“Obviously, you’re known for what you do. But, you still want to be known as a good person. You’re a person a lot longer before and after you’re a professional athlete.” – Derek Jeter
Social media has become an integral part of the college recruiting process, providing coaches with easy, almost unlimited access to potential recruits. Coaches can’t make contact via social media until, in most cases, an athlete’s junior year. But they can check a social media profile long before that. The access can provide an unfiltered view of an athlete’s character, maturity and demeanor and it isn’t always positive.
“What you put out there is your brand and how you want to be perceived,” said Avon football coach Mike Elder. “Recruiters want to see what kind of person you are because they’re making a major investment in you. If you’re putting the wrong things out there, I can promise you, that recruiting will end.”
Recognize that you are a brand – Let’s be real, if you are a young athlete in middle school or high school and your are starting to get noticed, then realize you are no longer just an athlete. You have now taken on a more mature role in your life and become the start of a brand.
Protect your brand – once you realize you are a brand, protect your brand image at all costs. Yes, you are still a kid, a teenager, but you are also a kid with an athletic ability that can land you a great college scholarship among starters. You have been given a gift that needs to be nurtured and protected. Nothing good comes from a misstep on social media, but everything good comes from a great and valuable presence on social media. Colleges, coaches, prospective employers all take notice of your social media presence so use it to your strongest advantage.
Start early – do not wait until senior year to get on social media or to start posting with a clear defined positive strategy.
These 3 tips may sound like common sense but you would be surprised how many teen athletes and others do not recognize the importance and reach of social media.