Social Media as a College Recruiting Tool
Social media can be an effective recruiting tool for athletes of all sports. By following the contact rules, social media can be used to communicate with coaches, show a recruit's personality & character, as well as gain the attention of college coaches who might not have been previously recruiting them. There are many ways to be seen during the recruitment process, and social media is definitely one of the best ways to increase your exposure.
KNOW THE RULES
Football, baseball, softball, men’ & women’s lacrosse, and women’s basketball coaches can send direct messages to athletes beginning September 1 of their junior year of High School.
Men’s Ice Hockey coaches can send DMs to athletes beginning January 1 of their sophomore year of High School.
Other Division I & All Division II Sports
All Division II sports and all other Division I sports not listed previously, coaches can begin sending direct messages to athletes on June 15 after their sophomore year of High School.
Coaches Contact Rules
During these times of contact, coaches are allowed to “like, share, retweet, or favorite” a recruit’s social media posts. Unfortunately, coaches can’t communicate with athletes publicly until after a recruit has committed to their program. This means coaches are not able to post on an athlete’s Twitter feed, Facebook wall, or comment on their Instagram post, until after the recruit has committed to their school.
SOCIAL MEDIA RESEARCH
Coaches will search the internet, specifically Twitter, to see what recruits have received offers from their rival schools or similar programs. This tactic gives coaches a quick view of the recruiting landscape, and which recruits they should have on their radar. Having an active recruiting presence on your social media channels will land you on their radar. Tweeting about your current offers and tagging the school & coaches involved will undoubtedly land you on a list of a rival school as some point.
Recruit Personality and Character
During the recruitment process, coaches will use social media channels to better understand a recruit’s personality and character. In order of the source most relied on for recruit research, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become standard places for coaches to find out more about a recruit’s disposition. Inappropriate content can cause coaches to stop recruiting you and even rescind offers, but positive and engaging social media posts can make coaches even more intrigued with recruiting you.
SOCIAL MEDIA BEST PRACTICES
Set Accounts to Public
Coaches know that most athletes have at least one social media account, and will search for it. Don’t be the athlete with a private profile who misses out on a recruiting opportunity. When coaches see restricted profiles online, they assume that the athlete has something to hide, which is a first impression red flag. To be proactive in the process, send your social media handles to any coaches you are in contact with through other channels.
Follow Programs You’re Interested in
If you plan to spend 4 to 5 years of your life somewhere, it makes sense to research them thoroughly, including social media. Keeping tabs on programs through social media is a great way to learn information that could be used to break the ice with a school’s coach. “Congrats on the big comeback win this weekend coach!” This type of information lets coaches know that you are truly interested in their program, and are actively following them during the recruitment process.
Use Direct Messages
Email is still the standard in recruiting communication, but for quicker responses we suggest direct messages. Coaches can be overwhelmed with the amount of emails received, so oftentimes responses are very slow if ever. Sending DMs won’t guarantee a response, but most coaches tend to respond to direct messages much faster than emails.
In addition to making your profiles public, update your accounts to receive messages from people who are not following you.
Express Your Sports IQ
Let your social media accounts be an expression of your knowledge and passion for your sport. By posting articles about your sport, sharing inspirational quotes, and posting your highlight videos, show coaches your personality through social media.
Highlight Your Accomplishments
Have you won an academic or athletic award? Post about it on your social media accounts! Share positive feedback on a recent camp you have attended, college visits you’ve been on, and offers you have received. Sharing this type of content will highlight what you have accomplished, and make it available for coaches to consider during your recruitment process.
Prevent Inappropriate Content
Avoid using inappropriate language, racial, or sexist slurs, or anything politically divisive. This also applies to your user name, which should be simple and easy for coaches to remember. Also, you must prevent others from posting inappropriate content to your accounts. Adjust your social media settings to require your review before anyone can post on your channel or tag you, to prevent inappropriate content.
Now that you understand how to use social media as a recruiting tool, you should Schedule a Free Assessment to begin your recruiting process.
If you have already begun the recruiting process, be sure to increase your efforts through our Recruitment Services.