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Building a Positive Social Media Reputation for Student Athletes

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Building a Positive Social Media Reputation for Student Athletes

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Having a reputable social media presence can help athletes showcase their skills and character. In fact, recruits can use the power of social media to contact coaches, show coaches what kind of recruit they are, and even gain the attention of college coaches who weren’t previously recruiting them. Coaches and recruiters often look at athletes' social media accounts before seriously considering them, so it is important for athletes to make sure they have a positive online presence.

Benefits for athletes of having a positive social media presence

  • A collegiate athlete can earn money from their name, image and likeness (NIL) through various sponsorships that may include posting branded content on social media, attending events with fans, being on billboards, or advertising and promoting a business
  • College coaches look at potential recruits' social media profiles, so it is important to make sure athletes keep their accounts reputable 
  • Athletes can use social media as a place to promote their talents and get noticed by recruiters

Effects of Athletes social media profiles in the news

Marquette University rescinded an incoming student’s scholarship and offer of admission after screenshots of a Snapchat she posted commenting on George Floyd’s death drew outrage on social media. Screenshots of the post have ricocheted across Twitter, drawing condemnation for an “offensive comment” (Source: 2aDays)
It’s no secret that college coaches are looking at social media accounts. Eighty three percent of college coaches surveyed by Cornerstone Reputation said their staff conducted online research of recruits. (Source: Sports Engine Play)
The average income from NIL deals for student-athletes ranges from $1,000 to $10,000. However, we’ve seen cases where some athletes have earned much more than that. (Source: as)

The importance of athletes having a positive social media presence

  • Many coaches and athletic programs enforce a social media policy that collegiate and high school athletes are required to follow while representing their team. It will be easier to follow these policies if athletes are already in the habit of keeping a positive online reputation
  • Negative behaviors online can have serious consequences, including losing a scholarship offer from a dream university
  • Athletes are allowed to reach out to college coaches on social media. This opens the door for coaches and recruiters to see the athlete’s profile and online presence

Screen time during games

  • Many athletes are on their phones during practice and games; this can lead to players being distracted and can even affect their attitude and performance
  • Many coaches have rules around athletes being on their phones during games that may lead to less playtime if broken
  • It is important to set screen time boundaries with your student so they know when it is appropriate to be on social media or their phone

Advice from an expert on athletes' social media reputation

Nic Mayne, Player Advisor, Sports Marketing Strategist, Business Lawyer

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Nic Mayne

Social media factors into recruiting/team placement decisions, and a student's social media should be a positive representation of the team. Social media is an important tool for making an athlete more marketable to teams, coaches, and fans.

‍One of the first things I recommend to players is building a consistent social media brand—which includes a thorough online reputation check to make sure the player is representing him or herself positively. Especially with hockey, where I do most of my work, coaches and scouts are increasingly active on social media networks like Twitter, and building up online influence can even be a way to make first contact with prospective teams. I can promote athletes with highlight videos and gifs on Twitter and have scouts getting a first look right there online.

Of course, the flip side is that social media can also be an incredibly destructive tool. No matter how great your skill level on the ice, on the court, or on the field, social media mishaps can cause serious harm to your reputation. If college coaches sense from your social-media posts that you have trouble getting along with others, engage in risky behaviors, or show other warning signs, that could easily jeopardize your prospects as a student athlete. (It's no different in the pros, where you see young players getting traded away because they develop a bad reputation from social media mishaps.) 

The bottom line is this: at any stage in your career, from high-school freshmen to the upper echelons of professional play, if you plan to make sports an important part of your college experience or choose sports as a career, social media needs to become more business than pleasure. You can be yourself, but you need to keep your posts clean and positive. There is no wall between online engagement and real life—in today's environment, it all runs together. So use social media as a tool to show your best side as an athlete and as a person, and the effort will pay off tenfold.

Conclusion

Maintaining a positive and reputable social media presence is a crucial and powerful tool for showcasing talents, connecting with coaches, and opening doors to potential recruitment and sponsorship opportunities. It is important for student athletes to set social media boundaries so they are not distracted during game time. Having a reputable social media presence can set athletes apart and enhance their opportunities in the sporting world.

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

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