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Girl on Fire

My Life in the High School Athletic Industry

Tweeting Versus Blogging, Who Will Win?

When it comes to Twitter and blogs, it takes time to master the art of tweeting and blogging and there are best practices for both.  In the world of high school athletics, tweeting is definitely more popular than blogging.  As you can see in the picture below, it is much easier to access high school department Twitter pages than it is to find high school athletic blog accounts with a simple google search.

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Twitter is a better way to market the sports industry, especially because of the shortness and efficiency of tweeting, so that is why it is more widely used by high school athletic departments.  When looking into high school department Twitter accounts versus blogs, there were far more Twitter accounts to be found and viewed.

However, blogging is still an essential part of high school athletics.  Dan Rickershauser, writer of “10 Best Practices for Corporate Blogging”, goes into detail about some of the best practices used when blogging.

The most important advice that I received from this article in regards to blogging is first to grab a readers attention, but keep their attention by breaking up your text, using pictures and videos, writing about what you know so it sounds logical, and referring to other blogs and articles within your post (2016).

Rickershauser also mentions that one of the most important parts of gaining and keeping followers is to respond to any replies to your blog posts because it creates interaction and communication with people.

Although I could not find very many blogs relating to high school athletics, the blogs I did find utilized a lot of the blogging best practices.  The blogs intertwined both pictures and videos into the post, while making sure to separate text to make it an easier read.

A lot of the blogs involved high school students being recruited for college, the impact of playing only one sport in high school, and sports injury.  These blogs had catchy titles for the most part, some seemed a bit long, and all included a picture with the title of the article to draw readers in.  The articles I found were more just individual blog posts related to high school athletics and not entire blogs, which is shown in the picture below.

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Then comes the more popular Twitter accounts.  There are many helpful hints in regards to the best practices for tweeting.  Mark Shaefer, author of The Tao of Twitter, states that “the best, simplest advice I can provide is to tweet about what interests you” (Schaefer, 2014, p. 59).  When it comes to high school athletic department accounts, the person running the account should be someone who is passionate about high school athletics.  The more passion, the more excitement, and the more people will want to follow and get involved.

Shaefer also says that “the second most important advice I can provide is to get in the habit of sharing” (Schaefer, 2014, p. 59).  A good way to share posts involving high school athletics is to share the content of individual sport accounts at the same school.

Best practices of Twitter also mention to tweet regularly (around three times a day), while using videos and pictures to create excitement and engagement within the account.  In my opinion, high school athletic departments can easily switch up the content going on the page.

What I mean by that is they can switch sports, posts pictures and videos, but also give followers important information about each sport including game schedule, scores, statistics, and more.

When running a high school sports Twitter account, the tweets need to be kept short and sweet in order to keep students and fans engaged.  While being easy to read, tweets should also contain hashtags and sometimes quick links to refer to as well (Bennet, 2014).  Hashtags and links offer more information and quality to tweets in the simplest way.

In order to offer communication and interaction with fans, high school athletic department Twitter pages must be sure to respond to tweets in a timely manner.  When responding, this could involve public @ replies to users or direct messages (DM), depending on how the follower reaches out to you.  People may have questions about upcoming games, directions, ect. and it is important to get back to them ASAP.

In my opinion it is much easier to run a Twitter account over a blog when it relates to high school athletics because it is easier to display important information, while also remaining engaging to students and fans alike.  Tweets are kept short and sweet, which is an easier way to keep the attention of fans and readers, especially students.  When trying to get out important information such as schedules, scores, and statistics, I feel as though a short tweet is easier than an entire blog post.

Also, at the high school level, Twitter is more popular than blogs.  Students will be far more excited to see their name, team photo, or game video on the high school’s sport Twitter page, than they would in a blog.  I think high school athletic departments have done a great job adapting to the world of Twitter and keeping their tweets light and engaging for athletes and their fans.

References:

Bennet, S. (2014). 23 (rather marvellous) Twitter best practices. Social Times. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/twitter-best-practices-2014/500990

Home Team Marketing. (2015). 5 ways your high school athletic department should be using Twitter. HTM School Solutions. Retrieved from http://schools.hometeammarketing.com/2015/11/23/5-ways-your-high-school-athletic-department-should-be-using-twitter/

Rickershauser, D. (2016). 10 best practices for corporate blogging. Campaigner CRM. Retrieved from http://www.campaignercrm.com/en/community/blog/crm/post/10-best-practices-for-corporate-blogging/

Schaefer, M. (2014).  The Tao of Twitter. McGraw-Hill Education. United States of America.

Social Media & Student-Athletes, To Do or Not to Do?

