Use social media to build your personal brand to market yourself to a college coach!
While almost every high school student-athlete is on social media multiple times a day, often they do not realize how many college coaches evaluate their sites during the recruiting process. We have all heard of the many athletic scholarship dollars lost when recruits demonstrate their immaturity on social media. However, we want to discuss the flipside and not just discuss all of the mistakes student-athletes make on social media. We want to provide ways for you to get a positive head start on the recruiting process and offers the specific types of posts college coaches are looking for from their future athletes.
In research for my book, “Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide,” we interviewed over 65 college coaches and athletic directors. All of them said they look over the social media accounts of the potential recruit during the evaluation period to see if they make good decisions publicly. In our Special Report: Leadership Characteristics College Coaches Look For In A Recruit, we describe the types of leadership behaviors that coaches aim to add to their teams as they sign future student-athletes.
In our recent blog, Beyond The X’s & O’s, we discussed how coaches evaluate beyond athletic talent and how some behaviors deter a coach from adding a very skilled player to their team. Since we so often hear about the bad choices a teen makes, today we want to tackle….
What student-athletes should post on social media related to athletics:
- Pictures and videos with your teammates hanging out and having clean fun in the locker room. College coaches want to see that you really enjoy being an athlete and hanging around your team. They love to see you and your team belting at the top of your lungs your favorite pregame pump-up song (clean lyrics, of course!). They love to see the dance party after a big win in the locker room. If your team beat a top ranked team, post that buzzer beater video that hit the local news cycle. Show that you have a huge passion for everything that bleeds athletics!
- Positivity even after a tough loss. Every team faces adversity. Maybe it’s an injury, a bus broke down, giving up a huge lead in the 9th inning, the bus driver took the wrong turn, or your uniforms went through the dryer too long and shrunk down to toddler size. On social media, use the opportunity to post an inspirational phrase, bible verse or demonstrate your way to make the lemonade out of the lemons your team is facing. Discuss how great of work ethic your team had even when they faced gave up that lead. How about finding a way that you can put a fun spin on the “scenic” drive on the way home from the game? Demonstrate to the college coach that you can handle setbacks. They want to see athletes with grit and can bounce back from challenging situations.
- Shout-outs for a teammate, coach, or teacher who inspired or encouraged you. This can be a very effective tool to have college coaches see you in a positive light as long as it’s authentic. What if you did a twitter shout out to the team equipment managers? Or for teammate who doesn’t get much playing time for always going the extra mile? How about thanking a coach on youtube who often spends extra time with you after practice to learn a new skill? What about acknowledging a captain on Facebook who has shown great leadership skills to the whole team? Each authentic positive post you have demonstrates to a coach that you are the type of person they want to have in their program!
- Your commitment to your academics. While discussing that daunting chemistry lab or algebra II test does not usually rate high on the most exciting topics to post on social media, it could win you some points with college recruiters. You can even use hashtags to demonstrate you have your priorities in line of being a #studentfirst or #gradesmatter. Look for a way to acknowledge a tutor or study buddy. Or what if you ask your social community for referrals to speak with a friend’s parents who work in a career you possibly want to pursue? You can show your desire to learn about what your future could be after your playing days are done. Each of these show a college coach your maturity and priority of education.
- A life outside of your sport. College coaches want to see all of the facets that make up their potential new athlete. They want to find student-athletes they want to hang out with for the next 4 years and who bring something to the long bus rides and overnight trips. They want to see your character and what you value. Post pictures of your family and friends going to a theme park, playing mini-golf, or helping pack boxes for hurricane victims. If you love to play the guitar, record a video of you playing a few notes. Maybe discuss how you helped with a church Vacation Bible School or Christmas program. Include anything that shows you are much more of a balanced person (even if you don’t always feel that way!) beyond athletics and academics.
A few words from some professionals in branding, videography, and marketing…
Caleb Randall, Owner and Producer of Randall Productions, does storybranding for corporate entities and has done multiple cinematography projects even for my business (see Fearless Women video link).
