Everyone needs to be careful about what they post on Facebook, but student-athletes should be especially concerned with what they share online. Since so many people are on Facebook, it presents a golden opportunity to make yourself stand out to prospective colleges and their athletic programs. Big time D-1 coaches from power conferences like the Pac-12 and the Big 12 have been quoted as saying that using Facebook is one of their preferred ways of communicating with recruits. Give those schools an easy way to get to know you with these three tips.
Make yourself private, yet searchable.
For extra privacy, adjust your Facebook privacy settings so people cannot write on your wall or tag you in pictures. This will prevent others from making you look bad. But make sure your profile shows up in searches by coaches and admission department reps who are looking to get to know you. It's important to be available when the right people are searching for you online.
Approach your Facebook profile as you would your résumé.
You can still have fun on Facebook, message your friends and look at pictures all you want. But Facebook gives student-athletes the opportunity to show themselves the way they want to be seen. Take advantage by demonstrating that you are mature, focused and potentially valuable as a recruit. Think before posting status updates. If a local paper has good things to say about your performance in a recent game, sure, link to it. But avoid posting trivialities. And minimize the party photos and other items that may be perceived negatively.
Don't just tell people who you are; show them who you are.
The best thing about Facebook is its ability to showcase photos and video, which help people feel like they are getting to know you. Include action shots of you on the field, but also video of you speaking directly into the camera (which also exhibits your comfort level with media). You'll be helping coaches get a feel for the type of person you are.
Jeff Weiner is a social media coach and the CEO of ESBL Social Media. His clients include NFL Pro Bowlers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.
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