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Social Media’s Role on Recruiting High School Athletes #CollegeChat May 22, 2012

College Athletics Director and TV Sports Analyst to Discuss Growing Role of Social Media on Recruitment of High School Athletes #CollegeChat May 22, 2012

Karen Weaver, EdD, director of Athletics for Penn State University-Abington and a TV color analyst for ESPN, CBS College Sports and Big Ten Network, will discuss the growing role of social media on the recruiting of high school athletes during   #CollegeChat on Twitter, May 22, 2012 at 9 p.m. Eastern.

In just the last few years the role of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have dramatically changed the recruiting of high school athletes according to Weaver. During #Collegechat, Weaver, https://twitter.com/#!/collegeathlete , will discuss:

  •  How has social media changed athletic recruiting?
  • Has social media changed athlete recruiting for the better?
  • What are the pitfalls?
  • What are the best practices in for both recruiters and prospective athletes to use in technology and social media?
  • Are college coaches and their recruiters being too invasive on high school athletes’ privacy?
  • Should college coaches be allowed to “friend” students on FaceBook?
  • Are college coaches being allowed to ask for passwords in order to examine high school athletes’ student accounts?
  • How has social media helped get student athletes recruited?
  • Do high school students need to go through the expense of belonging to fee based online recruiting sites?

About Karen Weaver

Karen Weaver is an Ivy League-educated consultant, scholar, speaker, and administrator with experience that includes positions as a director of Athletics, adjunct professor, and head coach for schools at the NCAA Division I, III, and small college levels. Weaver is also a television color analyst for ESPN, CBS College Sports and Big Ten Network. As a former All-American and national championship coach, Weaver is recognized as an expert in broadcast rights and new media, athletic administration, and college recruitment; and also serves as a recruiting educator for student athletes, parents, and coaches. In addition, Weaver is an athletics consultant to senior leaders in higher education.

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat, by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page or by email. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and participating in #Collegechat can be found at http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .

Social Networking Sites Breakdown: Whose Using Which Network

User Activity Comparison Of Popular Social Networking Sites
Infographic by- GO-Gulf.com Web Design Company

Build Your Network and Influence through Twitter Chats

If you have been here before you probably know that I am a very enthusiastic participant on Twitter. So enthusiastic in fact that twice a month I moderate #CollegeChat on Twitter. Recently, Up and Running asked me to write “How can Twitter chat help your business?”  to help guide startups and small businesses on how to participate in Twitter chats to help build influence and enhance engagement in your targeted market. You can read the entire post at Up and Running. An excerpt follows below.

One of the best ways for small businesses to build their networks and increase their influence is by participating in Twitter Chats. Twitter chats are Twitter based conversations that anyone can participate in and are kept on track through the use of a #hashtag, a topic with a hash symbol (“#”) at the start to identify it. There are currently more than 600 ongoing Twitter Chats, ranging from weekly to monthly discussions on a wide variety of topics. You can review an exhaustive list of ongoing chats maintained at the Twitter Chat Schedule.

Participating in a Twitter chat is a great way to network and interact with other people who may also share your professional and personal passions. It is also a great way to introduce yourself and your business to key influencers whom you want to connect with.

Be Strategic

Look for a chat where you can bring value to the conversation. For example, I moderate #CollegeChat twice a month on Tuesday evenings. Most of the chats I moderate are in question and answer format and include an “expert” guest on a particular topic. The majority of guests I first met by their attending and participating in #CollegeChat. My guests have included professors, authors, independent higher education experts and business owners targeting the higher education market.

With hundreds of ongoing Twitter chats, you should be able to find a number of chats that are ideal for both networking and for your business. Perhaps you have developed a business tool, application or book that you are targeting to business to business marketers? Then you might want to check out #B2Bchat. A recent #B2Bchat focused on “Facebook for B2B -The Times They Are a-Changin’.

Expand your Knowledge

Also consider joining in Twitter chats just to expand your knowledge. Have you been considering adding a blog to your website but really don’t know where to start? Consider checking out #Blogchat on Sunday evenings to get fresh ideas from blogging experts. Recently Brian Solis, a thought leader in new media and a best-selling author, was a guest for #Blogchat and discussed with attendees how to use blogs as tools to build influence.