When it comes to high school athletes, it is a struggle to decide whether or not to promote the brand socially.  In my opinion, it greatly depends on if social media is being used in the right way.  I think athletes, teams, and athletic programs can use social media to positively promote individual athletes, entire teams, and  sport organizations.  On the other hand, sometimes individual athletes can use social media a way that draws negative attention to themselves.  What you put out there is your brand and how you want to be perceived” (Patsko, 2015).

“Social media has become an integral part of the college recruiting process, providing coaches with easy, almost unlimited access to potential recruits” (Patsko, 2015).  Although coaches cannot physically reach out to athletes until junior year of high school, they are checking the social media platforms of potential athletes long before then.  “The access can provide an unfiltered view of an athlete’s character, maturity and demeanor. It isn’t always positive” (Patsko, 2015).  Student-athletes can use social media to form a brand name for themselves, but sometimes that is not necessarily what happens.

Although sometimes not news worthy, there are positives to student-athletes using social media.  “If used effectively, social media can be an asset to help a student-athlete’s individual brand, their community, their team and the school they represent” (Gaio, 2013).  Student-athletes can draw positive attention to themselves and get recruiters to notice them in a positive light.  “Social media or social networking provides a platform where players can connect with fans and share not only their exploits on the field but their personal lives as well” (Winters, 2015).  When student-athletes use platforms to share their experiences, recruiters will be more likely to notice them and see how well they will display themselves at the college level.  Some high schools are now implementing guidelines in the school handbook or offering students the chance to sit in on social media seminars.  “Social media seminars for student-athletes are becoming commonplace in high schools and colleges across the country” (Gaio, 2013).

Even with positives, there are many negatives to student-athletes in high school using social media.  What individual high school student-athletes post on social media can reflect if they get recruited for college athletes.  Students are getting dropped by recruiters solely for what they put on social media (Patsko, 2015).  An example of this is Oklahoma State assistant football coach Jemal Singleton and Penn State assistant football coach Herb Hand dropping two of their high school recruits solely from their presence on social media (Patsko, 2015).  Another huge case involved football recruit Yuri Wright from Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey.  In 2012, Wright was expelled after a series of inappropriately graphic Tweets.  “Highly ranked by recruiting services, Wright was sought by such schools as Michigan and Rutgers before the expulsion, but was soon dropped” (Patsko, 2015).  Along with being dropped from recruitment, social media errors can also cause stripping of awards, suspension of play, and allowance of participation.

“While many kids think they can delete a tweet or delete their Facebook profile if need be, many don’t realize that content posted on the internet can last forever. Content can be captured in screenshots or saved by other users” (Gaio, 2013).  These student-athletes need to realize that once something is put in public, there is no taking it back and that “friends aren’t the only ones with access to your social media accounts” (Patsko, 2015).  Teachers, administrators, high school and college coaches alike are all keeping watch of what students are doing on social media.  Students must also be aware that people may be tagging them in inappropriate pictures that end up on their pages as well because this can also get them in trouble.  A negative of social media in high schools is that “social media policies at high schools are rare” (Patsko, 2015).  It is important for student-athletes to be educated about social media and make smart choices when posting since there are not many rulebooks to follow in schools.  “Once a post is made on a social networking site, it is considered public information.  You cannot say or post anything without repercussions” (Winters, 2015).

When push comes to shove, high school student-athletes will most likely use social media.  “Student-athletes should keep in mind that tweets, Facebook statuses, or Instagram photos could end up being viewed by thousands of people” (Gaio, 2013).  They need to learn to use social media to create a positive brand name in order to show off their talents and lead themselves to a brighter future.  Every post on social media reflects who the athlete is, which should always be remembered by student-athletes.

References:

Gaio, M. (2013). Blog: 9 social media dos and don’ts for student-athletes. Athletic Business. Retrieved from http://www.athleticbusiness.com/corporate/blog-9-social-media-dos-and-don-ts-for-student-athletes.html

Patsko, S. (2015). How social media behavior of high school athletes can negatively impact NCAA recruiting: photos, polls national signing day 2014. High School Sports. Retrieved from http://highschoolsports.cleveland.com/news/article/3838474443158678075/how-social-media-behavior-of-high-school-athletes-can-negatively-impact-ncaa-recruiting-photos-polls-national-signing-day-2015/

Peters, J. (2014). Social media a growing concern in high school athletics. NWI Times. Retrieved from http://www.nwitimes.com/sports/high-school/social-media-a-growing-concern-in-high-school-athletics/article_81264e5f-b32a-5092-98a5-1be3760301db.html

Winters, T. (2015). Social media: What a student-athlete posts online matters, more than you may think. Moms Team. Retrieved from http://www.momsteam.com/successful-parenting/social-media-what-student-athlete-posts-online-matters-more-than-you-may-think

