Written by: Geoff Raives, CFF Director of Partnerships, and beNOTICED
Social media can be a very powerful tool for student-athletes during the recruiting process… IF it is used in the right way.
Most high school student-athletes are socially connected via various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few.
It’s important for student-athletes to know that college coaches are continuously looking at the social media accounts of their recruits. It’s also important to know that whatever you post online (public or private)… stays online. You can’t undo something you may regret.
Therefore, all student-athletes need to think critically before they post to social media. Think about it this way; "Would I want my mom or dad or my coach to see this?" If not, don't post it. Not even privately.
With that being said, let’s now focus on what and what not to do on social media without hindering any potential opportunities.
Express your personality.
College Coaches are seeking hard-working, respectful leaders to add to their programs, so, don’t hesitate to let your positive values shine through. Have fun. Be yourself. Be nice, and keep it appropriate.
Highlight your passion for the sport of soccer.
An easy way to earn points in the minds of coaches and their recruiting staff is to make it clear that soccer is a priority in your life. If your social media activity clearly shows that you love the sport and are proud of your accomplishments, you’re likely to stand out versus other prospective student-athletes.
Showcase your achievements outside of the sport, too.
Did you raise money for charity? Volunteer? Make your school’s honor roll? These show your drive and well-roundedness outside of sports, so don’t hesitate to share it.
Engage with others.
Feel free to comment, like, and share posts from your favorite schools to congratulate them on a win, wish them luck at the beginning of a new season, showcase a great goal or save that they had. Tag coaches or programs on your posts. Social media is meant to be just that – social… it doesn’t have to be ALL about you.
Don’t use foul language.
Avoid swearing and any verbiage with the potential to offend.
Don’t accept corporate sponsorship of any form and boast about it.
Affiliating with a brand can seriously damage your eligibility to compete at the post-secondary level, especially in the NCAA. It’s best to stay away from these sorts of deals and definitely best to keep it off of social media.
Don’t be discriminatory in any way.
This isn’t just for social media, but for life in general. Be nice! As mentioned earlier, coaches are seeking respectful individuals, so always make sure what you post, like, comment on, subscribe to, follow, retweet, or share in your stories, is just that — respectful. Avoiding all things discriminatory or lewd might seem easy on the surface, but it’s also easy to forget in the moment. Think before you interact.
If you absolutely cannot stick to these do’s and don’ts, then set ALL of your social media accounts to private (keeping in mind that even private accounts still contain your opinions, possibly poor decisions, and can potentially be seen by someone, somewhere, anyway) or better yet… get off the grid altogether. Shut down your accounts.
If you are questioning yourself and whether or not you should post what you just typed out with your thumbs… the answer is no. Don’t do it unless you are certain it shines a good light on you, on others, and won’t obstruct any of your opportunities.