We surveyed college coaches and recruiters to learn how you can max out your social media game.

When used correctly, social media is one of your greatest assets. It’s the ultimate way to show off your skills to the masses, most importantly college coaches and recruiting personnel. The world needs to see what you can do, and social media is the quickest and easiest way to put your ability on display.

But there’s a dangerous side to Twitter as well. A few questionable tweets or sketchy posts can have coaches removing you from their recruiting board.

So how do you find the balance between maximizing social media’s sharing ability while avoiding the traps that send recruiters running? We surveyed a number of college coaches and player personnel directors from Division I to NAIA to get their tips on getting the most out of social media.

Start with the Setup

This feels obvious, but use your real name. It might seem awesome to secure a handle like “LockdownCB23”, but how is a coach supposed to find your account? If talent evaluators don’t recognize the account’s name, they’ll ignore it. Also, put your position and graduation year in your bio for easy access.

Be sure to link your Hudl highlight in your bio or near the top of the page as well. Coaches don’t want to hunt for your highlight. They don’t have time for that. As one coach said, “I will not look for a video through a lot of junk.” Just make it easy for them.

Pause before You Post

This is where you can get in trouble. A few derogatory or profanity-laced posts or retweets can really turn a coach off.

“You can tell a lot about a prospect’s attitude and demeanor as well as how he treats other human beings. A lot of kids lose scholarship offers because of what they post.” Andy Lutz, Georgia Tech Director of Player Personnel

Just pause a beat before you hit send. If you wouldn’t want your mom to read it, it’s probably not something you should be putting out there.

Social media also presents a great opportunity to show your character. Tweet about your team’s fundraising efforts and the charity events that you participate in. If one of your teammates has a big game, give him a shout-out on Facebook. Coaches love to see posts that prop up others - they show humility, and that’s part of being a strong leader.

Get in Touch

Social media is a great way to get in touch with college coaches, so don’t be shy. Follow head coaches and assistants from the schools you’re interested in and send them your highlight. They’re busy people and may not watch every video sent to them, but you at least give yourself a chance of getting discovered.

“Twitter is the best way to communicate with coaches,” one manager of player personnel said. “Post updated film links, and messaging with coaches is great.”

Communicating with coaches will help develop a rapport and give them a sense of your character. It’s also a great way for them to stay in touch with you.

Keep it Updated

The recruiting landscape changes every day, so keep coaches up to date. Tweet out any new offers you receive or visits you have planned. Coaches want to know where they stand with you, and getting a bunch of offers will only garner even more interest.

Have a huge game Friday night? Tweet out your stats, share video from the win or retweet a media member who talks up your performance. Let it be known that you had a great game without coming off as arrogant or conceited.

Use social media to your advantage. It’s a great way to get noticed. Your hard work and preparation will ultimately earn the attention of college coaches, but following these tips will help your odds of getting on their radar.

Ready to learn the ins and outs of the recruiting process?

Check out our College Recruiting Guide for Athletes.