Social Media Baggage May Strip Potential Scholarship Offers
It has never been easier to communicate to the masses. With one click of the mouse, hundreds of people can be notified of a game cancellation.
Social media has allowed high school athletics to benefit tremendously in the aspect of communication. Although, with a monster as large as social media, there can also exist a negative flip side.
Athletic administrators now have a responsibility to not only provide timely, up-to-date information through social media platforms, but to also educate student-athletes on how to post appropriate content to their own profiles online.
During a high school football season, some student-athletes can be highlighted as well-known figures in the community due to exposure through social media. Local media might tag them in posts and in turn build up a strong following. It is crucial to set an example for them early on in their career and teach them to take accountability for their actions. Some schools are instituting social media contracts and pre-season social media presentations to educate student-athletes, coaches, and parents on the potential pitfalls of using social media inappropriately.
There have been numerous cases in which college coaches have decided to not recruit certain players due to their social media baggage. In a time where a high school student-athlete can become a local celebrity after a game-winning three-pointer, there needs to be some sort of education provided on how to handle that attention in an appropriate manner.
A goal of every high school administrator or coach should be to assist these students in reaching the next level of play, and acquiring scholarships to do so. That is why these coaches and administrators need to set the precedent and show how to use these social media accounts to better enhance their personal brand for potential college recruiters.
It is important to instruct student-athletes that social media can be used for far more than sharing pictures from a party or plans for the night. An idea that may help is to empower students and allow them to learn firsthand how to create appropriate social media content. Coaches can have their student-athletes take an active role in team accounts to build more of a responsible presence online. These roles could include providing quotes, highlighting influential figures in their life, promoting other activities, and creating general content for the account. All this could be done under the supervision of coaches and administrators.
By taking this active role in helping the team account, student-athletes will take pride in their content and share it on their own page. This will create a more responsible personal account for the player due to the school promoting content that will be more beneficial to potential college recruiters.
Remember, there are many social networks online today, and all of them can be used irresponsibly. Everything from photographs on Instagram to background music in recruiting videos should be taken into consideration while educating student-athletes. It is imperative to constantly research trends in order to help high school student-athletes reach their goal of playing at the next level.
Ways for high school student-athletes to build a strong personal brand on social media:
• Inspirational quotes
• Posting about the community
• Following influential figures
• Supporting their family
• Sharing articles and current events
• Avoid posts with profanity, illegal activities, trash talk, etc.
The video below describes how former UCLA Softball Coach and 11 time national champion Sue Enquist discusses the growth of social media, and how coaches use it to evaluate recruits.
About the Author:
Scott Taylor is a Digital Associate for Home Team Marketing and is responsible leveraging digital marketing, social media, email marketing and other digital assets to help high schools.