Creating effective recruiting content for social.
These days, users on social platforms already get enough salesy content through targeted advertising.
Hard-selling on social media doesn’t work.
These days, users on social platforms already get enough salesy content through targeted advertising. While this can be effective (even for athletic programs!), it shifts the narrative for regular content. Those who see selling on social media through organic content are less likely to engage that brand moving forward. In fact, 51% of users said that they would unfollow a brand exhibiting irritating behavior.
Everything you post must be targeted and relevant to recruits, otherwise you risk losing them.
I’ll say that again.
If your social media efforts are vague, random, or inconsistent, you are flat-out losing recruits to another program.
So much of what teams post on social media is informational.
This is important because the world wants to know when your program does well or when an athlete makes the All-Academic team. If it’s all informational though, you’re missing a massive opportunity to deliver the content that increases connection and trust with your audience.
If establishing a relationship with prospective student-athletes is one of the more important goals for your social media platforms, creating aspirational content should be the highest priority content that you create.
Aspirational content is what drives emotional decision-making in recruits. It’s less about what we’ve done and more about who we are. It shifts the focus from, “this coach is a winning coach” (head decision) to “this is a coach I’d like to play for” (heart decision).
Aspirational content is not salesy. You can deliver content without saying “This is THE BEST program in the country.” And it’ll be more authentic when you give an accurate assessment of where you’re at because community is built with authenticity.
Examples of aspirational content include:
An athlete sharing how they got to your school.
Your athletes having fun at practice.
Happy photos at graduation (without selling graduation rates or what a degree will do for a PSA).
In short, if the content produced helps a recruit dream of a future with you in it, you’re on the right track.
Take an audit of your team’s Instagram account.
What’s the percentage of content that is informational? How much content is aspirational (or telling the story of why a recruit needs to be here)? If more than 50% of your content is informational, it’s time for a reset.
If that’s you, don’t worry about a content strategy switchup. Simply begin by asking your athletes two questions:
What drew you to our program/school?
What would you like to see on our social media account?
Their ideas will be in greater alignment with what prospective student-athletes are looking for… and it’s probably not more game recaps!
Reach out to our team at Preseason if you need any help – and good luck on the recruiting trail.
This article is the eighth in a series on athletics branding. Jayson Schmidt is a former NCAA Division II head coach and managing partner of Preseason, a creative agency that helps colleges win.
Struggling with your brand or just simply want an edge on the competition? Preseason can elevate your story and deliver it to recruits, fans, and donors.