Without a doubt, Twitter and Instagram have heavily impacted how college coaches recruit student-athletes. And even though the mainstream media may love to break the news when a college turns away or casts out an athlete because of their behavior on social media, today’s prospects move with a better sense of self-awareness.
Those same individuals leverage their reach digitally to spotlight them from coast-to-coast recruiters and advertise their accomplishments as athletes, students, and well-rounded community members.
Twitter, more so than Instagram, maybe the go-to app for college coaches and high-schoolers alike to communicate with one another. Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban may follow a prospective student-athlete, that prospect does the same, and voila. Both establish an open line of communication between each other to go back-and-forth over direct messages.
Watch the following video from CaptainU to earn about what to try and to avoid with Twitter to elevate your recruiting profile:
Optimizing Twitter for College Recruiting
Athletes in high school must set their intention, follow it, and be creative with using Twitter to draw attention from college recruiters.
First, build a presence on the platform that aligns with your core beliefs and values.
Don’t let Twitter consume too much time; it should be a tool, not a project.
Follow these instructions:
Develop a clear, concise brand
Include your first & last name in the Twitter handle. If coaches can’t find you, you won’t be recruited. For those with a common name, insert a number at the end to distinguish yourself.
Use the same profile picture across all apps. An easy-to-see, smiling photo of you is great. Use that single photo for all your social media avatars. It helps coaches identify you faster and with conviction.
Essential Elements of a Twitter bio:
Name of high school/club team.
Position in sport (Ex. Wide receiver, midfielder, goalie)
Hyperlink to recruiting profile or season highlights
Do’s & Don’ts
If you’re interested in a particular college or university as the next destination for your athletic career, consider following a handful of coaches and student-athletes there to understand better whether the program is a good fit for you.
Cast a wide net, certainly. Some individuals may follow you back; others won’t.
When you establish a DM dialogue, please consider the following:
Introduce yourself and pass along a link to your highlight reel
Ask questions about academic requirements for admission (ex. GPA, SAT / ACT scores)
Do not ask for a scholarship.
Is there an athletic or academic camp on their campus you could attend in the summertime? The opportunity for face-to-face interactions is always best.
Avoid sending too many messages to the same person
Pose a question to an athlete or coach that reflects you’ve researched their career or school
Be Smart, Don’t Overthink Things
If a college coach follows you back on Twitter or Instagram, act pleasantly surprised. Try not to jump for joy; it may not mean a scholarship offer is coming to you the next day in the mail.
Conduct yourself professionally. A coach may want to take a few days before reaching out to you to observe how you conduct yourself on social media. What posts do you like? Is the language you use in the comments section derogatory or offensive?
Think of it all as a test. As much as your highlights speak for your on-the-field ability, it’s much more difficult for coaches to make a character assessment of a young adult who could live hundreds of miles away.
And if you aren’t already aware, college coaches do not have the ability to communicate with prospective student-athletes via social media DMs until September 1st of their junior year.
Don’t panic if you don’t receive a reply back quickly too. College coaches are human beings with spouses, children, and their own personal lives in addition to all the other professional responsibilities they have (coaching) in addition to recruiting.