Social Media is not all bad. Used correctly it can be a powerful tool that can be used many different ways. Nearly everyone can find a positive use for social media. Unfortunately, one bad tweet, post, or snapchat can be the downfall of the young and old.
For student-athletes, social media can be an outstanding way to build your brand. You may not realize this, but if you are on any social media platform you are building your brand. However, if you don't build your brand with intent, you may be giving people the wrong picture of you.
If misused, social media can be a very powerful tool of destruction. One negative tweet can result in the loss of a job or a scholarship. One negative tweet can destroy a friendship. One bad Facebook post can give people a negative perception of you, and perception to many becomes reality.
Every winter we hear the stories of a school dropping a recruit because of something they do or say on social media. College coaches do not want to recruit headaches. They want to recruit great athletes who will represent their program with class. They will monitor your Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts. One negative tweet or retweet, and you are no longer on the board.
One the other side, you can use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to build a brand that a school will be proud to have in their program. You can show your community service, your leadership, your ability to build people up, and of course, your athletic ability. I am not talking about bragging about your talent and your stats. Your play on the field takes care of itself. I am talking about a tweet to a classmate who may be having a bad day. Or, sending an inspirational picture on Instagram and tagging a teammate who might need to lifted up. Used appropriately, people can see the greatness you have inside of you.
Social media doesn't lie. It will distort, but it won't lie. The thing is, everything you post is a choice. It is a choice to post something positive or negative. Before you post, like, or retweet something, ask yourself these questions:
1. How will the coaches recruiting me see me if I post this?
2. Will this help me get recruited, or will this hurt me?
3. Is this tweet going to make me look like a liability to a school recruiting me?
4. What will my teammates, parents, coaches, and future coaches think of me?
5. Would I want to be teammates with someone doing this?
If you aren't sure if the post will help or hurt you, then don't post it. It probably isn't good. If it is negative, don't post it.
If you are new to social media, here are a couple of ways to build your brand:
1. Post a link to your highlight film. This is a way to get it viewed. One post will not get it viewed. Post it a couple of times a week.
2. Post positive messages for your teammates and classmates. This goes a long way to build good will and shows potential coaches you care about others.
3. Post pictures of you doing good things. If you are doing a service project, post a picture. If you get an award or honor, post a picture. Make sure you thank others in the picture. It is bigger than you.
4. Tag coaches in your positive posts. If you get an award, tag a college coach recruiting you.
5. Retweet Uplifting messages: If you see something uplifting, retweet or share it. If a classmate or teammate does something great, share it or tweet about it. If someone is down, tweet something that might lift them up.
The ultimate question is, how do you want people to see you? How do you want college coaches to see you? You can't use twitter to impress the wrong people and the right people at the same time. You can't use Instagram and Facebook to impress the wrong people and right people at the same time. You have to make the right choices when it comes to social media. Remember, everything is retrievable. If you say something stupid, it will be screen captured and archived. It will never disappear.
If you make positive choices, social media can be great for building your brand. If you make negative choices, social media destroy opportunities. Don't let 140 characters ruin an opportunity for you.
Shameless plug: I wrote two iBooks that can help your program with X's and O's. The first is on Installing RPO's into any offense. Here is a link to the iBooks version: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1078061959. The ibooks version includes explanations, diagrams, and video clips on multiple RPO Concepts. It will give you a simple process for implementing them into your offense.
If you don't have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can order the Amazon version for the Kindle. It has everything except the embedded video. You can order it here: http://www.amazon.com/Installing-Explosive-Concepts-Into-Offense-ebook/dp/B01B12YSCG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8