In a recent interview with UTTV, I was asked what student-athletes should consider when using social media. We only had time to review the top 5 do’s and don’ts for social media, but these tips are pretty essential to being successful online. This advice is suitable for both high school and college athletes, but students in general can find some applicable tips here, too. Let’s start first with what you shouldn’t do.
1. Use foul language, smack talk, gossip or bully.
These actions speak to your character. Is this who you really are? Is this how you want to be remembered? Probably not. Clean it up and have respect for yourself, your teammates and every other player in your sport.
2. Post photos of yourself with alcohol if you are under 21 years old.
Again, you will be seen as a liability. If you are under 21 and drinking, you are breaking the law. Your photo is evidence of this. Posting party photos will do nothing to help you in the long run. You put your parents, teachers and coaches in the position to discipline you.
3. Post personal information like telephone number or address.
A friend of mine told me that his 16 year-old son was so excited when he got his driver’s license, that he posted a picture of his license online. Doh! Identity theft remains a huge problem! Posting your name, address and documents numbers, like your driver’s license, only makes it easier for thieves to target you. Are your parents on vacation? Great! But that’s not something the world needs to know. Don’t post nitty gritty details that welcome problems into your life.
4. Post rap lyrics, racial or sexual comments.
This may be a very cool trend right now, but as coaches, the media, the public and potential employers look at your social behavior, they may or may not understand that what you’ve posted is song lyrics. They may take those words and opinions as yours. A lot of rap lyrics use foul language (see #1) and are racially or sexually explicit. When you post rap lyrics like this, you are connecting yourself with those words and that image. Listen to all the rap music you want, but refrain from quoting the songs on your social accounts. Most of those who look at your posts just aren’t that cool to get it.
5. Friend people you don’t know.
When you friend or follow someone, you associate yourself with them and everything they post and share online. If you don’t know the person, don’t allow them into your circle of friends on Facebook. You can set up the subscribe feature on Facebook so that people you don’t know can enjoy your public posts (see #1 below). Before you follow someone on Twitter, check out what types of tweets they post and make sure they are someone you want to be associated with.
Since Beaming Bohemian promotes positive and purposeful communication, we’ll end with a list of things you should do in social media.
1. Understand the settings, functions & features of the networks you’re on.
If you take the time to do this, you will be better equipped to control the content you share. You can take advantage of certain features to promote yourself, but also to keep other conversations more private. When you understand how each network truly works, you will be more effective in your communication with these tools.
2. Allow your parents to help you.
If you are a high school student, this is a time when you really do want your parents to assist you. Their guidance in your communication style and strategic planning will help you be more successful. And it opens up the conversation in your family about how social media can help you, as well as hurt you if you make mistakes (see #3 above). You can help your parents better understand what networks are available, and your parents can help you network with recruits and with your personal marketing plan. Make this a family project.
3. Take care with who you friend & follow.
Point #5 above touches on this. But in this positive piece of advice, I’d like you to pay more attention to who you friend and follow and be more assertive in your practices. Actively look for people on Twitter that are coaches who you want to meet or people who will boost your profile. Be strict about your friending procedures on Facebook to better protect your account. Build a following and network that will advance your efforts to get noticed by college coaches or hiring managers. It’s nice to be friendly and subscribe to a #teamfollowback concept, but if you have spammers, bots and shady characters following you, you really, really do not want to follow them back. Get comfortable using the “block” and “report spam” features.
4. Make your bio work for you.
It’s a good idea to brand your accounts so that there is a consistent look and presence across all your accounts. Use the same picture for all your accounts. Your bio can work for you if you let it. For example, if you are a high school student-athlete, try posting, “Junior at Valhalla High School. Second baseman looking to play for a DII school out of state.” If you are in college, try, “Third year at UCSB, playing water polo and studying Communications. Can’t wait to work for Google.” You get the idea. Let people know who you are, but also how they might help you network. Both of these examples are far more effective than others I’ve found:
Ballin’ is a habit
Baconators & tea. Tie dye & toboggans, I give a thumbs up. Pure momma’s boy. Up is my favorite movie. I enjoy back dimples.
Put the wind in win some, lose some; the star in starting over.
5. Have a plan for posting photos and news for public view.
In a nutshell, be strategic. You need to think in the long term and how you can use these social communication tools to get you into the college you’d like, to build your professional profile and to get you hired after college. All trends point toward college coaches and recruits using social networks as part of their recruitment process. If you are fighting for a spot on the team, matched up against another with equal talent and skill, your online profile will come into play. What will it say about you? When the hiring manager looks for you online after they’ve reviewed your application (3 out of 4 hiring managers do), what will they find? If you’ve taken the time to build your personal brand, to plan out some content and strategize your communications, athletic and employment recruiters will quickly understand that your are a quality candidate and that you care about your online profile. Your professionalism will be noted.
