For college coaches, social media has become not only a tool to communicate with recruits but also a way to help promote their programs to recruits. Along those same lines, if you’re a student-athlete looking to compete at the next level, social media should also be a vehicle to promote yourself and connect with coaches. However, for all the good social media can do for your recruiting efforts, a wrong move or two can torpedo your recruiting hopes in a hurry. To avoid that fate, and to ensure you use social media smartly and successfully, just remember these three steps.

First Impressions Matter

Whether you realize it or not, a college coach may have already looked over your social media accounts. So, unless you’ve already reached out to that coach via phone call, email, or camp introduction, your social media could be the first impression a coach gets of you. What does your feed and your behavior on social media say about you?

Remember that a social media account should work for you, not against you. Bad language, a bad attitude, negative or derogatory posts, complaints about practice or schoolwork, or dissing your coach, teammates, or school can all be red flags for college coaches. 

To ensure your social media makes a good first impression, remember that it should be used to promote you as a recruit. Post your highlight videos. Tout your academic accomplishments and athletic honors. Compliment your teammates and opponents. Put your strength, and strength of character, on display. Be gracious, not grating.

Think Before Your Post

Remember that everything you post on social media is public. Even if your accounts are private, the second you hit “SEND” on any social media post, you lose control over who sees that post and where it’s posted. And the same goes for anything you share or like. Regardless of intent, any share or like can be considered an endorsement from you. And ultimately, college coaches will view that as a reflection of your character.

So, to avoid social media mistakes that can sink your recruiting, think twice before you post anything that might not reflect well on you. Does it promote you or is it profane? Does it show your offensive skill or is it just offensive? Does it highlight your defensive abilities or is it derogatory? And don’t forget to think long and hard about what you like, share, or repost too. 

In addition to thinking about what you might post in the future, be sure to go back over your feeds and clean out anything that doesn’t promote you as a recruit. Finally, protect your passwords and never give anyone access to any of your accounts in any way. 

Own Your Actions. Learn From Your Mistakes

Having taken the first two steps above, your social media feeds will hopefully serve to promote you as a recruit. But, mistakes happen. And if you do make a social media faux pas, admit it, learn from it, and make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice. Immediately delete any questionable post. Own up to your mistake, be honest,  and don’t make excuses. If the issue comes up with a college coach, being honest, taking responsibility for your own actions, and showing that you learned from your mistake and won’t make it again will earn you far more respect than any flimsy excuse. 

When used properly, social media can be an important component in your recruiting process. Just remember to make sure all your feeds make a good first impression and a positive reflection on you with anyone who views them. Think twice about anything you post and make sure to scrub your account of anything you’ve already posted that might not reflect well on you. And if you do make a mistake, fix it fast, own it, and don’t make excuses. Follow those three steps and your social media can turn you into a successful recruit!

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