Do you need some new ideas for your start-up or small business?  #Smallbizchat is a great chat for small businesses since its focus is on helping small businesses to succeed as they start to grow. Recently on #Smallbizchat, Dina Dwyer-Owen, a certified franchise executive with more than 30 years of industry experience and a recent guest on the television program “Undercover Boss”, shared with attendees “How to Live Rich in Your Small Business”. #Smallbizchat is hosted weekly by Melinda Emerson, a noted small business expert, coach and author.

How to Participate

In order to participate in a Twitter chat, attendees will need to have a Twitter account.  To sign up for a Twitter account, go to http:// twitter.com. Once you have your Twitter account, you are ready to go.

There are a number of formats to use to follow a Twitter chat but the easiest way I have found to participate is by using TweetChat, a platform designed to make “Twitter chats” run easily.

Don’t be a Bystander

In order to get the most out of any Twitter chat is to make sure you join in. Most moderators ask attendees to go ahead and introduce themselves. Your introduction is a great way to begin meeting others.

By joining in a chat you are not only sharing your ideas with the attendees but also with the attendees’ followers. Don’t be surprised if you pick up a number of new followers after the chat based on comments and interactions you had during the chat.  Every time you write a tweet that is then re-tweeted – quoted or rebroadcast by other attendees – your tweet is not only repeated across the chat but also to the followers of the person who re-tweeted you, thereby expanding your reach exponentially.

And, the best parts about participating in Twitter chats are the people you meet and the network you build.

Spamming: Bad Twitter Advice

Recently while conducting research on behalf of a financial services company I work with I was quite surprised to see that several of its well known competitors are Twitter spammers.  These companies, who are in the commercial lending business, are mass following other accounts only to then unfollow these companies once they have artificially inflated their followers.  According to Twitter the practice of “aggressive following behavior“, once reported, will be investigated by Twitter for further action including losing your account.

How do I know they are Twitter spammers? Just by looking at the number of companies they follow versus the number that follow them back. Once a Spammer is followed back, they often then drop the company from the list they follow in order to artificially pump up their numbers. In addition, I can also tell they are spammers because they have published very few tweets, but most telling and should be most embarrassing to them, the lists these companies are on. The companies are on very few lists and the majority of lists included titles including the words “Twitter Spammers.”

Is that the kind of influence they are really trying to achieve? Does their CEO realize the damage their “Twitter team” is doing to their brand? Or is the CEO oblivious which says even more about the company. But perhaps most importantly, is this the kind of company you want to borrow from for your business? Do you want to trust this company to safeguard your financial documents and reputation when they are so careless about their own?

#CollegeChat Transcript: Tips on the Common Application

The Social Breakup: Why Consumers Unsubscribe

The Kiss
Creative Commons License photo credit: WTL photos

How often should you be emailing your customers or potential customers? How many tweets can you send out each day? How many is too many? How much contact is too much on Facebook? In order to find out why consumers terminate their relationships with Brands through Email, Facebook, and Twitter, Exact Target, a global Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, surveyed more than 1500 consumers and came up with a number of key findings that they reported today in “The Social Break-Up”.

Email Key Findings:

  • 95% of US Online Consumers use email
  • 91% have unsubscribed to a company email
  • 18% never open email from companies
  • 17% of subscribers will delete or ignore email instead of unsubscribing or hitting the spam button
  • 49% unsubscribe because the content is boring or repetitive

Facebook Key Findings:

  • 73% of US online consumers have a Facebook profile
  • 65% of US online consumers are active on Facebook
  • 64% of Facebook users are “Fans” of a company
  • 51% of Facebook Fans of a company rarely or never visit a company’s page after liking them
  • 44% of Facebook Fans unlike a company because they post to frequently

Twitter Key Findings

  • 17% of US consumers have a Twitter account
  • 9% of US consumers who have created a Twitter account are active
  • 41% of consumers who have followed a company have stopped following them later
  • Twitter users are less likely to unfollow a brand compared to Facebook or email users (41% for Twitter, 55% for Facebook, and 91% for email)

The question is, why have you unsubscribed to a Brand?

Twitter Followers or Facebook Fans: Which is better?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Franco Bouly

The answer is Twitter according to research from ExactTarget. According to the study and reported on by Social Media Today, “Twitter followers are more likely to induce advocacy and future purchases” than those on Facebook. Social Media Today reported that “according to their data, 37% of respondents were more likely to purchase from a brand after following them on Twitter as opposed to only 17% of those that “like” a brand on Facebook.”

When the respondents were asked if they were more likely to recommend a Brand after following them on Twitter, 33% of Twitter followers were more likely to recommend a Brand compared to 21% of Facebook fans.

