Twitter was introduced in 2006 as a microblogging vehicle for sending short, 140-character messages. Since then, it has evolved into a vital social media service for sharing and disseminating information. Along the way, Twitter has also become an important tool in the recruiting process, especially for players who want to raise their profile.
There are plenty of cautionary tales about past posts coming back to haunt an athlete. However, when used correctly, Twitter can help you showcase your talents while also opening new lines of communication with college coaches. The keys are Construction, Consistency, and Connection.
The most important element of using Twitter to help you get noticed is the construction of your recruiting profile. And the foundation for that begins with using your real name as your Twitter username. Remember that an online profile does you no good if a coach can’t find it (think “JohnSmith33” instead of “JohnnyJamz33”). Make sure your name and profile can be found easily. If you have a common name that’s already in use, add a middle initial, your number, or your position to find a unique username.
With your username established, make sure your Twitter profile provides a quick synopsis of all the relevant information a coach is looking for. This must include your high school or club team, your class year, your position or positions played, and a link to your highlight video or skills page.
Finally, don’t forget your profile photo and background image. Twitter is constantly tweaking its interface, so make sure you know the correct sizes for each image. In addition, make sure your profile photo shows your face clearly so you’re easily recognizable. Keep your background photo specific to the sport you’re pursuing your college career. While you may have competed in tennis, basketball, and track in high school, focus your Twitter background photo on the sport for which you want to be recruited.
With a solid Twitter profile established, use it consistently across all your social media accounts and recruiting profiles. If a coach sees 50 profiles in a week, seeing one with the same name but different photos or details will only sow confusion and dilute your opportunities to stand out.
You should also be consistent in the content you post on Twitter. Remember that this is being used as a tool to enhance your recruiting profile. It’s your public profile, so make sure anything you post to this account stays focused on that goal. In other words, if you wouldn’t want a coach, an administrator, your parents, or your younger sibling to see it, don’t post it. In short, accent your accomplishments and keep the memes on mute.
In addition to being consistent in your content, keep control of your account. Don’t share your password and don’t allow anyone else to post on your account. Also, be mindful of what you retweet and what and where you comment. Again, this is your public profile. Make sure it always presents a positive image of you.
With your Twitter profile created, start following the coaches, programs, and schools you’re interested in. If you have a particular interest in a specific school, you might also follow that program’s assistants and strength and conditioning staff.
Once you follow a coach, a direct message is a fast and convenient way to reach out (assuming a given coach’s account is open for DMs). Just remember to make that initial DM worth that coach’s time. Make sure your questions about the school, the coach, or the program show your interest in that school, but also show that you’ve done your research. While there are plenty of questions to ask and not to ask (link to AMA and Don’t Ask posts), you should also avoid blowing up a coach’s DMs with too many messages.
Further, to increase your chances of a response (and getting noticed), consider when you’re messaging and any recruiting regulations that may affect when and how a coach can contact a recruit. Keep in mind that college coaches are prohibited from any contact with you before September 1st of your junior year in high school.
A Twitter profile is an ideal way to rev up your recruiting profile. Remember to focus on the construction of your profile, be consistent with all your other profile accounts, and make connections. Then, let your tweets do the talking to get college coaches calling!