Why Coaches Should Embrace Social Media
When we are on campus doing social media education sessions with student-athletes, we also do sessions with coaches and staff. Part of that is to better equip them to have meaningful conversations with their student-athletes about social media use, and part of it is to help them understand how/why they should be active on social media. Slowly but surely, coaches are coming around to the idea that it is beneficial for them to be present on social media. For those who work in social media this seems like a no-brainer, but for many it is still a tough thing to embrace.
One of the topics we hit on with coaches is how powerful social media can be for recruiting. As Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops stated after he was asked why he created a Twitter account in 2012, “Strictly for recruiting. Got to. Gotta reach ’em.”
After a recent session with a group of coaches/athletics administrators, I had one of the coaches come up to me and say, “This was informative and eye-opening, but I don’t think this is going to make a difference one way or the other when it comes to recruiting. It’s just not that big of a deal to me.” This was an older gentleman, and is a statement I hear often from this crowd.
I asked him if he had a few minutes to chat privately and he did. I sat down, opened my computer and asked him to share with me the name of a student-athlete he is currently recruiting. He gave me the name and I typed into Twitter search. A few names came up and, within a few minutes, we identified the account of this particular recruit. “Ok, let’s look at this for a minute,” I said. “Here he was on Twitter, posting 4 times yesterday. That’s 4 times (at least – assuming he checked Twitter other times without tweeting) that he was present on Twitter and never saw your name, never saw an update from you. Four chances (at least) that you had to be in front of him.” The coach’s expression grew a little troubled. “Yeah, that’s not good,” he said.
Then we proceeded to look up an opposing coach from the same conference who does happen to use Twitter. “He posted 3 times yesterday. Two of those times were within minutes of this particular recruit being on Twitter (we checked, and this recruit does follow this coach on Twitter). So now we have at least 4 moments where the student-athlete was on Twitter and, not only did he not see anything from you, he presumably saw tweets from a rival coach. That’s a lot of missed opportunities.” The coach was starting to get the point, acknowledging that part of his job, as the face of the program, is selling the program.
“The bad news is – and I’m not trying to beat you up here, this is just the reality of the world we live in – this is just one recruit, and just Twitter. This young man is active on Instagram as well (we found his account). The same is true of many of the kids you are recruiting. If you’re recruiting 30 kids right now, let’s just say that’s a minimum of 3 missed opportunities per day, per recruit. Opportunities that other coaches in your league are taking advantage of.”
One of the main responsibilities of a coach is to sell to, recruit and evaluate prospective student-athletes. Where do those kids spend time? On social media.
I explained to the coach, as I did during the session, that I am not asking him to love social media or to devote his entire day to it. I’m just asking him to realize how the world is changing and to use this as another resource to reach recruits. It’s more than just a waste of time, it is how the next generation communicates.
Nobody should be more passionate about a program than the head coach. Every day that you aren’t using social media to share that passion is, in my opinion, a missed opportunity. It’s your chance to share what the program is about and what you are about. It’s your chance to tell your story directly to recruits and parents of recruits (along with fans, the community, the media, alumni and more). Nobody can tell that story better than you.
Fieldhouse Media is an award-winning firm dedicated to helping athletics departments get the most out of their social media efforts, from educating student-athletes and staff to providing an overall strategy. To find out more about us or to join the more than 60 schools utilizing our services for their athletics department, contact us today.
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