What has been your experience?

NPR Twitter User Survey says…

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh WOWs By Delivering Happiness

Last night I was lucky enough to spend nearly 90 minutes listening to Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, discuss how he got his start, his company, and why his number one priority is getting the company culture right. According to Tony, if Zappos gets the company culture right then everything else will turn out right.

Tony is currently on a multi-city bus tour aptly titled the “Delivering Happiness Bus Tour” which meshes with the recent launch of his best-selling book “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose”. According to the tour web site, the mission of the tour is to “inspire and be inspired.” He certainly did that last night at the Milken Institute.

Tony started his talk recounting when and why he sold his first company LinkExchange to Microsoft for $265 million back in 1999 at the age of 24. He had co-founded the company with a friend and they in turn hired more friends. After about 20 hires, according to Hsieh, they ran out of friends and then started hiring people who were going to make the company really grow and be successful. But that’s when it stopped being fun for Tony. The company culture had changed and it was no longer fun to get out of bed.

His next move was joining Zappos originally as an investor and adviser and eventually as CEO. Tony was determined that the most important thing to make the company successful in the long term was to get the company culture right. And equally important to Tony is to make sure the company is making an emotional connection to their customers.

Tony’s mantra at Zappos is “Wow. How do we wow our customers and our vendors?” And to Tony that means taking the money that they would spend on advertising and folding it into customer service, because, “we just want to be about customer service and maximizing the customer experience.”

In order to make sure they are “wowing” their customers,  Zappos throws out a lot of the accepted industry practices around call centers. Many call centers’ mission is to get customers on and off the phones as quickly as possible to decrease the average handle time and thereby maintain their profits. Zappos is the opposite. Tony boosted that Zappos Call Center had recently broken a company record by having a 7 ½ hour customer conversation.

Although 95% of all the sales go through the Internet Tony believe that the telephone is one of the company’s best branding devices.  Tony reported that since every customer calls at least once it was extremely important that they get this one call right. And this is one of the reasons that the call center is really at the heart of their business.

Everyone that is hired at Zappos—no matter their position—goes through a four week call center training period with two of those weeks being on the phone as call center agents. But getting hired is even trickier. To Tony there is nothing more important than hiring the right people who are going to fit into the culture and not disrupt it. And to get hired you must be a fit with everyone including the driver that brings you to and from the airport for your interview. Every voice matters.

Tony spoke a great deal about the science of happiness and how he has rolled that into his own company’s mission. Back in 1999 Zappos defined their brand and vision as providing “selection”.  In 2003 the company defined their brand and vision as “customer service.” Today the company sees their brand and vision as “delivering happiness.”

Tony stressed the importance of “chasing the vision and not the money.” He believes that you can use happiness as a business model and that businesses with a higher purpose make money in the long term.

You can learn more about the “Delivering Happiness Movement” at   http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/jointhemovement/.

Can his ideas work in your company?

Are You Afraid of Bloggers and Social Media? Maybe You Should Be.

Creative Commons License photo credit: M i x y

Are you or your Brand afraid of bloggers and social media? Well, maybe you should be–especially if your brand is still sitting on the side lines and not listening.  Jessica Gottlieb , a powerful voice on the Internet and a mom blogger,  recently wrote two excellent posts “Five Simple Steps to Bringing a Brand to their Virtual Knees” and  “Six Tips for Brand Managers Who Might Be Afraid of Bloggers” . Gottlieb is that “Jessica Gottlieb” that started the “#MotrinMoms” backlash on Twitter in November 2008.

Gottlieb expressed her displeasure with Motrin’s ad campaign that she and others felt wasn’t supportive of new mothers and  in a series of tweets expressed that “picking on new mothers is vile.” Her tweets set off a reaction that reverberated across Twitter and then the Internet and finally the mainstream press and it wasn’t until Monday that Motrin finally responded to the moms they were trying so hard to connect with but by then the damage was done http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/11/17/motrin-mothers-groundswell-by-the-numbers/ .In just a weekend, the mommy bloggers had mobilized and expressed their anger in their own blogs, on Twitter, on FaceBook where they created a “Boycott Motrin” Group, on YouTube where they added their own videos, as well as on Flickr. That same weekend the controversy was picked up by mainstream media including the New York Times http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/moms-and-motrin/?scp=1&sq=Motrin%20Moms%202008&st=cse

The title alone of the first post should get your attention if you still think you can sit social media out. In her first post, Gottlieb clearly lays out the steps of how anyone with a blog and or a Twitter account and a handful of followers can take aim at a corporation. Jessica’s steps consist of:

1) Timing is everything: Large corporations close up in the evenings, and many are completely checked out on weekends. If you post something critical of them on a Friday evening, you have a two to three day head start on your buzz versus theirs.

