I enjoy Twitter. I created a Twitter account in 2011 after losing a job. I was told it would be a good place to network. You can follow me here if you don’t already.
It was really neat to start to get followers! And start to meet people. One of the first folks I remember DMing with was Coach Jaime Ortiz, the Head Football Coach at San Clemente High School here in Southern California. I had heard about Coach Ortiz for years, but had never met the man. Turns out, he’s a pretty good guy. You can follow him here.
A college coach reached out to me about a kid in 2013, and he ended up becoming the first football player in 10 years to receive a scholarship from the school I was working at. All because of a connection via Twitter!
A connection on Twitter helped me find a job in 2014, at Oak Hills High School. I corresponded with Coach Metzger for about a year; he was in the next city over from me. And when he knew I was looking for a new opportunity, he reached out to me about a position they had. I interviewed for the job, and got it.
In 2016, MaxPreps named me one of the Top 5 Coaches To Follow on Twitter. That was kind of cool.
I have met some really, really great people through this social media platform.
For instance, this past January at the USA Football Conference in Orlando, Florida I heard “Coach Fore” from a loud voice off to the side. I turned towards the direction of the voice, but didn’t recognize the coach right away. As he got closer, I was able to see the name Mike Rowe on his name tag. Immediately, I smiled and we shook hands. I’ve been talking to Coach Rowe for probably four or five years on Twitter, and through email. He seemed like a long lost friend!
In January at the AFCA Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina I found myself in the car of an 8 man football coach from that beautiful state. We went out to dinner to talk 8 man football. It was a great conversation, and I made a friend in “real life” after talking with him just through Twitter over a few weeks. Chris Campfield is the Director of Football Operations and Offensive Coordinator at St. David’s School in North Carolina.
I had the great opportunity to sit with a new friend at the Glazier Clinic in Los Angeles one night. Again, someone I had met on Twitter years ago. His name is Rik Stewart, a wing t guru! We sat with a coach from Alaska, Chris Battle who we met on Twitter, and heard stories about being chased off of practice fields by polar bears!
All in all, as you can see in a few examples, Twitter has been a really cool tool!
Every now and then I’ll receive an email or a DM from a newer person to Twitter asking me how I grew my twitter followers. So I thought I would share a few keys about building an audience, at least what I believe has helped me.
TWEET RELEVANT INFORMATION
A large majority of what I tweet has to do with coaching high school football, something I’ve done for 16 years, and something I’m very passionate about. If you stay relevant in the discussion of whatever you choose to stay relevant in, your audience will grow.
A lot of folks out there, especially the “younger” generation just retweet stuff all of the time. They will retweet 10-12 things for every 1 of their own original tweets. I don’t think people like that nearly as much as original thought, original ideas.
TWEET YOUR OWN CONTENT/ARTICLES
One of the greatest ways that I believe my audience has grown is through my website. I’ve written more than 400 articles at CoachFore.org. Many coaches have told me they enjoy the insight I provide there. When I write an article with relevant information, coaches like it.
I get between 400-600 visitors to my website daily. When I tweet out an article, sometimes that article will get retweeted often. If 20 coaches retweet an article I’ve written, it is not being seen by many people who aren’t yet following me. If they like it, they will follow me. I’ve seen this often when an article I write “hits a nerve.” The more an article is retweeted, the more I will get followers from that certain piece.
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Every one of us have some great advice to give. We all are in totally different scenarios as a coach: rookie coaches, veteran coaches, college coaches, junior high coaches, in the building, outside the building, great admin, poor admin, etc. etc. etc.
You can give advice about a situation you are going through that might help another coach. Tweet your advice. Big or little, majorly important or minor. You never know when your “minor advice” will be “major advice” to someone else.
If you want to grow an audience on Twitter, then you have to tweet often. Some could care less about growing an audience, they don’t really ever tweet, they are just on Twitter to watch. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to grow an audience, you need to tweet something daily in my opinion. At least daily.
You have to engage your followers to help create relationships which will help to build that audience. Some guys never engage with their followers. So, how long will those followers be around? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know that engaging your audience will help them engage you. It’s a two way street.
TWEET LIKE AN EXPERT
If you truly want to build an audience, become an “expert” in something. Be known for that thing, and your audience will build. I have a side business consulting coaches on their job search, resume writing, interview preparation and more. It is called Eight Laces Consulting. So, I have built a strong following on twitter specifically from that expertise that I bring to the game. There aren’t many coaches out there who have this kind of practical experience in helping thousands of coaches with their job search.
There aren’t a lot of “special teams guys” out there, but I would consider myself as being in that little niche as well. I love me some special teams. I’ve been a Special Teams Coordinator for 15 years! So I have a lot of experience to draw from. Again, I’ve written a lot of articles about Special Teams, and have a manual for kick and punt returns and blocks on my website. Sharing unique insight from practices, games, video breakdown, etc. etc. is another thing that has helped my audience to grow.
TWEET ABOUT OTHER THINGS
I recently had a coach DM me. He said “Coach, I really like that you’re a real person; you’re one of my favorite follows.” I asked what he meant by that. He was responding to a tweet I put out there about my kids. A picture of my kid’s science fair project. He said that he likes to know other people deal with the same “crap” he does. I think people appreciate that on twitter. We live in this “Perfect Instagram” world where “life is perfect.” More people will follow you if you’re real, and you don’t just tweet about one thing all the time.
TWEET WITH THE TIMES
Earlier I said to tweet out your articles. BUT, times are a changin. Maintaining an online presence is becoming even MORE visual these days. People aren’t reading as many articles as they are watching videos. You can see this with many of the new stations. They are putting their news in bite size videos now. Graphics are becoming a bigger and bigger deal. So, I’ve started to do some of this lately. Videos take a white to create, edit, produce, etc. But I do have a YouTube channel now. Check it out.
Chris Fore has his Masters degree in Athletic Administration, is a Certified Athletic Administrator and serves as an Adjunct Professor in the M.S. Physical Education – Sports Management program at Azusa Pacific University. Coach Fore runs Eight Laces Consulting where he specializes in helping coaches nationwide in their job search process. Fore was named to the Hudl Top 100 in 2017, and the Top 5 Best High School Football Coaches to follow on Twitter by MaxPreps in 2016. Follow him!