Ultimately, it is never too early for social media users to get in good habits. If you are going to participate online, think in the positive and have a purpose. You can use social media to aimlessly converse and chit chat, or you can gain a competitive edge and make these tools work in your favor. I hope you’ll be proactive and take the time to communicate well.
You’ve all read by now that California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed the SB 1349 bill, which prohibits public and private universities from requiring students or prospective students to disclose their user names or passwords to social-media sites. The governor’s office says the law “is designed to stop a growing trend of colleges and universities snooping into student social-media accounts, particularly those of student-athletes.”
This is terrific news. What a wonderful way to urge athletic departments to take a pro-active approach to social media. It changes the department strategy from monitoring what student-athletes say to educating student-athletes how to use social media in a positive and purposeful way. It takes the program from crisis prevention mode to leadership academy.
Athletic programs which provide student-athletes with social media education, are working to improve their players’ communication skills. This type of education can help athletes understand how to build their professional profile, act with self-respect and encourages them to cross-promote other sports, and be positive examples, leaders in social media. It is very much like media training and preparing them for print and television interviews. But social media has a much more immediate and expansive impact than traditional media. Social media permeates every aspect of a student-athlete’s life.
Empowering student-athletes, as well as coaches and staff, to serve as brand ambassadors will have a far more positive impact on loyalty to the department, willingness to achieve specific goals and will produce a much higher ROI. Educating the entire department can effect not only what staff, coaches and athletes say, but when implemented with strategy, can impact ticket sales, community outreach, donor cultivation and improve recruitment efforts. No matter what goal a department may have, communication strategies, which integrate social media, can work to achieve those goals. Monitoring social media does not drive revenue. Enabling staff, coaches and athletes to embrace social media and actively use these networks, uplifting them as brand ambassadors will drive revenue where needed.
It was former student-athlete and Michigan quarterback, Kirk Cousins, who said at the NCAA Convention in January 2012, that the more support they were provided as student-athletes, the more they wanted to give back to the program. And that’s key. Many athletic programs forget that their student-athletes really want to serve as good representatives of the university and are searching for ways they can respond to that demand. When you choose to monitor your athlete communication, your are essentially telling them that you do not trust them and they are not capable of handling the responsibility of representing the university. That’s not a message well-received by students. And fortunately, it’s not a message they will have to hear any longer.
I’m thankful that California stepped up as a leader on this topic and passed the SB 1349 bill. There is no benefit to operating in a reactive mode and positioning your department as big brother over student-athletes. These “kids” are young adults who are attending an academic institution and are keen to learn how to improve their lives. Athletic programs can serve to enhance the academic experience student-athletes enjoy by providing social media education. These are life and leadership skills that effectively make them a better, more well-rounded player and more able to contribute significantly to the athletic program.
Beaming Bohemian consults with university athletic departments to establish social media guidelines, educate staff, coaches and student-athletes, and implement smart communication strategies which work to achieve specific goals. Every athletic department is looking to drive revenue. Beaming Bohemian can help you take advantage of social communication tools to do just that. Contact us at 619.244.2400.
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.
Membership Recruitment: A Strong Brand Identity Recruits the Right Members
This article originally was written for and published in the Club Membership and Marketing Magazine, an online resource for Private Club professionals. The article appears in full below, as the magazine is subscription only. The Magazine is a resource provided by PCMA, the Professional Club Marketing Association.
In a world that has gone almost completely digital, it is easy to get caught in the online current of promoting your Club through various social channels. It’s a natural tendency to advertise the Club’s events, golf tournaments and membership programs, to show the public how great it is to be a Member at your Club. Without doubt, Private Club Membership is rewarding on many levels. However, before you post another status update, craft that 140 character tweet, or share another photo, take a few steps to make sure you are recruiting the right Members for your Club.
Review your Club’s core values
Every Club most likely has a vision or a mission statement somewhere. Perhaps it’s written on a plaque which hangs in the library or it may be collecting dust within the founding documents box. Where ever that may be, it is time to find it and read it. Your Club’s vision is based on the core values of your Club’s brand. It’s a good idea to discover what those are, too. If you haven’t reviewed the Club’s core values and vision in a while, then it is time for a re-education. This is the heart of your brand. This is the foundation for all of your communications. And the Members you want to attract should connect with those core values. The Club’s values are the most significant component of your brand identity. Your Membership is the embodiment of your brand identity.
