New sports seasons are almost upon us and with that, it’s time to start training. Not on the field or court this time, but on smartphones.
We live in an era in which 64% all American adults own handsets that people use for most everything except talk, so it seems. Many of them will leave their playbooks at home before they forget to grab their phones. They take their electronic devices with them everywhere they go (and we mean everywhere).
Since social media became a staple in society, we’ve posted warnings about how inappropriate posts may be detrimental to teams and personnel. Despite our calls for education and contemplation before you hit “send,” there have been athletes, coaches, politicians and CEOs that have had to apologize or even step down for posting something that they regret.
So before you sprint into the heat of practice, we hope that you set aside some time to educate, demonstrate, warn and educate your athletes some more about positive and negative ways to use social media for sports. You may want to discuss this with and empower your sports information and public relations personnel, hire an outside social media expert or take it upon yourself if you’re in the know. As a leader, you know that when you teach with a mission (a sense of humor helps), people will listen. Even young ones.
Why you should care
Social media posts, smart or stupid, reflect upon YOU and your organization. The chances of your athletes’ posts being the former rise exponentially when they repeatedly hear messages that resonate with them about responsible use.
Poor posts will cost you money
Do outside businesses support your organization? Do they purchase sponsorships and put their names on merchandise? We thought so.
Social media posts that spotlight inappropriate content are quick tickets to losing that backing. Supporters’ trust will fade, and companies will question whether they want to do business with you if your team publishes tasteless comments and visuals.
You’re a teacher
Regardless of competition level or position within your sports organization, you hold a leadership role. You already teach fitness, conditioning and league rules. Include media training that is bolstered by constant and dedicated time to social media. Make it an ongoing drill throughout the season.
You say you care about each athlete. Prove it.
Why would you want to hang your players out to fly in an uncertain social media wind? It’s true that they grow by making their own mistakes, but like a parent, you want your team to succeed with the best information and guidance possible. Give them every opportunity to succeed with consistent and responsible social media guidance.
Coming up next, a cheat sheet for you to share with your athletes. In the mean time, if you want some of the outsourced, experienced sports social media coaching I describe above, please contact me at email@example.com.