Leveraging Social Media in College Recruiting

Social media is one of the most popular and inexpensive ways for high school players to build a profile and marketing tool that can catch the attention of a college scout. While the idea of self-promotion can be daunting and something many players naturally shy away from, it is a necessary skill to develop when entering the recruiting process.

College scouts are turning more to social media to stay up to date with players they are interested in, find new players to evaluate, and vet the character and image that a player portrays. Players can freely promote themselves to college baseball programs by sharing relevant information during the recruiting process, while also learning more about certain programs they are interested in.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of leveraging social media during the recruiting process and how to choose the right platform. Also discussed are the appropriate ways to contact college coaches, and the methods coaches use to contact players.

The Importance of Self-Promotion

Although uncomfortable for many players, using social media as a tool for recruiting can help a player be seen by more college coaches. If players are serious about playing in college and determined to make it happen, using every method possible to increase those odds should be done. Posting content or information that could provide a college coach with valuable information is something almost every player in this position should be thinking about.

Chances are that a player will not receive a scholarship opportunity or a spot on a college roster solely based on their social media profile, but it can be the first step to kicking off that process. If college coaches are considering a few different high school players to fill a spot in their recruiting class, the easier a coach can access a player’s information, the better chance they stand of getting a fair opportunity to be seen.

For example, a college coach may be considering two different players. The first player has their prospect video, summer season schedule, upcoming showcases, and past showcase results on their social media. The second player doesn’t keep their profile updated and their information is hard to find. A college coach is going to be much more likely to consistently keep tabs on the first player, as opposed to needing to reach out every time to the second player to get information.

Remember that college coaches are busy and often keep track of dozens of players across different graduating classes. The easier a player can make it for the coach to stay up to date with the player’s career, the more likely the coach will have a positive impression of the player and reciprocate the effort into following along with the player’s updates.

Choosing a Social Media Platform

The most popular platform for college recruiting is Twitter. Is easier to post quick updates and add relevant context. Facebook and Instagram are also popular and if players are serious about their online presence, they might as well add their information consistently across all platforms.

The other option is for players to dedicate a specific platform for all of their content specific to the recruiting process, and reserve the other platforms for the everyday standard social media use cases. It is not wise to mix recruiting and sport content with other content that isn’t relevant. It should be quick and easy for coaches to find the information they are looking for on a recruit’s profile. They are likely not going to sift through prom photos to find a player’s summer schedule.

However, that does mean college coaches won’t look at all of a player’s social media profiles, so players should also be aware of what they are posting and how it may be perceived by a college coach. More on that later in the article…

Posting Content and Interacting

Players should use their social media profiles to post information that promotes themselves and helps coaches find the information they might be looking for. The most common information college coaches will be looking for are:

  1. Prospect videos – A link or pinned post of a prospect video is a great idea and gives a college coach an opportunity to begin evaluating a player almost immediately after viewing their profile.
  2. Schedule updates – These could be high school games, summer or fall games, or even upcoming showcases. Brief updates to let viewers easily see where a player will be playing in the next few weeks can help college coaches make plans to see a player in person.
  3. Results – Posting or retweeting the results from games or posts around a player’s individual performance are definitely appropriate and encouraged. Especially valuable information includes results from recent showcases, such as 60-yard dash times and throwing and exit velocity. This provides credible and recent updates to a player’s athletic advancement.

How College Coaches Use Social Media

It is not very common for college coaches to be blindly looking for players on social media as an initial scouting method. Usually, after a college coach is aware of a player that peaked their interest they may check out their social media or begin following them. College coaches might also keep tabs on showcase accounts and accounts dedicated to highlighting unsigned prospects.

When it comes to contacting players on social media, college coaches have specific rules and regulations they must follow:

  • NCAA D1 – College coaches can not directly contact or message players before September 1st of their Junior Year.
  • NCAA D2 – College coaches can not directly contact or message players before June 15th of their Sophomore Year.
  • NCAA D3, NAIA, & JUCO – College coaches can contact and message players at any time.

Staying Up To Date with Programs of Interest

Not only do social media accounts serve as a tool for coaches to follow players, but it also allows players to learn more about a school’s program and stay up to date with their season. This can be beneficial because not only does it help a player further determine their interest level in the program, but it also educates them so they can be engaged and ask good questions later on in the recruiting process.

Having a deep insight into a program is going to show there is a genuine interest in future discussions with the coach. Coaches love to know if a player is truly serious about their program so they don’t risk wasting a lot of time and resources on a player with lukewarm interest. It also gives a general impression of preparedness and seriousness that can further solidify the image of a player in a positive way.

Maintaining a Professional Image

The quickest way for a player to ruin their chances of playing at a certain school is to have an inappropriate or immature social media presence. College coaches recruit beyond raw talent alone. They are looking for hard-working and accountable athletes that they feel can positively represent their program. College baseball teams spend almost every day together, so coaches put a lot of focus on finding players that are aligned with their program’s values.

It is okay and actually recommended that players let their personality shine through on their social media, however, it should be done in a clean and professional way.