The information age has given high school students the ability to form opinions about colleges before ever stepping on a campus for a visit. But they’re not the only ones using the Internet to gather useful information.
College coaches now have a much quicker and convenient way to form a first impression of a potential recruit’s character — through social media.
Social Media 9-10For some young players, that may not be a good thing. In a US Youth Soccer survey of college coaches, 322 coaches said they check social media profiles of potential recruits, and 89 percent of those coaches said a player’s social media presence has negatively affected how they view that player.
Clemson men’s soccer head coach Mike Noonan said his coaching staff regularly uses social media, and he said “without question” coaches can find out a player’s personality by his or her social media habits.
“You don’t want to read too much into social media because it’s more about information than it is a character analyzation of the player. But if someone posts things that are inappropriate, that tells you a lot about whether you want to recruit the player or not,” Noonan said. “If someone is being critical of a teammate, coach, referee or situation on social media, that may be suggesting some potential problems down the road.”
Noonan couldn’t give specifics of any situation, but he said he has been one of those coaches who has seen something posted on social media that negatively affected the way he viewed a recruit.
The prevalence of young athletes harming their image on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms has led to websites like SocialStudentAthletes.com, which provides blog posts teaching students such lessons as “5 Easy Steps to Killing Your Recruiting Chances with Social Media.” The website acknowledges college coaches’ use of social media and lists social media practices for high school athletes to avoid.
In Noonan’s mind, recruits simply need to do a little thinking before posting something on their profiles.
While a lot of discussion focuses on what to avoid doing on social media, Noonan said there are ways for recruits to help their cause through their online presence.
Simple updates on games, schedules, what schools a player is visiting, and other soccer events provide college coaches with useful information. Noonan said if a player is part of a Youth National Team, a synopses of a game and how he or she played will help generate interest from coaches who are following the player.
Even if a recruit’s youth soccer team is coming off a loss, Noonan said it’s good to see a post that acknowledges a tough defeat but looks forward to the next game or opportunity with a positive attitude.
No matter what young athletes post on social media, it’s important for them to remember coaches and potential future employers see much of the same information on those platforms. Just as kids use social media to first hear about news, coaches use it to start the process of learning about potential players for their program.
Social media is the most prevalent source of information that’s out there today.As a player, you have to stay current and have to stay vigilant to make sure you’re being portrayed in the way you want to be portrayed.
Why the Media is Important to you!
The media shapes the public’s perceptions of the accomplishments of women playing sports and whether women in general can be strong, confident and highly skilled. The media also shapes the dreams and aspirations of girls. Boys grow up watching television, bombarded by heroic and confident images of themselves playing sports and being revered for their accomplishments. They know they are expected to play sports and are encouraged to do so by everyone around them. Girls do not receive these same messages.
While media has potential to negatively impact athletic performance, this medium can also be used to cultivate or bring out the best in an athlete.
Media training can cover how to dress appropriately for interviews, how to pause before answering questions and how to be comfortable in the presence of a camera.
Athletes that have been through media training will appear conversational with reporters. They won’t be afraid to express their true thoughts about their performance. They show off their personality. People respond positively to authenticity, honesty and warm personalities.
Athletes with no media training will their hide emotions, appear nervous or uncomfortable speaking to reporters and will shy away from the camera. These are the ones who will do little to improve their personal reputations.
Usain Bolt is a classic example. His interviews are honest and he is always himself. Expressing his happy personality makes him easy to love. People don’t get tired of seeing him win, simply because they want to see more of him.
Representing your School, Representing your Community
The player, always need to remember that you represent the school, your teammates, Team, family and the community.
Student-athletes will often receive more publicity than you peers, which means your behavior can cause significant damage to the schools image if you act inappropriately online or in public.
• Posts are always visible. Once a player posts or tweets a message, it is captured and indexed by any number of search engines that crawl the Internet. This means that a message never actually goes away, even if the player has second thoughts and decides to delete it. You need to remember that. Always be cautious. Just like Saying No To Drugs is the best option, Saying no to Posting or Speaking In Negative Tone is also a Great Option.
• Owning your brand. You the Player owns your personal brand. Whatever you post or say to the media will be around years from now when a potential employer looks them up on a search engine, so you need to consider what kind of message you want to send about yourself.
