Social Media for Basketball Coaches: How Each Platform is Different
All men are created equal, but not all platforms are created equal. Both adults and youth not only see each platform differently, they use each platform differently. And you know this to be true. On Facebook, people typically use it for personal reasons: keeping up with family and old friends. Twitter, on the other hand, is a great tool for following recruits. Instagram is a platform for motivation and inspiration. YouTube is video.
If you don’t know Tim Elmore and his organization, Growing Leaders, you need to. Growing leaders is a world-leading organization that helps young adults thrive. I highly suggest his books for the purpose of helping you become a better coach. Mike Neighbors, current head coach at the University of Arkansas, got me connected with his work.
In a recent article titled “How Your Students Utilize Social Media”, Tim Elmore explains how students/youth today use each platform differently. If coaches and basketball programs are to best learn how to leverage social platforms for the benefit of their program, it’d be useful to know what people, and in this particular case young people/recruits, are looking for online. All the quotes in the following paragraphs come from Tim’s blog.
“For most students, Facebook is an information hub”. Facebook for a college basketball program is going to be most relevant with parents and general fans. The content a team or individual posts on Facebook should primarily be geared towards media parents will consume and
engage with. Nonetheless, “students use [Facebook] just to see what other people are talking about.” In a perfect world, people are talking about your team!
“Students use this for raw, real and personal up-to-date posts”. This is the platform most old people have trouble relating with. My elders, whom I love, often mention they don’t care about social media because they don’t care what other people are eating. Well,
unfortunately for them, Snapchat is currently the platform for that kind of content. Not that it needs to be exclusively personal daily activities, but that is a good start, in addition to posting basketball related content.
“This is where students go to get inspired.” Instagram, twitter, and snapchat are the best platforms to interact with recruits. That doesn’t mean a direct conversation, but it does mean them coming across your posts. Instagram is the prime platform today to post an inspiring workout video of your team, a segment of a pre-game speech, a video about a player’s personal testimony of overcoming obstacles in life, or any moment in your team’s average day that might be inspirational.
“Students use this for real-time updates- to vent or to brag.” Many programs do a good job at this. They use twitter to share live updates of their games. Players tweet their offers and highlight vids.
“Students use this for entertainment and to gauge popularity.” I spoke with a kid the other day who, if all works out, will be a phenomenal player. 6’5” 250 as a freshmen with great touch and incredible feet, from Florida. He was talking to me about how he wants to get more mix tapes online. Whether you support or that or
not, that comment is an important indicator as to what these kids are interested in and what they enjoy. They love those highlight tapes and I know current college players do as well. Consider subscribing to the YouTube channels of recruits who have them! Post mixtapes and highlights of your players. If they are high quality, they can be very effective for recruiting purposes. Send a recruit mixtapes of some of your top players from the previous seasons and show how much excitement there is when playing for your team!
Podcasts (Or simply “Audio”) are wildly popular these days, especially for commuting, exercising, or lawn-mowing adults. In other words, adults especially love to listen to podcasts while performing another task. Multitasking. Podcasts removes one attention from a menial task and sets it on an interesting
conversation. In my opinion, a podcast could be a great supplement for your regular conversations with parents. For example, let’s say your program records a podcast of former players and they all speak highly of your program. You could take that episode and text it out to parents. It’s be a helpful “pitch”.
College basketball programs can and should benefit greatly from podcasts. Coaches have countless basketball stories they could record and share. Players can be interviewed and give the fans an idea of who and what kind of players are at your school. Post game press conferences can be shared on your team’s podcast for people to go back and easily re-listen to. Coaches can give a public update on the progress of a team in the summer. Motivational lessons can be shared. Celebrities can be brought onto the podcast (associating your program with successful celebrities gains your program attention and credibility). What else can be on a podcast? The ideas are endless. As long as a podcast episode brings value to the listeners, it’s a success.
This article is an excerpt from Mason Waters’s 2017 book College Basketball Programs and Social Media.