Prep Connect Mobile Helping Prep School Athletics Everywhere

Prep Connect Mobile is a mobile application to help market prep school athletics everywhere.  The app is used by multiple prep schools in a variety of different locations.  Prep Connect Mobile allows prep schools to customize both iPhone and Android apps for high school, college, and other sports teams.  If a prep school is interested in advertising their athletics program with Prep Connect Mobile, they create a team page using the application for people to download.  The site will include rosters, schedules, pictures, videos, scores, statistics, and other important information such as tryouts, championship games, and links to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Every team of each sport will be located within the application including Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Freshman teams.  Each team’s schedule will be on the app, including the opponent, time, and location.  Along with the location of the event, this incredible app also gives out directions to the event, whether it is home or away.  Notifications from the Prep Connect Mobile are also an option, so a user can be alerted with results, game cancellations, reminders, ect.  The mobile photo gallery offers pictures from each sporting events for fans who missed the game or potential students who may want to attend the prep school (Prep Connect Mobile, 2016).

Another positive of Prep Connect Mobile is that it adds links to the Facebook and Twitter platforms.  The Facebook page has links to different articles involving Prep Connect Mobile.  A lot of these articles discuss new prep schools using Prep Connect Mobile, or how other prep schools have become so successful with using the application (Prep Connect Mobile, Facebook, 2016).  The Facebook page also offers consumers to like or comment on these articles, while also leaving a comment on the overall page.  The Prep Connect Mobile Twitter page opens up with the statement: “We build fully customized iPhone and Android apps for high schools, colleges and sports teams” (Prep Connect Mobile, Twitter, 2016).  The Twitter page has links to similar articles that the Facebook page does, discussing new and successful prep schools that use Prep Connect Mobile.  The Twitter page also releases facts such as prep schools that use Prep Connect Mobile that have obtained rankings in the Sports section of the App Store or new updates for the app that are coming soon (Prep Connect Mobile, Twitter, 2016).

Prep Connect Mobile is such a successful application to advertise high school sports team that it continues to gain the presence of new schools and engage the athletes, faculty, and fans of schools who joined a while ago.  The Prep Connect Mobile application was created in 2011 and has been thriving ever since.  The success of this app is measured by the continued amounts of prep schools who trust Prep Connect Mobile to advertise their athletic department.  This mobile application has completely transformed the accessibility of high school athletics.

Here are some examples of how schools use Prep Connect Mobile to customize their athletic department mobile application:

Here is a video that let’s you deeper look into how Prep Connect Mobile works with an example of the LaSalle Lancers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stWTX3hA35E

References:

Prep Connect Mobile. (2016). Custom sports apps. Prep Connect Mobile. Retrieved from https://www.prepconnectmobile.com/

Prep Connect Mobile. (2016). Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/prepconnectmobile/

Prep Connect Mobile. (2016). Twitter. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/prepconnect

Prep Connect Mobile – Report A Score. (2012). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stWTX3hA35E

Social Media & High School Athletics

The current state of social media has grown and expanded an extreme amount at all ages.  An age group that is extremely fond of the social media craze is high school students.  When I look back at playing sports in high school, I only wish social media was more popular so that I had the ability to share mine and my teammates’ experiences.  One social media platform that is popularly used by high school athletes, teams, and organizations is Facebook.  The best aspect of Facebook that helps out athletics is the ability to create events.  A lot of times Facebook is the best way to connect with current and previous players, parents, fans about upcoming events such as alumni games, home openers, states, and championships.  Planning an event on Facebook can be useful to communicate information to multiple people.  I know at Andover High School we use Facebook to get in touch with current and previous ice hockey players about the date, time, and location of our alumni games every year.  These events give people who are a part of the event a chance to invite who they want, which promotes the event even further.

Blog Facebook

Instagram can also be used to promote athletic programs at a school.  Andover High School has it’s own Instagram page called AHS Athletics * Andover, MA, with a username of bluegoldwarriors and promoting the hashtag #AHSwarriors.  The page advertises different sports teams, both male and female, displaying action shots, team photos, and individual athletes.  Instagram is also extremely popular when it comes to individual teams and players.  A lot of sports organizations at the high school level will create their own Instagram page that only advertises the specific players of that sport.  On the individual level, a lot of athletes will post photos or videos of themselves playing a sport, sometimes just for fun or maybe even to be noticed.  Instagram has become a very popular platform for posting both photos and videos so it is definitely a smart choice for athletic organizations to utilize.