2) Ask readers to take an action and report back: When you post about the evil corporation be sure to ask your readers to do something other than just read. Ask them to call or email (letter writing campaigns have gone the way of the brontosaurus).

3) Track and share the momentum: Set up a google alert. If you’re asking people to say #xyzstinks then you will want updates as quickly as possible so that you can support people who write #xyzstinks. As people are writing be sure to share it in public forums like Twitter, Stumbleupon, Facebook and Digg.

4) Go multimedia: Really, multimedia doesn’t mean internet, TV and radio. Multimedia (in our frame of reference) means text, audio and video. Post your message to your blog, to cinch, and to YouTube.

5) Get redundant: Stay on message and repeat it ad nauseum. I recognize that after a day or so it’s unlikely that you will care any longer, but stamina is everything. Constant blog posts in every blog you contribute to are key. Repeat steps one through four tirelessly.

As a PR professional, I recommend that companies pay attention to all of these steps but also take a closer look at step 1 –“Timing is everything.” Companies still naively think that if they have bad news that they are required to release they need to drop it on Fridays after the Stock Market closes. Depending on who you are and what you have to announce that just won’t fly anymore. You may think you are  pulling a fast one on the traditional press that follows your company but you won’t be pulling a fast one on the bloggers that work 24/7.  In addition, the tradional press may also spend the weekend digging up more to include in their story. And like Motrin, you might end up with quite a mess on your hands before the weekend even wraps up.

Maybe you might be thinking that since your company is B2B you don’t need to worry about a possible “groundswell” catching up to your company. Sure you want to bet on that? Jessica’s steps can be used just as easily to target B2B companies as easily as they can be used to target B2C companies.

If her first post gave you pause, then her second post “Six Tips for Brand Managers Who Might Be Afraid of Bloggers”  can serve as a road map to get your company moving. Gottlieb recommends:

1. Build Social Capital early and often: The best way to make sure you never have a big problem with bloggers is by participating in their discussions before the drama.

2. Do not hand social media over to interns: Interns are adorable, and I recognize that businesses need them for things like answering phones and fetching coffee. However, when your intern is in charge of your facebook page you’ve just handed the keys over to someone who was probably delivering pizza last month.

3. Monitor your brand round the clock: Small businesses do it, because they have to. You need to also. It doesn’t have to be one person, but at the barest minimum a google alert with YourBrandHere and boycott, sucks, or criminal as a keyword will keep you informed of a tempest brewing.

4. Respond truthfully: One big criticism of of the Motrin fiasco is that the apology wasn’t sincere (authentic).

5. Don’t participate if you don’t have the resources: Really. I honest to goodness recommend that brands stay out of social media if they aren’t going to make it part of their business. Do not set up a facebook page and then let it sit there. If you want to protect your name online buy your URL’s, take your twitter ID’s and just park them. Don’t invite a conversation you won’t show up for.

6. Just be yourself. Social media isn’t about your brand, it’s about you.

Building social capital is critical and without it you won’t be able to build a good relationship with the community your business needs. It doesn’t mean pushing out non stop information about your company and products. It means “listening” first to the discussions in the communities you are looking for a home in. It then means offering useful information to that community or better sharing the information of the other community members first.

I also “love” that tip # 2 recommends that companies not turn over social media to interns. In the last year I have heard a number of companies –including PR companies– either talk about their plan to turn “social media” over to an intern or who have already done it and it always leaves me aghast. Just because an intern has been on FaceBook longer than anyone over 25—and that is because it was originally a college only community– doesn’t mean they have the expertise of company, customer, products or the industry you are in.  Would you really send your intern in to close a deal with a potential customer you have been chasing for years or to represent you to the technology reporter you want so badly to cover your company? Then why would you do it in social media?

One other tip I would offer is “transparency”. Gottlieb mentions in tip #4 being authentic—truthful. It is also important to remember in social media that people don’t want to talk with a logo. They want to talk with a person. If you’re tweeting say who you are right up there in your profile. If you have to talk behind a logo try to persuade management to add your name on the Twitter page so your followers can more easily engage with you.

Read the full posts. They are excellent.

Still afraid?