In my role as marketing communications specialist at The Bishop’s School, an independent school for students grades six through 12 in La Jolla, I deal with a lot of kids who are hoping and praying that they’ll be able to land a coveted scholarship to their dream school.
Because of my background in collegiate athletic media relations, I’m often looked upon as a source for our student-athletes transitioning from high school to college sports. Recently, I was asked to present to our student-athletes about how to use social media effectively.
Think of social media as the first introduction someone has of you. If you work in athletics, you probably know that social media can be a tool to enhance or promote your personal brand. Not shockingly, high schoolers don’t understand what a personal brand is. Instead, I asked them to think of their social media as the first introduction someone has of you. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts (Tips from Hiring Managers), hiring managers scour the internet to learn about the you that wasn’t discussed on your resume or in your cover letter. Think about what they’ll see. Will it corroborate your resume? If you post photos of you living it up at the club or pounding beers, are you okay that they may think differently about you? Look at the social media accounts of someone you’ve never met in person. What do you think you know about them? Framing your personal accounts in this way has helped the students see social media differently.
Every couple of months, audit your own social media. I love Instagram. My Instagram is essentially photos of my pets, my fiance, my friends and San Diego. Those are the things I love most in this world, and I am fine with that being the first introduction someone has of me. If you love to tweet, scouring your twitter can be a daunting task. Use Twitter’s advanced search () to comb through your twitter for incriminating words, phrases or, really, anything that can damage your personal brand. In the last few months alone, we’ve seen a number of inflammatory tweets from an athlete’s high school days. How do you think those tweets were found? Twitter’s advanced search. Also, don’t forget that what you like on Twitter can be seen by others. As many times as you say it in your profile, liking and retweeting are absolutely endorsements. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that a simple line in your profile will absolve you of anything you may interact with.
Be positive, respectful and gracious. This one seems like common knowledge - don’t engage in Twitter battles, don’t troll people, don’t be a jerk, etc. - but you’d be shocked at how you come across when you’re even a little bit negative, disrespectful and not at all gracious. As women in sports, we all know that we constantly have a spotlight shining directly on us. Everything we do or say is magnified and scrutinized. Always keep that in the back of your mind. As Anastasia has talked about (not taking things personally), it’s hard to not take things personally. If someone comments negatively on what you thought was an awesome graphic tweeted from your team’s account, or says something awful about a standup you did for your news station, let it go. Their opinion of you is based off of experiences that shaped their world and has nothing to do with you. See something cool a fellow industry professional did, or did you get advice from someone in the field? Shout them out. Show your respect and be grateful for those that helped get you to where you are.
In this day and age, social media can certainly be scary. But knowing how to use it to your advantage will benefit you at any level.