“When it comes to branding, you need to focus on being authentic and telling the story from your own unique perspective. Even when you are giving them recruiting videos, you need to connect personally with college coaches-not just throw numbers at them!” – Caleb Randall, Owner and Producer of Randall Productions
A close friend of mine, Jon Sierra, is the President and Founder of Sierra Creative. His company is a creative marketing and design company that specializes in branding. Jon works with businesses that spend literally thousands of dollars to put forth the proper image for their companies. Since he daily works with presenting the best branding possible for high end clients on social media, I asked his advice on the best branding in relating to student-athletes,
“Every post counts as it speaks to how you are as a person and it does not go away. If you are marketing yourself to college recruiters, then every post you make should speak to every part of you- especially in your values and your character. Also, remember that you are the crowd that you associate with both in real life and social media. Be careful of who tags you and what messages you “like”. We work with businesses that spend thousands of dollars to rebrand after negative press. I highly recommend you don’t post anything now that you may regret when you are sitting in front of a college coach.” – Jon Sierra, President & Founder, Sierra Creative
Jamie Clemens is the owner of Loud Life Productions, a video production company focusing on creating clear messages for individuals and businesses, he advises people on branding. He believes that for anyone who is concerned about their image to…
“be extremely choosy and considerate of what types of videos you post because In a world full of noise, you want to make music. Choose what will stand out and stop for a good thing.” – Jamie Clemens, Owner of Loud Life Productions
Grant & Marissa Nieddu are the owners of Spark Sites, a website company that focuses on websites and web support for emerging entrepreneurs. The Spark Team deals with branding through all aspects of your web presence.
“Present your best-self online. Everything you post will contribute either positively or negatively to your personal brand. You never know who is watching or who will look at it later! It is very difficult (and costly) to repair a damaged reputation online.”
It’s extremely important every student-athlete examines what they have personally posted, tagged pictures, and videos on YouTube. Always remember that college coaches want to bring in athletes that will represent their program well every day in the press and their own personal social media. If you can be proactive of taking these steps above, college coaches will be able to check the box of “cleared” for that next step of being offered a roster spot or scholarship!
Would you like help with the college recruiting process?
1. Go to www.lookingforafullride.com to get your FREE Report: Strategies to Emailing A College Coach.
2. Want some help with the recruiting process? Join some of our 9 Facebook Groups:
- Parents of High School Student Athletes Walking Through The Process (All Sports)
- Beyond Xs & Os 4 HS Athletes: Health, Recruiting, Team Building, Mental Training (All Sports)
- Athletic Recruiting Education for Principals, AD's, and Counselors (All Sports)
- Club/HS Coaches Learning College Recruiting Process (All Sports)
- Play College Soccer (Soccer Specifically)
- College Recruiting for GK's (Soccer Specifically)
- Mindset & Leadership Lessons for Athletes, Coaches/Teachers, & Business Leaders (All Sports & Business Leaders)
- Positive Team Building for Pro, College, HS & Youth Coaches (All Sports)
- Christian Competitors (Coaches & Athletes Serving Christ @Field/Court/Gym) (Sports Ministry for All)
3. Would you like her to do individual consulting with your family to get an insider’s perspective?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
4. Did you know Coach Renee Lopez can come to your school or sports organization?
Email email@example.com for more details.
Coach Renee Lopez
As a 17 year coaching veteran, Renee Lopez is a recruiting expert for high school student athletes. She uses her NCAA Division I, II, and NAIA Head Coaching experience to help families navigate the recruiting process to be identified by college coaches and help them find the right “fit” for playing at the next level.
She presents recruiting seminars across the country, has recently been featured on ESPN Radio, and is the author of the book, “Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide” where she interviewed 65 college recruiters across all sports and college levels.
She also does private consulting for student-athletes and their families to help in understanding the often daunting process of recruiting. (See one family’s testimonial.) If you are looking for help in the college recruiting process, please email Coach Renee Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.