LinkedIn is the most professional and powerful social media platform out there. Being a professional athlete and receiving a scholarship to play football at The Ohio State University at a very young age, I realized how powerful social media really was especially when I played on the Buckeyes when Twitter was at its peak and Instagram was really taking off. I love those platforms when I'm performing well or scoring a touchdown. When I'm not performing well on the field, I receive poisonous tweets and negative comments on my Instagram photos. As an athlete and a human being, these things can really hurt your mind and what your actual agenda is. With LinkedIn, I never not received so much love and positive energy from the members on LinkedIn regardless of what I posted or my status on the field.
LinkedIn is where every athlete should be and I think they will be very soon:
#1 Rekindling Relationships from High School and College
You never know who you may connect with on LinkedIn and see where that conversation can lead into. For example, I was having my 2nd Annual CHARG1NG Youth Football Camp this past summer and we needed position coaches for the participants since we wanted to ensure that they were coming to a football camp , and not a Braxton Miller meet & greet. The goal of the camp was for them to become better football players and understand that there is a life after football where there is a 99% chance that none of the participants would make it to the NFL. You need to educate them on the reality of it that there is more to football so we had an additional educational program to it as well. NOW, this where it gets really really interesting. I was ranked #1 Dual-Threat QB in Ohio and Patrick Coyne was #2. We connected on LinkedIn and he then volunteered to be the QB coach at the CHARG1NG Camp.
#2 Football Doesn't Last Forever
According to the NFL Players Association the average career length is about 3.3 years. Eventually you will need to find another passion outside of football that can continue your professional career. On LinkedIn, there are companies, business owners, and professionals you can connect with to create and develop those relationships over time. Connect with individuals in the region or state where you are currently playing or played. Since I went to The Ohio State University, I connected with class alumni who own businesses based out of Ohio.
#3 Update Your Fans
Content is key in growing your personal brand on all social media platforms. Yes, we all post on Instagram and Twitter which is great but there are other platforms out there that can continue to grow your fanbase where you don't receive the criticism and negativity that you would on Twitter as after a bad pass thrown or dropped ball. On LinkedIn, the audience you're targeting are business professionals. If you post video highlights of your last game, you will engage your fans and receive continued support. If you post a photo of you and your family, people will know your family oriented and not just a football player. If you write an inspirational quote, people will be inspired and continue to believe in you. They will show support and comment with positivity.
Come join me on LinkedIn and connect.