September 1st marks the date that coaches and recruits may begin contacting high school student-athletes in their junior year. It’s an exciting time! A word of caution and advice to high school student-athletes: Make sure your social profiles are presentable.
While not all coaches are actively using Twitter and Facebook, YouTube or Google+ to check up on you and see what your personality is like, this is a growing trend that you should be prepared for. Here’s a short video from recruitment experts, NCSA and former UCLA softball coach, Sue Enquist. She explains very clearly why you need to present a positive profile online:
So what does your social profile look like? Are you sharing your hobbies and interests, promoting your skills and talent? Or have you posted profanity, explicit photos and/or items that cause people to question who you really are? Coaches are looking for strong character and leadership. They want to recruit well-rounded individuals and student-athletes who will succeed in their program. They want to see great skills on the field, and academic achievers off the court. Are you the leader they are looking for?
Take some time to polish up your profiles. Have a look at this post, 7 Handy Tips for Managing Multiple Social Profiles, for a few tips as to how you can better manage your profiles, or have a look at my presentation to UCLA law school students. It should give you some ideas as to how best to develop your personal brand.
Live in San Diego? Save the date for The Role of Social Media in College Athletic Recruitment at the San Diego Hall of Champions on October 11th at 6:30pm. Guest speakers include former Padre Carmen Bucci of NCSA and Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, as well as other experts. High school student-athletes and parents are encouraged to attend, as well as College athletic staff and coaches. High school coaches can pick up some great tips too! More info to come, so stay tuned to Beaming Bohemian!
When providing social media education to a group or department, the length of the session usually does not allow for a detailed overview of each network. (Oh how I wish it did!) Every social site functions so differently and allows you to reach a different target audience. But there are some common threads and methods for managing more than one profile. So here are seven handy tips to manage multiple social networks and your personal brand that I often share with my students:
1. Create a content plan.
The big brands do it, and you should do. Do you plan to write blog weekly? Twice a week? How often will you post to Facebook? Will you schedule your Tweets in advance or plan times each day to be live? Most importantly, what content are you sharing? What message do you want to communicate? Get organized and create a plan that will help you strategize your delivery and save you time on a regular basis.
2. Understand your settings, functions and features.
If you have never taken the time to go through the settings on each platform and understand how they work, now is the time to do so. If you adjust setting X, how does it change your profile? Do you read the pop-up windows when the network adds a new feature? Do you understand how each and every function can enhance your profile? It’s time to learn what these platforms do with your information and how you can take advantage of their features to make your personal brand shine.
3. Schedule time each month to review settings, functions and features.
In the digital age, big things happen in the blink of an eye. And some networks add new features without even telling you (Facebook). Take 10 minutes each month to make sure your settings are the way you left them and check if there are any new features you can use to build your profile. LinkedIn just added a bunch of fun settings. Go through each one and see if there is some value for you. Facebook seems to get a kick out of randomly resetting your settings to default just to keep you on your toes. So stay a step ahead and on top of your settings. Otherwise, you might be sharing content with people you don’t intend to share with.
4. Make your bio work for you.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it is essential, especially for job hunters. Use the same photo for all your profile pictures so that people know it’s you. Craft one short and strong bio that you can use in whole or in part across all your networks. Make sure it reflects who you are and why you want to connect. If you aren’t getting some of the results you think you should, or you are all of a sudden attracting a stange crowd on Twitter, change it up. Your bio and your photo are the first impression. How do you want to be perceived?
5. Be strategic about posting photos.
You might really be enjoying that tropical vacation. However, your professional connections do not need to see you at the beach in your bikini, proudly holding up that adult beverage. There is nothing wrong in posting fun and social photos, but how does that photo represent your brand? If viewed out of context, what impression with that photo make? Think a little bit about the photos you post. How will they help you in the long run? Do they enhance your image? What impact that photo make? If there’s the slightest chance that that one photo could embarrass you later, don’t post it.
6. Use lists to manage your connections.
I’ve written about the Facebook and Twitter lists functions before. Leverage this feature to your advantage. On Facebook, using lists can help you with custom privacy settings. And if you have a lot of friends, it will help you check in with some folks who may not be appearing in your Timeline as often as you would like. On Twitter, you can subscribe to other people’s lists and create up to 20 of your own. You can use the list function to separate Tweeps by topic or industry. You can create a leads or contact list. And what’s really helpful is that you don’t have to follow someone to put them on one of your lists. I have a news list and while the list is long, I follow less than a handful of accounts. But it serves as a great resource and good content to share with my followers.
