social media

The ‘social’ science of recruiting

“If you want to be a good recruiter in today’s college football, you have to be on [social media],” Iowa State director of scouting John Kuceyeski said. “If you’re not doing it, you’re going to get beat by somebody that’s doing it. You have to be out there. You have to be different. You have to be completely visible and be accessible, and the best way to do that in today’s recruiting world is through social media.”

In that meeting, Kuceyeski threw out #AStormIsBrewing as the hashtag the Cyclone coaches would use when posting anything on Twitter that was recruiting-related, and #SoundTheSirens would be the tag they would use when landing a commitment. ISU recruiters were also encouraged by Kuceyeski to liberally use the tornado emoji when posting.

Both hashtags — and especially the twister emojis — are hits with fans and prospects, and have helped generate the positive recruiting momentum Campbell wanted for his new program. But in the larger picture, Iowa State’s hashtag and emoji success symbolizes a social media revolution that has forever changed the way football coaches recruit.

“We’re using social media to rebrand Iowa State football,” Campbell said. “We have to brand to recruits what’s our style of play, who our coaches are, and what’s the culture we’re trying to put in place here. We’re trying to create a culture that young people say, ‘Man, I want to be a part of something like that,’ or ‘Hey, I’m interested in going to see what’s going on,’ and ‘Why is that place special right now?’

“I never thought I would have a meeting to talk about hashtags and emojis, let alone have it be a focus in our first staff meeting. … but stuff like that creates excitement around your program. We wanted to make sure we were generating some excitement that was tied with the new hire and the new coaches, and hopefully create momentum going forward on the recruiting trail.”

Whether it’s through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or some other app, social media has invaded every aspect of the recruiting process.