Take a temperature on your Club Culture
Is your Club culture in-line with the core values of the Club? If your programming has fallen a bit out of touch with the vision of the Club, then work with the executive team to get it back on track. Determine what events best promote the vision of the Club. Tweak some of the less successful events to better represent your values. For example, if your Club is founded upon being a family-friendly retreat and you have very few kid-friendly events, they you may want to add activities that kids will love to the appropriate festivities.
Be a good listener
Most of a Club’s advertising and promotions tend to be all about the Club and what the executive team wants or needs to push. But let’s change that focus to be more about what Members and prospective Members want and need to hear. Do your programs truly add value to their life? In what way? Does it offer a solution? Make their life easier? These are some things to consider. Your brand messaging should definitely be infused with your core values, but it should also address your Members’ core concerns. Online, it’s easier than ever to understand what people want. They talk all the time! This is a key step in finding prospective Members who have a need for your Club. Listening to what people want, need and are concerned about will help you reach out to them with all the great answers wrapped up in a Membership at your Club. Spend more time listening online to discover who is a match for your Membership.
Choose the right channels
While you might love posting every event and program to Facebook, your Members and prospects may be checking their LinkedIn profiles three times a day and Facebook only three times per week. Part of listening is also learning where your Members are living online. You will better connect with your audience if you find them, versus them having to search for you. Learn and understand your Members’ social habits to better promote your Club culture and find new Members who are a good fit.
When you and the staff are living and breathing the Club’s core values, you’ll find the culture warmly reflects this vision, the Members embody it and that your communications reach prospects who want and need what you offer because you address their core concerns. This is the strong brand identity that will recruit the right Members for your Club…and keep them.
Shanna’s private club experience includes an award winning role as Member Relations Director at City Club on Bunker Hill, a ClubCorp Club in downtown Los Angeles, California. Shanna is pleased to be presenting Private Club IPO: Go Public With Your Club Culture at the PCMA Convention in Las Vegas on September 25th, 2012.
Perhaps you’ve noticed something missing from your LinkedIn news feed? That would be tweets. Twitter announced recently that they are changing their policies as to how tweets appear in third party applications, and therefore cut the link to LinkedIn. If you want to post to both LinkedIn and Twitter simultaneously, you can begin your post in LinkedIn and check the little box next to the bird. That will send the post to Twitter, too. If you want tweet-like posts to appear in LinkedIn, you can use a social media manager like Hootsuite and post status updates or content to Twitter and LinkedIn and the same time – Facebook too, if you desire!
It’s clear though that few people have taken an interest in posting news to LinkedIn. What I’ve noticed since the breakup is that most people have not made an effort to make up for the lack of tweets. Take a look, right now, at your LinkedIn Home Page. Do you notice anything? Is anyone posting news? Or do you see mostly the regular updates like “Betty Smith is now connected to Bob Johnson,” or “Sam Jones changed her profile.” Yeeowza! Those updates are boring!
Now that tweets will not appear in the LinkedIn news feed, opportunists should develop new strategies for how we use and post to LinkedIn. What bits of news and information do you want to share with your connections? Will you be seen as helpful? Can you position yourself as an expert on a particular topic? Will your connections be able to say, “Wow, that Johnny sure posts some valuable news and insights.” The point being, that’s exactly what people should say about you. If you want people to notice you on LinkedIn, you have to initiate the conversation. You have to keep appearing in the news feed with helpful, useful content and information that benefits your connections. Check in with your LinkedIn account, decide what posts will resonate with your audience and start making our news feeds a lot more interesting than, “Jane Doe joined the group, People Named Jane.”
Side note: Sprout Social recently shared an article on adding video to your profile. One more way to set you apart from everyone else!
This is really cool. The Chicago Cubs have really embraced social media. On the 16th, they hosted their first “Social Media Night.” The event included a panel discussion and attendees were given a swag bag. A favorite item listed is the social baseball cards, special cards with Twitter handles.
The standout point in this article was what Public Relations and Marketing Specialist Kevin Saghy shared:
He also articulated the five point plan for how the Chicago Cubs use social media:
1. Deliver the core values of the Cubs
2. Get to know their key influencers
3. Listening and engaging
4. Offer something of real value to the fans
5. Financial benefit
Take another look at the first point – Deliver the core values of the Cubs. BINGO! That’s what successful brands do on a consistent basis. And notice how the last point listed was financial benefit. The Chicago Cubs have their act together. It will be fun to follow them and see how fans respond to the Social Media nights and continued opportunities for engagement.
Here’s the link to the article or you can read the full post here:
Chicago Cubs social media strategy articulated on social media night
By Paul M. Banks, Friday at 8:28 am
On Wednesday May 16th the Chicago Cubs hosted their inaugural Social Media Night. Fans who purchased tickets were invited to a pregame social media panel at Wrigley Field’s Captain Morgan Club. And by social media, we obviously mean the discussion was Twitter heavy.