7. Take care with who you friend and follow.
It might seem really cool to have 5,000 friends or followers, but if 80% of those are spammers, bots and porn stars, what good does that really do? If you friend someone on Facebook, Link with a connection on LinkedIn or follow someone on Twitter, you are associated with that person. So it might seem cool that RoxyXXX is following you, and in the spirit of #TeamFollowBack you might give an automatic follow to all who follow you, but when your potential employer finds you on Twitter and sees who follows you, it’s pretty certain that they won’t think you’re all that cool if your friends and followers are less than respectable accounts and people. Be strict with who you friend and link with and make sure to manage your followers. It’s better to have connections with substance than large numbers of fluff. (Note: Pinterest has yet to enable the feature of managing followers, so be careful. They have not responded to requests as to when they will allow people to block followers.)
Ultimately, take a pause before you post anything anywhere and determine whether that comment will benefit you and your brand. Determine if your content will make a positive impact on your viewers or if you leave yourself open to interpretation. Good question to ask yourself – What’s the point? If you can’t find one, don’t post it.
UPDATE: This video has been made private or removed by CBS Sports. Attempts to locate another version have turned up empty. If you have a link to this video, please leave a comment.
CBS Sports posted this video the other day. Several head coaches weigh in on social media and the attitude they maintain about their players using the communication tools.
Syracuse Head Coach, Jim Boeheim stood out with his response, “I don’t even know what it is.” Followed by, “It’d be hard to adjust that, wouldn’t it?” He went on to comment that while he does carry a cell phone, he does not have a computer. It’s as though he was saying the topic is of no interest to him and he has no desire to learn or care.
Contrast that with a few of the other answers.
John Thompson III of Georgetown admitted that he knows that social media is part of life, but that he does not understand why it is important to post that you are at a pizza joint enjoying a slice of pizza. Understood. With some education and guidance, student-athletes can develop a purposeful content plan that is far more engaging than pizza slices.
Kevin Willard of Seton Hall wants his athletes to develop communication skills, so once the the team enters the building/practice facility, they must speak to each other and folks in the building. Cells phones are turned off and no texting or tweeting allowed. I’m sure everyone can appreciate those goals and rules.
“Teachable moments” is how Jim Christian at Texas Christian University sees social media. He says, “As opposed to just restricting them, you know, sometimes they have to make bad decisions in order to learn. And I think that’s what college is all about.” Here, here, Jim. You have a good attitude. We are working with young adults who are finding their way in this world, and who, unlike most of us in our college days, have any number of methods to shout out to the world. They are human, and yes, they are bound to make some mistakes. I’m glad to see that TCU allows the student-athletes to learn from their mistakes.
I was most impressed with Dave Rice, head coach of the men’s basketball team at UNLV. He teaches his players to use social media for the positive. He wants his players to uplift their teammates, to talk about the great experience they are having at UNLV. He is cognisant of the risks and the possibility that certain issues may need to be addressed, but ultimately, and this is why I appreciate him the most, he says, “I really believe in the importance of empowering student-athletes, making it a part of the education process and really using social media in a positive way.”
Can I get a WOO HOO?!?! As a head coach or athletic director, you may fall in to Jim Boeheim’s camp and not have the first clue what social media is and how it works. But I hope that you will adopt the attitude of John Thompson III and understand that social media is a BIG part of our world and a way of life for the student-athletes you are responsible for fostering. Be like Kevin Willard and set reasonable policies and guidelines which allow the students to utilize these tools, but in appropriate ways and at appropriate times, with a desire to build good old fashion personalities and communication skills.
Be like Jim Christian and take a positive approach to these communication channels and work with your student-athletes to navigate difficult speed bumps so they can survive the experience and learn from their mistakes.
Finally, and most importantly, lead with integrity, like Dave Rice and provide a foundation of trust in your athletes. Encourage them to develop good communication skills, craft good content and use social media for social good. It can be done. Educating and uplifting your students with supportive social media guidelines is absolutely essential in creating the best student-athlete experience. You’ll develop young adults with good character who care about their online profiles and take care to manage their reputation. Well-rounded and socially confident student-athletes better represent the university and are more motivated to be good representatives.
Who do you most identify with in this video? What attitude has your university adopted?
Just as I was preparing this blog post about list functions available on social networks, Facebook announced that it is improving Friend Lists. Great timing! I was actually a bit surprised to read that, according to Mashable, less than 5% of users take advantage of Facebook Lists. I’m a huge advocate of organizing your contacts, and hope that these upgrades will encourage Facebook fanatics to better manage their friends.
Here’s a few methods for creating effective lists so you may better target your messages.
