By following a program on social media, students might learn who’s leaving, who’s staying on the roster and what the coach values most in players. You’ll also get a better feel for the program to determine if it’s a good fit.
It’s no secret that college coaches are looking at social media accounts. Eight-five percent of college coaches surveyed by Cornerstone Reputation said their staff conducted online research of recruits.
Of these coaches, 87 percent have turned to Facebook, 79 percent have used Twitter and 65 percent have looked at Instagram to gain insight into a recruit’s personal life and character. All of this research really means more exposure and presents a great opportunity for savvy student-athletes to leverage social media in their recruiting.
These guidelines can help to create a strong, positive online presence that will impress college coaches.
Don’t allow other people to post on your account without your approval
You need to be in 100 percent control of what appears on your social media. Many platforms have a default setting where others can tag or mention you on posts that automatically show up in your account. Below are steps to manage your account.
Log in to your Facebook account and click the down arrow at the top right corner of the tool bar (next to the lock symbol).
On the dropdown menu, select “Settings.”
In the left-hand column, click “Timeline and Tagging” and look for “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline?”
Click “Edit” and select “Enabled” from the dropdown menu.
Set your accounts to public so coaches can see your posts
It might sound counterintuitive but keep it public! College coaches turn to social media to get a sense of a student-athlete’s personality and interests. All Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles start out public, so if they are now set to private, reverse, reverse. Just remember to keep it clean.
Try this: Include your social media handles in messages and emails to college coaches. This immediately opens a line of trust with coaches. As a bonus, NCAA guidelines now allow coaches in some sports to befriend, follow and message high school athletes on social media.
Follow or like college programs you may want to attend
There’s a fierce battle to stand out from the other recruits. Having a deep familiarity for a program is a great way to find that point of differentiation. By following a program on social media, students might learn who’s leaving, who’s staying on the roster and what the coach values most in players. You’ll also get a better feel for the program to determine if it’s a good fit.
Get creative with who you follow from the team — search for current athletes and strength and conditioning coaches. However, recruits can often get more insider information by following a current athlete, such as what their schedule is like, where they’re playing, what issues they might be having and more. Similarly, strength and conditioning coaches might post workouts, specific muscles to strengthen, skills they’re looking for and more.
DM coaches for a quick response
The Twitter world moves fast, and student-athletes can take advantage of that speed. Sending a direct message to a coach doesn’t necessarily guarantee a response, but it does tend to make coach response times quicker.
Update your Twitter account to receive direct messages from people you aren’t following. Depending on the phone you’re using, either tap the gear icon in your “Me” tab, click on the navigation menu or click on your profile icon. Select “Settings” and tap “Privacy and content.” Next to “Receive Direct Messages from anyone,” either slide the switch or check the box to enable the feature.
Highlight your accomplishments, but stay humble
No one wants to be that guy on Facebook who’s always bragging about how great he is. However, student-athletes can and should promote their accomplishments. To avoid overt self-promotion, student-athletes can mention their achievement in a post thanking teammates, coaches and parents for their support. Be sure to call out:
Academic and athletic awards or accolades
Recaps of combine/camp performance
Firm scholarship offers
Videos of you playing your sport
Social media can be a great asset in the recruiting process. Make sure you use social media — as well as email and calling coaches — for a well-rounded and effective coach communications game plan.