Northwestern Uses Social Media To Connect, But Recruiting Goes Deeper
Now Instagram is trending among social-media platforms.
"The private messaging feature on Instagram isn't quite as user-friendly (as Twitter)," said Chris Bowers, Northwestern's director of player personnel, "but it's doable."
Bowers then joked: "We don't know what's next, but as I told the recruits: 'If you're on Tinder, you're not finding your coaches, so you probably need to stay off of that.'"
This is prime recruiting season for all schools, but especially Northwestern, which did not make a bowl game.
Recruiting strategies mirror the habits of the teenagers being wooed. That's where Bowers comes in. The 37-year-old Ohio native and Wittenberg graduate determines the best way to reach prospects — and what mechanisms to avoid.
"Some schools out there, they're trying to be Hashtag U," he said. "Everything they do is built around their hashtag. That's hot and trendy, but at the end of the day, it's like what I say about my wife: I didn't marry her because she's pretty. I went on a first date with her because she's pretty. I married her because of her values and character. And that's the way it is with social media. Some kids will take a look at us for (social media) or our cool Under Amour uniforms. But if they marry us, it better be for something beyond that. It's a big commitment."
Bowers also said Northwestern uses social media to weed out potential recruits: "It's important, how students are portraying themselves. A couple of jokes could do some damage."
One of the jewels of NU's 2014 class, Wheaton North quarterback Clayton Thorson, did not use Facebook or Twitter when NU coaches began recruiting him.
"We had to email him," Bowers said. "That was awesome, like 1995 again. It was nostalgic."
By Teddy Greenstein, published on chicagotribune.com