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As answers to our 2019 College Coaches Survey come in, many trends are starting to emerge. One of the strongest trends that has been reaffirmed by this year’s survey is the increasing emphasis that college coaches place on social media in the recruiting process. We have always known that social media is an important litmus test that college coaches use to evaluate the character of recruits. As social media gains a stronger grip on our daily lives and becomes a viable way for recruits to create exposure to and communicate with college coaches, being recruitable online becomes more and more important.
We have several articles about the importance of social media and steps you can take to ensure you are recruitable online. These resources include, Coaches Want Players with Clean Social Media and Be Smart About Social Media. If the message in these articles is not clear enough about your need to have clean online footprint, the College Coaches Survey results from the last two years should.
In 2018, we asked college coaches from every level of college baseball, “On a scale of 1 (not at all important) to 10 (extremely important), please rate how important it is for a recruit to have clean social media.” 45% of all coaches to complete the survey so far rank clean social media a 10 on the importance scale and a whopping 80% have ranked it a 7 or higher. In a separate question we asked coaches, “What are 1 or 2 things that a recruit might do that will cause you to cross them off your recruiting list immediately regardless of how good they are?” Predictably, more than a few coaches mentioned “Bad social media,” or something similar.
The 2019 survey results mirror the 2018 findings, as the average score for social media was 7.29 on the same 1-10 scale. In 2019, we also asked coaches, “How do you feel about a high school player using their social media for recruiting related purposes (e.g. to share recruiting video and game footage, to DM/message coaches, etc.)?” None of the coaches responded unfavorably to the use of social media for recruiting related purposes, while nearly half of the responses indicated that they like it. Additionally, half of the coaches indicated that they occasionally or frequently find players through social media.
So what does this mean for you as a recruit? It means that everything you do online matters. Coaches are looking at your social media and they are using it to make important decisions about your character and how you might fit in their program. Similar to your body language, coaches are using social media to make important snap judgments about you. Not only are coaches looking at what you say for yourself, they are also looking at what you retweet or share, the frequency of your use, the times that you are using social media (looking to see if you are using it during inappropriate times like during school, at practice, etc.), who you follow and who follows you, how you portray yourself in pictures, and much more. They are also starting to turn to social media as a way to find recruits, as noted in our recent survey results and our article about using social media to get recruited and the success of platforms like Flatground App.
Social media is a double-edged sword that you should use carefully. It doesn’t have to be bad news. What coaches see in your social media can add to your appeal as a recruit as much as it can hurt. You should use social media as a free way to create exposure to and communicate with college coaches. Show that you are a player with strong character. Show that you can make good decisions and not get caught up in the moment. Post links to your recruiting video, upcoming schedule, and other information that can be helpful to college coaches who are evaluating you. You should also use social media as a way to evaluate coaches at the schools you are interested in in the same way that they are evaluating you. Do they talk about the same things that you value as important? Are they sharing information that gives you insight to their programs? Use this valuable information to your advantage. Finally, use the mass amounts of information shared on Twitter to learn and improve your critical thinking skills. Many people and organizations are putting out great information, KPB included!
When coaches look to see how you are trending on social media, leave no doubt that you are the type of person that they would want in their program. Show you can make smart decisions and use social platforms to help yourself get recruited.