Who are your friends on Facebook? How do you know them? Are they all your high school buds, or do you have some colleagues mixed in there? Any random people that you accepted and don’t have the heart to unfriend?
The promised improvements aim to make a sweeping division between “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances,” which you will have to update manually. This will affect what information appears in your News Feed, with your “Close Friends” more prominently appearing. There is also the reference to “Smart Lists” which will automatically create lists for you according to work, school, family or city. It’s a good start in helping you manage these connections.
Lists are super effective in Facebook, especially because you can maximize your privacy settings and make sure that the information you post is seen only by the people you want to see it.
In my Facebook account, I have people separated by how I know them. So my high school friends are separate from my UCSB pals, people I’ve met on my world travels all fall under their own group as do former colleagues, friends in LA and now San Diego. I even have a “random” list, for people who I felt obligated to add, but who I really don’t want to see all my information and posts.
Taking the time to manage your privacy settings makes it easier to manage who sees your posts. If you have your lists in order, it’s easy to customize your settings, versus adding people one by one for restricted items. Once the improvements are in place, you will be able to easily select who will view your post before you post your status.
The new list features are set to roll out this week. Whether it’s a play to compete with Google+ (which inherently groups together your contacts in Circles) or just a great new set of services, it’s a tool you should take advantage of for more efficient posting.
While I cannot select certain lists to tweet to (wouldn’t that be awesome), I am still diligent about creating lists in Twitter. In my account, these are more likely divided by category or topic. For example: Global News, Marketing, Sports, Travel, etc. What I love about the list function in Twitter is that I can add any feed to a list, but I don’t have to follow them. So most of the Twitter handles on my Global News list… I’m not actually following, I just make a point to check the list feed once or twice a day to see if there is any news worth sharing, or if anything catches my interest. It’s the same with celebrities. I know I won’t get a follow-back, so I just add them to my celebrity list for quick access to the Tweeps I like and care to share news about. Example:
It’s also a good idea to check lists of those you do enjoy following. You can subscribe to their lists if you don’t want to follow every person on it or work to put together entire list of your own. I’ve attached a screenshot of @DiscoverSD (a great resources to find out anything and everything about San Diego!). You can see the drop down menu of lists Michelle has created. For example, “San Diego Events.”
When I click on this list, I can either view the recent tweets of folks on this list, or see all of the accounts followed. You can see the “Follow this List” button, which you can click and add to your own lists in your account.
I also find that I peruse my lists often looking for new people to follow. I tend to find more relative Tweeps and people who have similar interests or offer great information. This manner is often more on point than the people Twitter suggests.
One more function in the Twitter lists – You can make your list public or keep it private. If you’ve collected leads or hot contacts all in one list, that might be something you don’t want to share with everyone else. But perhaps your favorite charities, news sources or celebrities…that’s something fun to share and can possibly increase your influence online.
The opportunity to create lists on Hootsuite, if this is your chosen dashboard, also exists. You can either create lists from scratch or import from Twitter. Importing from Facebook is not available at this time. Importing your Twitter lists could not be easier. Here’s a link direct from Hootsuite: http://help.hootsuite.com/entries/115076-how-to-import-twitter-lists-to-hootsuite. I love that I can see these feeds right in my dashboard and do not have to leave the application to check out the updates. Super convenient when traveling. I’m sure TweetDeck and other management tools have similar functions.
I hope you use this this quick overview to help kick start the organization of your contacts. Lists can prove to be a powerful tool in managing your social networks. It may take a little effort up front, but once you have it sorted out, it’s easy to maintain and should prove to be helpful as the various platforms release new versions and more methods to engage with your audience.
Once of the best aspects of participating in social networks is that you meet some very interesting people and can learn a little something every day. Yesterday, I even participated in a Guinness World Record.
A few hours before the event, I received a reminder e-mail for a webinar on the Science of Social Media, sponsored by HubSpot. I follow HubSpot online and enjoy reading the e-mails which frequently land in my inbox. I’ve found them to be a good resource for news, tips and information about all sorts of online marketing and social network usage.
What made this one little webinar extraordinary was the level of participation. Over 30,000 people were online as students of this seminar. That’s the biggest webinar in the world to-date. Dan Zarrella, Social Scientist was the lecturer for the day. And on top of gaining bragging rights that I was a part of a historical event, I did end the hour with a few key takeaways.
1. MYTH – Ideas spread because they’re good.
The reality is that information spreads in an information void. Some bad ideas are spread across the web because there is simply nothing else out there of value or interest. Timing and luck have a bit to do with how wildly popular your message becomes.