The panel consisted of Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould (@RobbieGould09), (more on his night here) Cubs.com writer Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) and Cubs Public Relations and Marketing Specialist Kevin Saghy (@Cubs).
Each person was given a swag bag that included a Cubs “social media” t-shirt, a copy of Vine Line magazine, a teeny foam finger, a voucher for a hot dog and a multi-card set of Cubs “Social Media Series” baseball cards featuring Cub players that are on Twitter.
“We looked at a lot of other teams, what they do and how we could differentiate themselves. We wanted to do something really interactive, then do you a unique giveaway” Saghy said.
“That’s where the baseball cards came in. I’ve never seen a professional baseball team do the social media themed baseball cards. Our ticket office came up with that idea, and as a kicker we got a lot of them autographed. So everyone that came here today actually got an autographed card.”
Mine was Ian Stewart.
“It just kind of ties into our theme of we want to provide value for following us, we really do care about fans and it’s something that we take very seriously, and hopefully we were able to portray that today.”
Kevin said that he and his team read every single tweet and message they receive through Twitter, and they often respond.
1. Deliver the core values of the Cubs
2. Get to know their key influencers
3. Listening and engaging
4. Offer something of real value to the fans
5. Financial benefit
Carrie Muskat approaches social media from a professional, not a personal perspective as she’s a reporter for the Cubs and an employee of MLB. She said her main uses for Twitter are sharing team news and stories, following other Cubs reporters and blogs to get the latest team/player news and following current players who tweet. Her tweets appear on Cubs.com.
“Twitter has totally changed our jobs cuz it’s 24-7 now. Paul Maholm announced his signing on Twitter,” Muskat said.
The Cubs have seen increased Twitter volume since merging from @cubsinsider to @cubs.
“We reply to everything that we can, and we have a monitoring dashboard where we’ll able to summarize, qualitatively and quantitatively tweets and we can then we can go to our management team and say this event was really popular, or say this is the number of tweets we got for this campaign versus other campaigns,” said Saghy.
“We’re just getting much more sophisticated in our measurements basically.”
September 17th versus is the next Cubs Social Media night. A contest will be held, and one follower from the next event will get the chance to throw out the first pitch before that game.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.
Running through my various lists of San Diego Sports Tweeps today, I came across this tweet from Bill Johnston, the PR Director for the San Diego Chargers.
Saying there's pressure on team to have great draft seems ridiculous considering we won't know results until year(s) down the road.
— Bill Johnston (@ChargersPRguy) April 25, 2012
I was a little surprised to see the PR Director tweet something so negative. Ridiculous? How is pressure for a great draft ridiculous? Or is it the fans who are ridiculous for putting the pressure on the team? I felt compelled to point this out to him. You can see here my response and his “save.”
— Shanna Bright (@shannabright) April 25, 2012
@shannabright Agree. Love it when people care. Just wanna WIN.
— Bill Johnston (@ChargersPRguy) April 25, 2012
This is a really great example of someone not taking that one extra moment to re-read a tweet before hitting the send button. With 6281+ followers, I suspect there are a few Chargers fans in the mix. Would Bill’s tweet have made a more positive impact had he posed a question?
“Who are you hoping the Chargers pick up in the NFL draft?”
Or could he have shed some light on the secret wishes of the players?
“The buzz in the locker room is that so-and-so is high on the wish list.”
To keep the communications in the positive zone, I responded with:
@ChargersPRguy We wanna WIN too! Do we know who fans are hoping for the most? What about the players? Very excited for the draft!
— Shanna Bright (@shannabright) April 25, 2012
Main point being, there was a good chance to engage fans and let them have a say, take a moment to interact. The comment/opinion from the PR Director only sets a stage for negative replies, as some might interpret him calling the fans ridiculous.
I’m all for being human and authentic, and certainly feel that even frustrations can be creatively vented online with a dash of humor and an open invite to comment. When you are a public figure, or sit in a position like the PR Director for a professional sports team, you really must remember that every time you post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or elsewhere, you really have to give second thought to how your post will resonate with your audience. For someone in Bill’s position, he should be able to turn what seems like a personal frustration into a positive interaction with Chargers fans. Furthermore, and no less significant, when the PR Director for a sports team sends tweets out a bit haphazardly, what kind of example does that set for the players and FO staff?
How do you think Bill should have tweeted his pressure-filled comment? What examples have you seen where a negative sentiment or frustrating situation is turned into a positive moment where fans feel included? Thanks for sharing your links in the comments!