The Power of a Positive Digital Presence for Athletes

January 25, 2016

College athletic directors are using social media to gain a multidimensional view of candidates for their programs, according to Cornerstone Reputation, an educational company committed to helping students manage their digital footprints.

A 2015 survey of 600 college coaching staffs by Cornerstone Reputation revealed that 83% percent of those surveyed conducted online research of recruits during the 2013-2014 recruitment season. Gone are the days when athletic staffs merely used the internet to research player statistics. The survey’s results indicate that colleges are painting a full picture of a prospective candidate based on their digital footprint.

Students athletes are encouraged to ensure that their social media presence features their outstanding accomplishments, rather than propagating information that could leave a negative impression.

According to 66 percent of coaches, postings about non-athletic achievements, like academics and community service, leave a positive impression. Coaches want to know that their recruits will be able to succeed in their classes as well as in their sports, as it reflects well on their programs.

The next most important material which could positively affect recruits relates directly to athletics. Mention of good play in one’s respective sport and athletic achievements, according to over half of the college coaches, can help a recruit’s prospects. Just under half of the coaches also agreed that press coverage or a well-made highlight film could also positively influence their impression of a recruit.

Cornerstone’s advice to students interested in leveraging their online presence to a positive advantage includes the following:

  • Rather than hiding online, seek to be easily discoverable by recruiters and endeavor to highlight how great they are in everyday life.
  • Take advantage of the fact that coaches are researching athletes on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Use these sites to feature your accomplishments.
  • Create a LinkedIn page that you can grow over time to feature your athletic records, academic awards, and community service.
  • Ensure that your posts have a purpose when deciding to reveal them to a wider audience.
  • Manage your social media settings, so that you can review peer comments on your posts prior to their publication.

Cornerstone Reputation encourages students to use social media to present a discoverable and authentic version of themselves to the greater athletic community.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Written by

Jennifer Schwartz

Jennifer manages marketing and social media on behalf of Cornerstone Reputation, an educational company committed to empowering students to understand the impact of their online presence. Through tools and expert knowledge, Cornerstone ensures that the time students spend online contributes to a positive reputation in today's digitally interconnected world. She has deep roots in Texas. She studied at Texas A&M University, The Bush School of Government and Public Service, and Georgetown University.