Blog Instagram

Another social media site that has become a great attribute to high school athletics is Twitter.  Twitter can be used for entire programs, specific teams, or individual athletes.  Andover High School has Twitter accounts for certain athletic teams, but not yet for the organization as a whole.  I think to continue down the social media path it would be important for Andover High School to make an athletic page on Twitter.  The page could tweet about upcoming games, important events, and even do play by plays during games using athletes names.  I feel as though as a page of an entire organization it will gain more followers and students would love to see their name on the school’s public Twitter account.  However, having team Twitter pages can be useful in the same ways of promoting games, discussing upcoming events, and running in game play by plays.  Twitter has become an extremely popular social media platform, so it will be useful to create pages to advertise programs.

Blog Twitter

One social media platform I feel is under utilized within high school athletics is Snapchat.  Snapchat is a newer app, so I am not surprised it is taking programs a little longer to catch on to the fad.  In my eyes, I think it would be great for students, parents, and any fans to view photos or watch videos of their favorite athletes with just a click of a button.  I think Snapchat would be key when a fan is unable to make a game, but sees Snapchats as if they are watching instant replays.  In this sense, fans that cannot watch the game in person will still feel like they are there because they will be up to date on the score and a lot of the action.

All in all, high school sports have taken to social media, but still have a lot of work to do to fully promote their organizations through different social media platforms.  No matter the social media sites that athletic programs are using, it is important to remain professional, especially on students’ individual accounts.  These student athletes and teams need to remember that social media is a very public place, which can be both positive and negative.  If used appropriately, social media is a perfect place to represent both a school and a community, while creating a positive brand name.

Andover High School also has a link for prospective and current student athletes: //www.aps1.net/index.aspx?nid=304

Scholar Athletes Utilizing Social Media Platforms

Social media has expanded such a great amount within the past decade that many businesses have taken to it to better market what the company has to offer.  I work for a company known as Scholar Athletes that takes to social media to advertise what we do as an organization and gain more followers.   Scholar Athletes is an organization run in both Boston and Springfield public high schools working to help students reach a better tomorrow by enhancing academic success through athletic engagement.  Two social media sites that more and more businesses are starting to use are Instagram and Snapchat.  Scholar Athletes has two different Instagram sites, one promoting athletics and Intramural programs, while the other is promoting academics and Scholar Athlete events.  These sites have expanded over this past school year and are used to engage our consumers such as students, faculty, staff, coaches, donors, and other people who support what we are doing as a company.  Utilizing Instagram gives us a chance to post both photos and videos about different sports programs, our Scholar Athletes’ achievements, events that have happened or are going to happen in the future, and anything revolving around our programs.  Our Instagram sites help us gain a bigger fan bus, but also keep our fans engaged and in the know of what is going on.  I can only hope that our Instagram followers will continue to raise.

One social media site that I would love to get a chance to utilize in the future is Snapchat.  Snapchat is a social media messaging app that utilizes pictures and videos to communicate.  Snapchat was created as an app that was used to send pictures that disappeared forever after a certain number of seconds, but has expanded into so much more since then.  Snapchat now has the ability to post “stories” for up to twenty four hours with multiple videos and pictures and can be looked at by followers as many times as they want within that twenty four hours.  Snapchat has also created many different filters to use including time, temperature, and different colors and backgrounds.  Businesses have begun using Snapchat to post stories about certain events such as concerts, nights out, new products, and so much more.  Snapchat has also created “geotags”, which become a filter for anyone within the location or event.  We had an event at Scholar Athletes known as the “All SA Awards” for our Scholar Athletes through out the school year and when anyone took a Snapchat within the event, a geotag of the event was available as a filter.  Geotags are helpful because people can receive Snapchats, see where their followers are located, and judge if the event seems fun and engaging, which could help gain more fans.  I think that Scholar Athletes could utilize Snapchat much more than they have in the past.  My job requires me to create and run Intramural sports programs for high school students in Boston Public Schools and I would love to create a Snapchat account to promote the different programs.  If I could post stories of students signing up, attending the draft party, studying hard, and having fun while participating in the Intramural program, I feel as though more students are likely to join.  Scholar Athletes is such an incredible organization and I think we could benefit from using more social media platforms to show people just how amazing we really are and how many students we are helping towards brighter futures.

 

 

Me in a Nutshell

Hi Everyone,

My name is Heather and I am currently residing in Andover, MA, just about 20 minutes north of Boston.  I am an avid Boston sports fan, especially loving the Bruins and Patriots.  Sports are a long love of mine, with ice hockey being my absolute favorite.  I played collegiately and have also had experience coaching at that level as well.  After completing my first Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, I realized that I wanted a career involving sports.  I now am pursuing a second Master’s Degree in Sports Management with a certification in Athletic Administration from SNHU.  My blog will mainly be me discussing sports as they are a true passion of mine, but also tie in my family, friends, and learning experiences through out my life.  Enjoy!

-Heather Paonessa

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