Owners, General Managers, Athletic Directors, and Coaches understand better than most the need to secure top talent for their sports team. However, they have not just paid lip service to this belief. Instead, they have relentlessly adopted innovative recruiting practices focused on gaining a competitive advantage for their organizations. These innovations are naturally evolving to include the increased use of social media tools in recruiting.
Prior innovative practices from sports teams include: using quantitative analytics to predict performance for player selection, building relationships early with prospective recruits (sometimes as soon as middle school), and utilizing team stars to sell recruits on organizational value. Some teams have become extremely adept at leveraging these innovations to continually secure the best talent. The talent advantage enables these teams to consistently compete and ultimately win championships. Competitive teams attract supportive fans which generate millions of dollars in revenue through ticket, merchandise, and concession sales. Prospective recruits see this success on the playing field, and a virtuous recruiting cycle is created.
Given their forward-looking mindset, how are sports organizations and athletes leveraging social media for their continued success? In many ways, the sports world is using social media tools to increase the effectiveness of existing recruiting practices. Teams are using these new tools to better support their strategic goals of sourcing, screening, and selecting the best talent. For example, a recent story highlighted a University of Georgia commit using Facebook to encourage a prospective recruit to get in touch with their coach. Imagine how effective this type of peer-led, social engagement is on conversion ratio for a top quality, prospective recruit. Coaching staffs are also diligently sifting through student athlete profiles to determine whom to target for their next recruiting class. Student athletes eager to continue their sports careers at the next level are getting more and more advanced at communicating their value proposition to teams through YouTube videos and Facebook fan pages. Mutual recognition of the power of these new social media tools means that their usage will continue to increase.
Prior innovations that sports organizations adopted with the goal of securing the best talent suggest that these teams are not just jumping on the social media bandwagon. Rather, these early experiments are the practices of teams that recognize the value of social media and are moving quickly to unlock the key factors for success. By focusing on "How to use social media?" versus "Should I use social media?" in recruiting; these organizations will quickly learn what does and does not work. Companies eager to maintain a competitive recruiting advantage may want to take note of the early-adoption already happening in the sports world.
About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay Inc., a social recruiting community that connects college students and corporations.
I enjoyed reading this article, and I highly agree with you that being a proactive in the industry you set yourself as a competitive in the market, and this leads to fruitful success in the future. The social media has now bridged the gaps between both recruiters and new talent, and this remarkable tool will unleash the fastest growth in hiring of new talents. Companies who will focus on How to use social media, because of the fragmentation, can really outpace the competition.
Thanks for the comment. You are exactly right, the best time to gain a sustainable advantage is during periods of uncertainty. Right now, there are still lots of questions about Should I use Social Media? While this question is certainly valid, those who have already answered yes are now figuring out the how. To me, this is how the greatest learning and ultimate success will take place.