• Beware of cameras. Each of you as a player needs to remember that anyone can be a journalist, since smartphones give everyone the ability to take pictures or video and instantly post it to social media. As a result, players need to use good judgment in social settings. You need to try to avoid any actions that could be misconstrued when taken out of context. For example, most viewers will assume that a player was consuming alcohol if he or she poses for a picture with a Solid Colour cup or a bottle at a party, even if the cup contained only water, juice or Gatorade :)))
• Impress potential recruiters. College coaches are always on the look out. Your own coaches here are always observing you and so too your teachers. As a result, it is not uncommon for coaches to research potential recruits through social media to get a sense of whether a player has the right character for their program.
The Social Media Discussion
As coaches, team officials and parents sometimes assume that our tweens and teens already know the rules but social media responsibility isn’t a one-time discussion. Check in with your kids often to be sure they are making wise decisions online and on their smart phones. Be sure they understand that you will be keeping an eye out to ensure that they are following the rules and exercising good judgement.
These 10 rules are a great way to start the social media discussion with your teens:
1. Respect yourself. Show off how great you are and represent yourself accordingly on social media. Make sure your photos are appropriate. Do not post or text photos of yourself naked, dressed provocatively, or making obscene gestures. Avoid uploading anything you would not want your grandmother to see on the front cover of the Express, Guardian or Newsday ! Social media plays a major role in building and ruining personal images.
2. Post with positivity. If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t post. Avoid ranting or arguing with people on social media and posting when you’re upset. You may be upset with your mom but it would be very disrespectful to share your anger with the world. Share positivity and good vibes on the web.
3. No “twerking” videos. Do not post videos that portray negative images of you, your friends or family involving profanity, sex, nudity, crime, drugs, discrimination, violence, lewd gestures, or anything that could be offensive to the public. Keep your video posts kid-friendly. You don’t want a video of you intoxicated and “twerking” inappropriately with friends to surface while you are campaigning for political office in 20 years.
4. Know your followers. Allowing strangers to follow you can be very dangerous. Even if their account looks harmless, be aware that there are many fake accounts where creeps follow their prey. If you don’t know them, ignore them and don’t let them follow you. Also, use privacy settings to protect your accounts from being viewed by strangers.
5. Be careful what you post for likes. – You don’t want to end up “instafamous” for something that could destroy your future. Keep your posts positive, dignified and smart. Social media is a great way to build a web presence for future endeavors. Don’t compromise your future for “likes” or “followers.”
6. Play nice. No one has the right to harass anyone based on their sex, race, age, orientation, personal beliefs, values, etc. The impact of harassment is heightened and can have deadly consequences when acted out over the Internet. Avoid engaging in cyber brawls on Twitter and status face-offs on Facebook. If you have a personal issue with someone, keep it off the Internet. If anyone is saying things about you on social media, report their account and let a relative know.
7. Think before you post. Nothing is ever truly deleted, so be very sure about what you post before you hit the post or send button. Once you post a picture or a status it is stored on the site’s server and can normally be retrieved even if you delete it from your profile.
8. If you see something, say something. Report anything inappropriate. Block or un-follow people that post negative comments on your timeline, make you uncomfortable or harass you in any way.
9. Manage your use wisely. Too much of anything can become a bad thing. Is social media keeping you from getting work done? Try putting time limits on your social media usage to make sure it is not impacting your productivity.
10. Don’t post your every move. Leave some information to share with your real friends and family over the phone. Your best friend would probably want to know you and your boyfriend broke up before the whole world knows via your relationship status change. Also be careful sharing info when you are going out of town. You don’t want to alert a potential burglar that you will be in the Barbados for a week with your family.
As a teenager it is important that you are aware, informed, and understand the risks that come along with using social media. Remember to protect yourself, censor what you post, and chose the crowd you associate with wisely.
The Impact of Social Media and Traditional Media
Social media gives players an opportunity to interact and share their experiences directly with captivated fans. Through Instagram photos or post-game tweets, players become more accessible to the public, which can increase fan engagement with the sport and tournament. Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo regularly shares tournament updates and glimpses into his life, driving around 5.1 billion interactions on social media in 2018 alone.
Social media gives athletes a much larger audience than the crowds at the Nou Camp or Wembley stadium. What it means to do the “right” thing on social media depends on the situation at hand, but it is important that players be wary of social media’s power and understand the potential consequences, risks, and benefits that may arise from it.