2. MYTH – “Engaging in the Conversation” is the most important thing on social media.
“Publishing interesting content works,” says Zarrella. Simply conversing online doesn’t increase your value. Sharing pertinent information with critical timing (information void) does. This was followed by lots of data correlating tweets with links versus tweets without. Essentially, people who tweet lots of links have more followers, and therefore are perceived as more valuable.
While I can understand this argument, I do believe I believe that interesting content can be presented in a conversational tone and will land well with followers. Who wants to follow a news-only feed? I believe that building your personal brand online requires a personality. Engaging in conversation may not lend me more followers or be valuable to those who are already my friends, but it does show that I’m human and I play well with others.
3. MYTH – Don’t call yourself a guru.
The premise for this is that no one really wants to hear you exclaim that you are so wonderful and knowledgeable and fabulous. Where’s the humility? But research has shown that by including the words – official, founder, speaker, expert, guru, author – warrant above average followings. While that does not mean that I am going to list myself as a marketing maven in my bio anytime soon, it does encourage me to speak with authority. I do know what I’m doing, gosh darn it.
Understanding What Works and Why
A good chunk of the seminar discussed Zarrella’s upside down pyramid with the top-to-bottom listed words EXPOSURE, ATTENTION, MOTIVATION.
EXPOSURE refers to the amount of reach you have, your followers, likes , etc. Higher exposure is of course related to the likelihood that people will be exposed to your ideas and information. Increasing your exposure can be done by posting more interesting content. It can also be achieved by talking less about yourself. Data showed that the more you talk about yourself and the heavier the @ sign appeared in Tweets, the less followers one has. Again, content is king. And you, my dear, are not considered good content.
Gaining the ATTENTION of your followers is one of the more tricky aspects of social media. We have so much information coming at us on a daily basis, and have to quickly decipher what’s valuable and not. Research shows that those who update too frequently are tuned out by their audiences. Timing is everything, essentially. It would appear that people who update on a regular and consistent basis, like once per hour, are taken more seriously than those who tweet more than even five times in an hour, for example.
If you want to see what works best for your audience, then you have to play around a bit and document your best CTRs, most retweets, etc. Maybe your followers better receive information at 9:00pm when the kids have gone to bed. Perhaps frequent weekend updates will serve you better. You have to put in some effort to find what is best for your followers…that is who you want to reach, right?
Your performance and reputation have an effect on the MOTIVATION of your followers to share your content. How well you’ve grabbed their attention, the timing of your update, and how many others have already shared your information all play into how motivated your fan might be to share knowledge. While we cannot control who is the first to tweet that article or who clicks the first LIKE button, being the first is a motivation for some users to retweet and share links.
Increasing motivation is relative to HOW you speak to your followers. The KISS formula applies here. Keep it simple. Less adjective and adverbs and a healthy dose of nouns and verbs in your updates are better received, perceived as more valuable and help you look like an authority on the topic. Kindness counts too. Overly critical or mean-spirited comments will not fair well for you. We even discussed that the comment “Please Retweet” gains better results than “Please RT.” A polite call to action does work.
In addition to my notes above, it was clear to me that social media and the vast amount of online platforms are constantly evolving. It’s significant to check into these types of programs every so often so that we take time to listen to people who make a living by monitoring trends online. These notes will help me better plan my content, and has provided some great insight as to behavior and reaction online. I also managed to gain a few new Twitter followers in the process. I was thanking a few people for retweeting content I expressed during the seminar, which led to following each other. One reason I’m not willing to give up the conversational aspect of my stream.
You can follow Dan Zarrella on Twitter @DanZarrella
If you do watch the seminar, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and learn what takeaways you have from the program.
“It’s kind of like when a dad takes his kid to the candy shop,” he explained. “You’re outside the candy shop, you’re looking at the candy, but you’re not allowed to go in and get the candy. And then your dad just turns around and takes you home. That’s exactly what being a Chargers fan is like.”
That’s how Oak Park/San Diego Coutny’s Lee Norman explains the psychology of being a Charger fan and Super Bowl dreams. (ARTICLE) As a life-long Charger fan myself, I think that’s pretty sad.
I was a disappointed to see the promotions for FanFest 2011. Only kids ages 6 -1 4 were allowed on the field, and only the first 2000 with wrist bands. The Chargers sited safety as a reason they have strict rules in place. Each kid was allowed only one personal item to sign. So if you had a Philip Rivers jersey, you either got his signature only or sacrificed your jersey to get autographs from more than one player. Since it was kids-only on the field, there were no doting parents taking pictures with the family. The Chargers tweeted that there were other open practices to attend, if adults wanted to get autographs.
