How big of a role does Social Media play in college football recruiting?
Just about every top prospect is on either Facebook, Twitter or both.
We asked some of the nation’s top coaches how big of a role does Social Media play in their current recruiting efforts:
Virginia’s Mike London: “I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and you name it. We’re Skyping and doing all those things. If it’s allowable by the NCAA, then you can use every Social Network means necessary to get your messages across … You will find out more about guys on Facebook and Twitter sometimes than you will having a 10-minute conversation with them because a lot of times they will let their guard down and show a side maybe you haven’t thought about before. Social Media networks are now something that are very prevalent in recruiting.”
Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher: “I think it’s huge in recruiting. It all is. Whether or not you like Social Media, it’s here to stay. And it’s something you have to deal with, and learn to adapt to.”
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer: “Recruiting is about relationships and communications — and [Social Media] is a big part of it right now. I think it’s huge. I don’t do a big part of it myself but my staff does a lot of it. We’ve very involved in all that stuff.”
Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin: “It’s a pretty big deal. I’ve been on Twitter for a long time. For me, it’s an ability to deliver a message, to get information out about our program not only to recruits but our fan base and alumni. The price is right, too. It’s instantaneous … We utilize Twitter as more as an informational guide to update fans, prospects and our alumni base on videos, upcoming events and news items. I think Facebook is more of a communicative tool than Twitter [with recruits].”
Vanderbilt’s James Franklin: “The society we live in now, how kids are growing up, [Social Media] is a huge part of their lives. It’s a huge part of what they do and how they communicate. So we embrace it. It’s a part of what we’re going to do here. It’s another way to sell your product and see what you have to offer. It’s another way to build relationships and get to know people. You can learn a lot about kids by going onto their Facebook accounts and following them on Twitter. It’s just another source of information for us.”
North Carolina’s Larry Fedora: “I think it’s huge now in recruiting, I really do. If you’re not using it, then you’re falling behind every day. Because it’s a way to stay in contact with kids. Both of those, Facebook and Twitter, go to their phones so you’re able to communicate with them legally. If you’re not doing that in recruiting, you’re way behind the curb.”
Missouri’s Gary Pinkel: “I think it’s become pretty big, as far as communication [with prospects]. There are certain things you’re allowed to do within the rules. You’re not allowed to text but you can certainly Facebook, email, Twitter and things like that. Those things are legal. From a communications standpoint, it’s big. Not just from the standpoint of the University of Missouri but for anybody. It certainly gives coaches and student-athletes more opportunities to talk to one another.”
What do we think? If you’re a college coach without an active presence on Social Media, you’re falling behind with your recruiting efforts. If just about every top prospect is on Facebook or Twitter, you should be on there, too.
For our readers who are not on Twitter and Facebook, why it is so important for a coach to be on there? To communicate with prospects via email messages, to monitor the recruits’ behavior and accomplishments, and to promote your program. Even though a coach cannot “publicly” communicate with a prospect on either media platform due to the NCAA, the coach can say positive things about his team, athletic department or life in general – that can be seen by prospects that are following the coach on Facebook or Twitter. It’s free exposure.
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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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