If you browse through the Social Networking category, you will find that I have blogged about athletes using social networking sites in the past. The most recent post in the category thread; however, deals with an effort to connect sports agents on a social network called LinkedIn. Which leads me to a question: Should sports agents be actively involved with social networking sites? What are the potential advantages and what pitfalls may be involved?
For those of you that know me at all, you know that I have completely embraced social networking. I am on Facebook, LinkedIn, sports-related Ning social networks, Twitter, etc. I have also created Dynasty-specific pages on Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, etc. There is even a range of cannabis business social network these days. Through my personal accounts, I have been able to meet impressive new people in the sports world, connect with friends and family, and provide quick and easy updates about my life to others. The potential negative, which I believe are heavily outweighed by the positives, is a claim that if you open yourself up too much, you are inviting others to have information to use against you. This is why it is important to pre-empt such a strike by not putting up provocative pictures on your personal Facebook page or not talking about how wasted you got last night on your Twitter account. Take the necessary precautions, and exploit these networks for what they are worth.
I also decided to involve my business, as a completely separate entity from myself, in social networking. As far as I know, no other sports agency has a Facebook profile. Few have MySpace pages. By creating a presence on such sites, many athletes, executives, entertainers, etc. are familiar with Dynasty or at least have seen our logo now and have some idea of what we are about. We are also able to get information about potential clients through these services. Where else can you get such information legally and free of cost? If you use these tools in a proper way, they are invaluable. Dynasty has seen tremendous growth in branding and reputation from leveraging these social networking sites, alone.
Is it annoying when you open up your email inbox and find twenty Facebook friend requests and ten unread LinkedIn messages? No doubt. But taking a few minutes a day to keep your social networking pages up-to-date can do wonders personally and professionally. And we all know how tough it is to find a job in this economic climate. Building a powerful network of friends and connections not only will help you in your current profession, but may also come handy if you are looking for a new occupation in the future.
If you have already decided to create your online presence by joining these sites, congratulations! You are a step ahead of most people in our profession. For some reason, many agents and agencies have not fully embraced the new climate of the internet. Many agencies have very old websites with little interactivity. Some agencies do not have a website, at all. Even less are using new social networking tools to gain an advantage over the competition. In an industry as competitive as ours, it is vital to use whatever you can to have a leg up on others. And I am not talking about buying athletes so that your competitors cannot or will not compete with your tactics. Figure out what you are comfortable with and wait no longer to join. And go ahead and add me as a friend!