It was pictures like this one from the event, which made me scratch my head. Players sitting at a table…a barrier between them and their fans.
I treasure the days when players hung out after a pre-season open practice and talked to us kids (and parents), told stories, took pictures and signed autographs. We didn’t have scheduled FanFest’s in the early 80’s, but we didn’t need them…the players were available and able to interact freely with fans, no rules, no wristbands, no limits on personal items brought to sign. I have the memory of shaking Dan Fouts’ hand, kissing Rolf Benirschke on the cheek and taking pictures with the likes of Kellen Winslow – more valuable to me than anything I have that was signed.
Running a business focused on marketing and branding makes me look at events and programs differently. Things have changed a lot since I was a pre-teen and along with the events, marketing efforts and PR methods have changed dramatically. I wanted to see more updates by players individually, a flurry of posts and tweets during the event and connecting digitally with the fans. Contests, games and prizes are an easy way to incentivize fans and help make those who couldn’t attend the event feel like they were there.
I can appreciate that Charger’s FanFest 2011 may have come together quickly due to NFL lock-outs, but believe my Chargers can be ground breakers and standard setters, even with short notice. Fans just want a moment to linger in the candy store and a leave with good taste to savor. FanFest is the perfect opportunity for a sugar rush.
Did you go to FanFest 2011? What are your thoughts? What would have given the day a more personal touch?
You can catch a few photos and videos of FanFest on the Charger website: http://www.chargers.com/
02/04/2012 – UPDATE: Thought I would see if Cody Decker had changed his Twitter profile recently. Answer is yes. Slightly. No improvements, though!
Anti-Hero baseball player in the San Diego Padres Organization. Rarely wrong, often a jerk, always adorable… Burning bridges since 1987…….
Note to Cody: Anti-heroes and jerks are never adorable. Ever.
10/30/2011 – UPDATE: I just saw a Cody Decker tweet and was pleased to see his bio had been changed. That turned to confusion though. Here’s the latest version:
Baseball player in the San Diego Padres Organization. Rarely wrong, often a jerk, always adorable… Burning bridges since 1987…….
Not quite the direction you should be going, dear Cody. Now you identify yourself as a Padre and tell your fans that you are a jerk. Good plan! I’m sure the Padres would be pleased. Oh how I would love to consult this guy on his social media strategy.
Recently, a favorite Tweep recommended to all that we follow @Decker6. The Twitter handle belongs to Cody Decker, a Minor League Baseball player for the parent team, San Diego Padres. I looked at the account and read the profile:
I play baseball sometimes….. I’m awesome all the times…… Burning bridges since 1987
My initial reaction was to correct this young man’s grammar and so I tweeted, “I’m awesome all the TIMES?” He needs twitter coaching! RT @friarhood Make sure u r following #Padres hot prospect Cody Decker – @Decker6
I noticed though, as I looked more through his profile and scanned his tweets, that this up and coming athlete really could use social coaching. It is essential that any athlete, personality or celebrity have a polished approach to their social media strategies. Once you gain that notoriety, and especially when it’s through an organization like the Padres or the UCLA Bruins before that, there is a code of ethics and greater responsibility to be appropriate. With a manner like Cody Decker here, he’s more likely to turn potential fans away then gain any decent number of followers with his “I’m so cool and I don’t care what you think” approach (Time of post he’s at a whopping 243 followers). Who wants to follow someone who thinks they are soooo awesome and who admits to burning bridges his whole life? It sets the stage for lack of conversation, lack of engagement, a lack of the foundation that makes social media successful. One could never expect to have a meaningful exchange with @Decker6 because it’s all about him.
Not only is this approach to the Twitterverse bad for him, but it reflects poorly on the Padres that they would employ such a brazen young player who sports a seriously bad attitude. That’s what makes @Decker6 and other sports figures ripe for social coaching. I’d love to provide the Padres a social media seminar to help them understand how best to harness the power of social media for good causes, to raise awareness for their sport, their community and favorite charities. I’d love to teach them how to engage their fans, solidify their following and gain new loyal fans. Sure, personal posts can showcase an individual’s personality, but with a positive spin. I’m amazed that the Padres wouldn’t put a short leash on this guy and tell him to change his Twitter game.
Beaming Bohemian is happy to sit down with you one-on-one and provide social coaching to help you better understand how to maximize your social media accounts. There is more out there than just Twitter and Facebook, plenty of other platforms which are just as handy, mobile-friendly and gaining in popularity. Contact me to set up your social coaching session. In the meantime, I’m knocking on the Padres door to see if we can’t arrange a coaching session of a different kind!