by Luke Lechner, ARI Recruiting
We can all agree by now that social media is becoming more and more important in the recruiting process. Whether it’s utilizing direct messaging to first get in contact with the recruit, keeping up with what they are up to in their lives, getting a feel whether or not they are a good fit for your program, or as a tool to educate recruits and parents on what it’s like at your school. The various social media platforms are great tools to help you recruit more effectively.
We have spoken with many coaches that feel like social media can be like walking on eggshells. You don’t want to come off too pushy or “stalk” them but you are sincerely interested in what they are up to and want to let them know how your team is doing. We encourage coaches to utilize social media to its full potential when it comes to the recruiting process. Throughout the article I’m going to review some of the most prominent social media platforms and how to get the most out of them.
Instagram is an amazing tool for embodying what it is like to be an athlete at your university and a member of your team. Recruits use Instagram to get an idea of what the school looks like, what the team is like, how the season is going, and how the coaches interact with the current athletes. If you are not a coach that enjoys posting on Instagram or creating Instagram stories, I would delegate this job to a current athlete on the team or assistant coach. It is important to be active and consistent when posting on Instagram.
Similarly to Instagram, consistency and frequency is key on Twitter. It should be an outlet to inform the public and all of your recruits on what you and the rest of your team are up to. It can also be a great tool to make initial contact with recruits via direct messaging or just get to understand the recruit a little bit more based off of what they are tweeting, retweeting, etc.
Snapchat is a great platform for showing potential recruits what a day in the life of a student athlete at your university is like. Highlight the little things, show team camaraderie, and other aspects of your university that make it so great. It can be a hit or miss whether or not recruits want to communicate 1-1 directly through Snapchat, some do and some don’t. But you can definitely count on it being a great tool to educate your recruits on your university. Some coaches also utilize the geo filters that you can create for game days or recruiting trips! Take a look at how to do that here.
There are various tools for finding social media information on your recruits. But you can always do it the good old-fashioned way: Google search their name and then the name of the social media account. Request to follow them or follow them if they have a public account.
You should always have a section in your recruiting software that you utilize for social media information. Make it your goal to gather as much information about that recruit as possible from various social media sources. Store their handles, account names, and whether or not you have had any contact with them on the platform.
Pro tip: If you want to be a powerhouse recruiter when it comes to using social media. Try and stay on top of the most recent and up-and-coming platforms. There are constantly new apps and online communities formed, so it may be a good idea to communicate with your current team to make sure that the apps and sites that you are following are the most recent and up-to-date. For example, an app called TikTok is exploding in popularity in the recent months with the younger generation and may serve as a great recruiting platform down the road.
Social media can really help when you want to tell your story and why your team and university are so special. Many of these platforms have live streaming, stories, and other unique features which makes it easier than ever to broadcast your key selling points of your university to your recruits. It’s a smart decision to stay on top of the most popular social media platforms by talking with your current athletes and coaching staff about what everyone is using and posting. Just like any other interaction in recruiting, it’s key to keep track of all interactions that take place on social media platforms. Every conversation, follow, tweet, or engagement can help them get one step closer to committing!
If you have any questions or thoughts on how you can utilize social media in recruiting, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you and am always happy to help any coach way I can!
Luke Lechner is one of the co-founders of Advanced Recruiting Intelligence (ARI), a next-generation software for college coaches to not only track their conversations with recruits, but also measure their interest in their programs using proprietary tools. For a free demo to see how it works, and why so many coaches are switching to this new way of monitoring their prospects’ path through the recruiting process, click here.