Nelson Gord is a former collegiate and professional ballplayer, successful high school head coach and the founder of the largest travel baseball club in Illinois. Nelson is just one of many former college and professional athletes and coaches who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their experience, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, helped create NCSA Team Edition, the free recruiting platform for club and high school coaches and their teams.
Social media can be a tremendous tool for growing the reach and influence of your team or organization, but it also must be utilized properly in order to really help. That’s why NCSA Team Edition (our recruiting platform built for high school and club coaches) recently hosted a social media education webinar that covered many tips and issues that coaches and athletes may not be familiar with. It is a highly recommended watch for any coach who’s looking to brush up their social media skills. In this article, you’ll find just a few of the takeaways from this webinar.
Athletes and parents: You can also apply much of this information to your own social media presence, especially the section about dos and don’ts.
When your team and athletes are doing well and others see that, it’s a great boost for your brand and reputation. That’s why when athletes have an impressive game, cap off a solid season, win an award, etc., you should share that achievement, whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. This can also extend to academic achievements, college commitments, service projects and other related activities. Make sure to use hashtags and tag other teams in your region to help expand your reach.
Market your athletes
Outside of celebrating achievements, social media presents plenty of opportunities to market your athletes and help them get noticed throughout the college recruiting process. You can announce the arrival of new athletes when they join your team or create introduction or highlight videos that show off your athletes. If that seems a bit too time-intensive, keep an eye out for any tweets or posts that athletes and families share. You can share and retweet those to show support and also add content to your page.
Share alumni highlights
Few things make your team look better on social media than alumni getting recruited and playing for a college program. That’s why you should keep following your former athletes and sharing what they’re doing at the next level. This is especially effective when sharing posts about your alumni that have been posted by their college team or university accounts. To get the best possible reach, you’ll ideally want to follow every single college program in your sport—or at least the ones that recruit in your region.
Make sure your Twitter bio stands out
Twitter is the main social media platform used by college coaches and programs when it comes to communicating with potential recruits. To effectively stand out, you’ll want your team’s Twitter handle to actually be representative of your team. So, if your baseball team is the Washington Stars, you may want to name it @StarsBaseball. You’ll also want to make sure the bio is informative and includes any accolades that your team has recently won. Having a recognizable name and informative bio will help your account get more traction.
Educate athletes about dos and don’ts
As you already know, your athletes don’t always make the best decisions. When it comes to social media, once you post something online, it’s out there forever. Help educate them about proper social media usage with these tips:
- Stay positive
- Adopt a 24-hour rule (don’t post when emotions are running hot)
- Consider what you’re liking and retweeting
- Make your Instagram and Snapchat accounts private
- Post highlight and skills clips
- Announce your commitment
- Use bad language
- Post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see
- Engage with fans of opposing schools or teams
- Post anything negative about a school that is recruiting you
- Post personal contact information
When you find success, keep going
Even top clubs still lean on social media after they’ve become household names. After the seminar, we asked some of our top NCSA Team Edition partner clubs about their approach to social media.
Coach Ryan Silver of West Coast Elite—the largest youth travel basketball organization on the West Coast—shared that “Social media is very important for highlighting our players’ accomplishments on and off the court. We believe that off-the-court accomplishments—community service, strong academic resume—are just as important as an athlete with a 40-inch vertical being recruited by the top college programs in the country. The foundation of our program is built around the 40-year plan: setting yourself up for life after basketball. Social media allows us to help each athlete who is a part of our program by highlighting their accomplishments.”
Vince Muscat, Club Director of Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy, shared that “Social media is an important way for us to communicate and market to our customers and their families. We use social media to help promote the individual athletes as well as the team’s accomplishments. We utilize social media to market upcoming programs, lessons, training, tournament schedules and to highlight our alumni as they continue their collegiate careers.”
When utilized correctly, social media can be a tremendous tool for you and your team. Do you need help expanding your social media reach? Have any topics which you’d like to see covered in this column? Reach out to NCSA Team Edition directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let you know how we can help.