A thoughtful approach to social media can not only prevent unwanted crises but also tap into the positive power of social media, giving players the ability to connect with fans and a platform to speak out on social issues like racism and online abuse. However, just as mistakes on the field can destroy World Cup dreams, social media blunders can turn into nightmares for unpracticed players. Athletes should consider all the risks and benefits before getting into the game.
While superstars like Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Sergio Ramos most likely have media training and help with social media, some of the lesser-known players on these world popular teams may not. Those players face the challenge and pressure of reacting to—or rising above—provocations, issues, and attacks directed at them on social media during the tournament. For example, players may want to speak up and defend their actions on the field but must consider if doing so could lead to unnecessary controversy.
Some players use their elevated platforms during the World Cup to draw attention to social issues. Swedish midfielder Jimmy Durmaz took to social media to make a powerful statement against racism after he was attacked on multiple social media platforms with racial slurs and threats following a foul that gave a German player
a free kick and led to Germany’s goal and victory. Durmaz—who is born in Sweden and of Assyrian descent— did not respond directly to the offensive comments, instead taking the opportunity to talk about the issue of racism.
He issued a YouTube video statement about the harms of racism and by posting an Instagram with a similar message. Unlike Shaqiri, who did not address his hand gesture or amplify the controversy, Durmaz saw an educational opportunity in directly discussing the harmful nature of the online attacks directed at him. His social media response brought attention to an important social issue that otherwise may have been overlooked or overpowered by other World Cup news.
Some Basic Team Guidelines
• Use some common sense. If you are not sure whether a post or tweet is appropriate, then it probably is not.
• Profanity, vulgarity, and sexual references always fall into the not appropriate category.
• Resist the temptation to engage with fans or players from other schools or teams if they are making derogatory comments online.
• Never tweet or post when you are emotional. Chances are the action will have a negative outcome.
• Be cautious when retweeting or reposting someone else’s content. Such action can appear to be an endorsement of the message, even if you are not the original author.
• Never assume that a message or post is protected from public view, even if you have the private settings turned on for your profile.
• Do not give out personal contact information to a friend or follower that you do not know, and never post that information publicly.
• If any member of the media approaches you for a photo or an interview either in person or via telephone, first report to your coach or manager.
• Do not post anything on social media about the team such as team selection, tactics or information that has been shared by management to the team members only.
• If you have days off from training or competition, and you are allowed to spend a day at the mall or in the city, enjoy it but try to avoid posting too many photos of shopping or too much recreation. Always feel free to ask the coach or manager whether it’s okay to post items on your pages.
• Be mindful of what type of music you are playing in the background when recording videos that may end up on social media, stay clear of songs with lyrical content that includes derogatory or violent words.
• If you are not happy with decisions by the coach or management regarding your progress or in general about the team, maintain a level head, be patient, clear your mind and try to see the positive side of things before deciding to post something on social media or in the media that may affect you. Remember this is all about your team and your country. One Passion! One Team! One Nation!
We periodically check up on the content posted by our players, but our approach is sometime short of an outright ban, heavy monitoring or social media contracts that some associations have chosen to implement to protect their organisations or teams from negative publicity. Although we have not had any problems with you so far, one bad incident could take all the good marks away.
Our approach to social media oversight ultimately allows our players some freedom, shows that we trust them to use good judgment, and gives them the necessary guidance to ensure that they avoid any embarrassing incidents. As a result, we will continue to utilize this approach with you
Being the In-form Social Media Manager
Here are some basic tips that makes the role easier
Building a presence on social media is all about relationships, and that starts internally with your own colleagues, staff partners and players. As a social media manager, connecting with stakeholders and fans associated with your team or organization will go A LONG WAY to creating a successful social media strategy. Identifying champions for your efforts is also a fun way to get more people involved in something that they may not always have a chance to be exposed to—it’s definitely a win-win!
Brand Voice & Tone
If you have already defined a voice for your brand (Team and School) , that’s great! As a social media manager, you can take this voice and translate it to the digital world. If you haven’t yet defined your voice, now is the perfect time to do so. Social media allows for fast communication with fans, but sometimes that communication can be taken out of context or in a way you didn’t intend. Because of this, it’s important to define your voice and tone and develop a brand personality that can shine through in your online communications.
Every organization, school, team and even dressing room is different and this is never more clear than when discussing social media. For you as a social media manager, it’s extremely important that you understand how internal stakeholders perceive and use social media. Is your culture progressive? Conservative? The answers to these questions will help guide you through creating and executing your social strategy. Also, you want to be an advocate for social media, so understanding the current organizational landscape around digital media will help them know how to start educating your employees and advocating for all the great reasons to use social media for your team, school and the League.
