Social Media is likely a big part of your life. Go ahead...check your usage stats. Now let’s make sure it’s being used to your advantage, rather than your detriment, as you try to get recruited.
A lot of people say college coaches are crazy. They entrust their livelihood to 18-22 year-old college kids, who are notorious for making bad decisions. Think about it...how many stories have you seen on the news about a college athlete messing up and his/her coach paying the price? It happens all the time.
Knowing that, don’t you think college coaches will do everything they can to make sure they’re recruiting student-athletes who they can trust? In the past 10 years, college coaches have relied more and more on social media to research potential recruits.
If you’re trying to get recruited, you can bet that college coaches will be looking at your social media. Their research will go one of two ways (good or bad), and you have the power to determine the result.
What College Coaches DON’T Want to See on Your Social Media
If you don’t want your mom or dad to see your social media, chances are you don’t want college coaches to either. Here are some things to avoid:
Explicit or risqué content
Negativity toward coaches, teammates, teachers, or parents
Let’s clear one thing up...just because your account is private doesn’t mean college coaches won’t get their hands on something. As you know, things can be screenshotted and reposted, so don’t post or send anyone anything that you don’t feel comfortable being public.
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What College Coaches DO Want to See on Your Social Media
While social media can hurt your chances of getting recruited, it can also help! You see, your social media is part of your personal brand. It tells people, including college coaches, who you are and what’s important to you.
For example, if your feed is filled with soccer pictures and clips of you training on your own, it shows coaches that you’re serious about the game and work hard to improve. So throw some highlights on there. Talk about what you’re doing to get better. Show love to your coaches and teammates. You don’t have to post exclusively about soccer, but if you never do it might make coaches wonder how important it is to you.
Outside of your soccer content, use social media in a respectful, mature way. You don’t need to write like it’s an English paper, but generally use proper spelling and grammar.
All that said, be yourself! Let your personality shine through! You shouldn’t feel like you’re lying or censoring yourself. After all, college coaches want to get to know you - the real you. Just be smart, that’s all.
Note: You will not get recruited exclusively from social media. Remember, I said it could help.
Communicating with College Coaches on Social Media
I’m willing to bet that you use social media to communicate with your friends more than email. College coaches know that too, and the timeline governing non-public social media communication (e.g. DMs) is the same as email. So guess what...you might talk to some coaches on social media!
When you do, treat it with the same level of professionalism that you do emails. Avoid using slang, abbreviations, and acronyms.
Although college coaches can communicate via social media, most prefer email. With that in mind, always contact coaches initially via email. If a coach contacts you via social, ask him/her if he/she would prefer you email them instead. Communicating via email also makes it easier to track your conversations and share them with your parents and coaches.
Summary & Next Steps
Now that you know how social media can affect your college recruiting process, make sure yours is set up to have a positive impact. Do an audit on everything that’s already out there, and delete things if you need to. Moving forward, make a plan to develop your personal brand into a desirable recruit for college coaches to find.