What goes online, stays online
Social Media is everywhere, including youth sports. It can work wonders growing your league but it can also endanger your players’ reputations with future employers and recruiters. We want to help you understand the power of Social Media.
US Youth Soccer found nine out of 10 college coaches said their perception of a recruit
has been negatively affected by a social media post.
A growing number of children have their own mobile devices and document their lives through Social Media. Survey reports have shown almost 58% of kids 8-12 years old have their own smartphones. By 13-17 years old, 78% of kids have their own.
Pew Research Center found that 92% of teens report going online daily and that 71% of those teens are using more than one social network site. While most children are innocent in their posting on those sites, they must remember that nothing is truly private once it’s posted online.
“Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship.”
– Brandon Chambers, Former Marymount University Men’s Basketball Coach. @ChambersPVI
Think twice about your social media posts!
Instead of using Facebook to let out your frustration or Twitter to retweet trash talk, it’s more acceptable to share game updates and photos with your teammates. Remember, future coaches, managers, and family members could be seeing what you’re putting online.
What should players post?
- A thank you to supporters
- Words of encouragement to others
- Topics they find interesting (as long as they are appropriate)
- Updates on their personal and athletic progress
Social Media is a way to keep everyone updated throughout the season and stay relevant during the off-season. You can remind your followers of additional summer camps or post pictures from the car wash you held to raise money for new equipment.
Tools like Buffer have figured out how you can be in two places at once! They allow you to queue future posts. This saves time and helps you plan ahead. With this tool, you can magically post a reminder about games when you’re already at the field getting set up or even pre-schedule tryout advertising weeks in advance.
Twitter: While emails and text messages are used to communicate with your parents and volunteers, Twitter can act as a live bulletin board. Here you can tweet about last minute changes, scores, or reminders about upcoming events. It’s a place to celebrate championships and promote fundraisers. These can be seen by anyone who follows you or, if you actively use hashtags, you could potentially get your message out to the world!
Facebook Fan Page: Your fan page is a large, public discussion board. It’s a great place to upload videos and pictures. Everyone is free to join in versus your team pages which can only be updated by those who are part of the team.
Since Facebook is a public forum, it is a direct representation of your organization. An angry coach, confused parent, or frustrated player could post comments on your wall or photos. You want to handle these conversations with care.
★ If a heated conversation erupts, bring it to a more private place like a ‘Direct Message’ or an email. You don’t want an accidental blow-up or misunderstanding to be posted on your wall.
★ Restrict the access given to your Social Media accounts. Anyone with access to post on behalf of your organization is representing your brand.
COACHES OR ADMINS
Volunteering with a youth sports organization can build great bonds between you and your players. They will become more comfortable with you throughout the season, that’s a good thing! You are becoming their mentor and their friend. Make sure there are boundaries to that friendship. Remember how many children have Social Media accounts? They’ll be quick to add you and tag you.
★ That’s why it’s a good idea to use a separate account from your personal one. Believe us, you’ll want the pictures from your spa weekend or son’s 5th birthday to be posting on a separate account from where you are connecting with your players and communicating with future registrants’ parents.
The fast paced nature of Social Media can be overwhelming but the benefits of a positive online reputation are numerous. Players benefit by sharing the growth of their athletic careers, while parents can gain trust in your organization by witnessing the professionalism displayed through their accounts. Organizations benefit by having a controlled presence visible by the community they serve, especially the families interested in registering their children. Social Media is here to stay so make sure you find the best way to reap the benefits!