When onboard as a social media manager, it’s important for you to understand why your organization is using social media in the first place. I know, I know…everyone needs to be using social, so that’s why you’re doing it. But that’s not enough. You need to think deeper. Based on your goals, what purpose do you hope social media will serve? Increased referrals? A boost in fan support and creating more awareness? Rising fan satisfaction? Whatever your endgame may be, it’s important for you to have a good understanding of them in general AND how they relate to your social media efforts.
What will success look like for you as a social media manager? Online pundits would have you believe that social media is tough to measure, but there are many ways that you can set goals and strive to reach benchmarks with your social media efforts. As with all marketing and communications efforts, these should relate directly to your business goals. If you want to have higher fan satisfaction, monitor and measure engagement. If referrals and online sales are important to you, track your campaigns and conversations for links to your facebook or instagram page and website. The options for this are truly endless and you track this on the various platforms.
What you need to do
Share Training Sessions
Share pre-season and regular training sessions/drills
Fans love to see what the players are up and the moods in training before game. They want to see the intensity. Showing light moments is good but not too much.
Pay extra attention to what is being recorded and shared on public domains. Showing ball movement is good but try to avoid too much wide angle and overhead shots of team structure, formation, defensive or attacking plays. That is for the coaches and players only.
Showing images of physical warm ups, jogging, stretching.
Team Talks – This is good but again, be very selective. You do not want to let out too much on team strategy or inside team business.
Avoid being a distraction. – Videographers or photographers should never be in the way of a player or coach during training sessions. Interviews should never clash with coach’s time, training sessions, or even too close to the schedule.
Ensure the coach and manager is aware of your plans – interviews, photo shoots, video shoots. NEVER obstruct the coach or cause a delay in the team business.
Limit Social media highlight videos to three minutes and under, unless it is a full press conference or in-depth interview.
Respect the opponent and league – Never post unruly or degrading comments about opposing teams or players.
Be fair – include goals scored by opposing team in highlight videos
History – Interviews with past players are always a good read or watch. Highlights of past matches and goals are also enjoyable to watch.
Post pre-game excitement and remind people of the important details.
Sometimes your content just needs to support the objective of selling the game and keeping the interest high. A good graphic design with game details, kick off times, venues etc is always attractive.
Highlight a member of your organization.
These mini-profiles of players, coaches, and lesser-known backroom staff and school staff helps you create community around your organization, whether it’s sports-related or not. Instead of focusing purely on the games, try finding the human stories that make the game much more than a series of plays.
Let Players Shine
Not only do stories profiling players help fans learn about their favorite players, but portfolios featuring a player’s season highlights and stats can help the player stand out to talent scouts.
Let the cheer be part of the story
Honor cheer and supporters crew that drive up fans’ energy and make games a day to remember. Post photos of your fans at the match. Let the possibility of fans being seen on the team’s facebook or IG page leave them with anticipation. Use fan photos and player goal celebrations in pre-game build ups.
Post Positive Game Attitudes
The big teams in world football haven’t been shy about posting players’ thoughts on games and practices. Let the opposing team and your fans know how the athletes and coaches feel on the days, hours, and minutes right before the game starts. It lends a human element to the conversation that will inspire greater connection between fans and players.
Show players off the field.
Even little league players have the potential to become town heroes. And certainly student and pro athletes become well-known members of the community. Show their personalities and good deeds off the field to encourage fandom from the spectators and community involvement from the players.
Showcase contributions to the community.
Way more than just a game, sports organizations can be powerful forces for change in the community. Let those contributions be known with power .
Exploit the rivalry.
Capitalizing on intense rivalries encourages fans to create most of the content for you, making your job way easier. Retweet impassioned rally cries or good-natured trolling of rival teams by fans. Just as any good content strategy requires deep understanding of the competitive space, a sports social team should know what its rivals are sharing. Consider setting up Google alerts or Twitter searches for your top rivals in order to stay on top of the latest and capitalize on unexpected tweet-able moments in real time.
Use private photos and videos to make it personal.
Allow audiences to customize their fan experience and share it with their closest friends. This year, the SSFL will be working more on Social Media to broaden its marketing campaign, highlighting the intense appetite fans have for intimate connection with their favorite players. You the team can play a big part here.