport.