No matter who you are and what industry you work in, social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are most likely a part of your life, or should be. All three platforms are very different from one another, and each provide their own unique benefits. As a sports agent, how can/should you be using these sites to your advantage?
LinkedIn is the most professional platform of the three listed. It is truly a social networking site that has a purpose of connecting businesspeople. The key word is: Connections. The site is focused on bringing together people from similar and different industries so that they can communicate to solve problems, find jobs, re-connect, and discover new business opportunities. I have connected with colleagues within the sports agency profession, talked to scouts, GMs, and other team executives, met people in other industries that may benefit my clients (i.e. – financial planning, PR, etc), and found out what my college friends are now doing to make some flow. If you are an agent, be sure to join the ARPA group. If you are a part of a sports agency, make sure that your company has a listing on the site and that employees are linked up to the company profile. Have those that recognize your value offer their recommendation about your work. Upload a professional head-shot. Join groups that are applicable to your profession. Overall, use LinkedIn purely as a tool to advance your professional brand. It is not a site that you will check daily to post pictures on but can end up being very beneficial for your career.
This is the tough platform to analyze. I often am asked how Twitter can be leveraged to help grow a business. Sometimes I give people the option of having a schedule for the week of what they intend to post, as this makes thinking of content ideas a lot easier. For some people, I advise them to be consistent and commit to at least posting once a day. And for those who may be struggling to grow their following, I may sometimes even recommend they check out a site like tweeteev.com to buy followers. There’s are just a few things that people can do if they are looking to grow their following online. Before making any decisions, it is important to find out the client’s situation, in order to advise them on the best way to utilize Twitter for their business. There is no proper answer to that question, and I think that has to do with the actual service that Twitter offers. Twitter is comprised of news organizations that primarily filter off their content in tweets, business people who try to use it as a platform for growth, and personal users who tweet about what they ate for breakfast this morning (I am looking at you, Shaq Daddy). The interesting point to be made is that business people (you, reading this) also integrate a lot of qualities of the personal user (or at least, should). From my experience, Twitter users should take some best practices from their LinkedIn use and Facebook use and combine it to put together an appropriate tweeting strategy. Talk about your business, send out links to press releases, build up your clients, but also be personable. Let those following you (note the difference between following and connecting) learn a little bit about who you are, and try not to make it seem as though there is no actual human behind the Twitter account. Throw in some links to posts that you find humorous, let others know what your record number of chicken breasts eaten at Sonny’s All-You-Can-Eat is, but don’t take this strategy too far. Find a healthy mixture between letting people into your life and keeping it professional. Also make sure to keep a balance between the amount of people following you and those that you are following. Get some of your clients who may benefit from some extra exposure onto Twitter, but make sure that people will be interested in following them.
I firmly believe that your Facebook profile should be mostly used for personal reasons. Upload pictures of you with your friends and loved ones. Put up a status that has nothing to do with your business. Let your friends and family know what your favorite movies and music is. But be careful. Make sure that your Privacy Settings restrict the amount of content that can be seen by those who are not your friends and do not accept every person who requests to be your friend. As many athletes are well aware, Facebook is a fun tool that is great to use if you need to waste some time, but can also hurt your reputation and brand if certain content ends up in the wrong person’s hands. Become friends with your high school, college, and random friends. You can even become friends with your clients. But again, be careful. Don’t put anything up that you would not want your clients to see. But go ahead and friend your clients…why not? It just makes your relationship with them more personable, which I believe to be a good thing. Since Facebook will not allow you to create a profile for your company, make a Group page for your business. Build Fan Pages for your clients. There are still many ways that Facebook can be leveraged to help your business grow, but since Facebook is so personable, there are many potential pitfalls that must be avoided at all costs.
Last, I ask you all to connect to me on these sites. Let us grow our social networks together.