If you’re not in their phones, you’re not in their lives.
That’s a reality for coaches out on the recruiting trail in today’s social media-driven world. The athletes they are attempting to woo are significantly different than previous generations when it comes to how they consume sports, build relationships and interact with the world.
It’s a generation that has grown up with smartphones and social media. It has watched age-group peers become YouTube millionaires and arrives on campus both with social-media followings and a desire — perhaps even an expectation — for assistance with personal branding.
And it is a generation that no longer is tied to traditional media such as television to follow their favorite teams, meaning it’s a generation that also isn’t bound by geography. One can be a diehard fan of a team — or perhaps even more common, of a particular athlete — as fervently from a 1,000 miles away as one can from across the street. Social media makes that possible.
Forward-thinking recruiters such as those at Penn State are understanding these new realities, and they are turning to technology for an assist. Gaining an edge in recruiting is one reason clients such as PSU Football subscribe to Influencer (INFLCR), according to founder and CEO Jim Cavale.
Penn State has used the software to distribute content to its coaches throughout the 2018-19 recruiting cycle.
“There are going to be winners and losers in this rapidly evolving college sports social-media space,” Cavale says. “The early adopters like Penn State who embrace these realities are going to gain a competitive edge because it is increasingly going to be an expectation of the players being recruited that they will have access to content and get help with their personal brand.”
Unlike most other INFLCR clients, who launch with teams, Penn State initiated its use of INFLCR with its football coaching staff before activating INFLCR with its student-athletes.
INFLCR is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform for sports team properties to store, track and deliver their content across their brand-ambassador network of athletes, coaches, former athletes, media, etc.
Each brand ambassador can access their personalized gallery of content on their INFLCR mobile app, which they can use to download and share specific content to their social media platforms, with all user activity tracked back to an INFLCR dashboard for the sports team properties.
PSU coaches get access to content produced by the school’s multimedia and recruiting staffs — photos, graphics, videos, etc. — delivered to personalized galleries on their smartphones via the INFLCR mobile app. So far in the 2018-19 recruiting season, the PSU content team has uploaded hundreds of content images into the school’s INFLCR account; coaches then can easily download that content to use it in messaging to recruits.
No more screenshotting, no more inefficiency, no more having to stop on the road to get graphics out of a dropbox or copied out of a direct message or cumbersome email. INFLCR makes the task easy and efficient, enabling the coaches to work more effectively in their text and direct-message conversations with recruits.
Penn State coaches have easy access to the content produced by the PSU creative team and uploaded to PSU’s INFLCR account for efficient distribution to recruits.
The advantages for the coaches are significant, according to INFLCR business development executive Josh Taylor. Before he joined INFLCR, Taylor was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at both NCAA Division III and FCS institutions.
“The ability to have full access to all of our digital content with the click of a button is a game changer for recruiting,” Taylor says. “The days of scrambling to find some pictures of the campus or the locker room are over. INFLCR allows me to organize and access any and all content I decide to upload to the app. I can then text that content to any recruit directly to their phone.”
While this certainly helps the coaches, INFLCR brings other benefits that translate into recruiting. For starters, INFLCR makes it possible for teams to provide their student-athletes with a personalized digital catalogue of all the content featuring them produced by the school, delivered right to their phones via the INFLCR app.
This content enables the student-athletes to tell their own stories on social media featuring content the school is already investing in, therefore building their personal brands on social within the context of the team brand.
Who better to tell the team’s story than the student-athletes who live it every day?
It also is important to recognize who is following those student-athletes: Recruits — including prospects schools like Penn State might not even know they will be recruiting … yet.
“It’s highly probable that a university’s first touchpoint to a prospective student-athlete won’t be an official social-media account or even a coach,” Cavale says. “It will occur when a young person follows one of your student-athletes. They’ll see a highlight on social media and go follow that athlete on Instagram or Twitter. What they see — or don’t see — will make an impression about the program. It might be the first impression.”
INFLCR makes it possible for universities to empower their student-athletes to better tell the stories of their college-sports experience, within the context of the team, while growing both their individual audiences and those of the program.
INFLCR makes it possible for student-athletes to receive great content produced at significant investment by the university, organized for them in the palm of their hands as a personalized gallery of their collegiate experience.
And INFLCR makes it possible for coaches to efficiently use that great content to recruit the next generation of athletes at the school.
As Cavale says, “It’s win-win-win for everyone.”
*If you’d like your teams to experience the power of INFLCR, click here to request a demo.
INFLCR is a SaaS platform for sports team properties to store, track and deliver their content across their brand-ambassador network of athletes, coaches, former athletes, media, etc. Each brand ambassador can access their personalized gallery of content on their INFLCR mobile app, which they can use to download and share specific content to their social media platforms, with all influencer user activity tracked back to an INFLCR dashboard for the sports team properties. In its first year, INFLCR has signed and renewed software subscription partnerships with more than 30 college, high school and professional sports team properties, including iconic college sports team brands like the University of Miami Football and the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball. For more information or to request a demo, visit http://22.214.171.124/
Sign up for the INFLCR #SMsports newsletter.