I was recently asked specifically which social media platform I feel is best for sports agents in attracting and reaching potential new clients in what is already a very saturated industry. While my answer was geared primarily toward that industry, I am confident that it would remain the same for the vast majority of professions.
My answer is LinkedIn, which is probably not even close to the top of the list for most, but absolutely should be. It is commonly viewed as the go-to social network for people searching for new job opportunities, but has applications far beyond that very select capacity.
As I've said many times, I am not a sports agent, but I work with many of them and deal with their drama as well as their successes. And as I've said before, I've come to learn that we, as service providers, need to spend more time conducting due diligence on our own potential clients.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are fun platforms where you get to somewhat determine a person's character, but if you want to find the true business men and women in the world of athletics and beyond, then look no further than LinkedIn. And I think those are some of the most prized clients for an agent to have.
I was once told that 10% of your clients make up 90% of your problems, and that it should be your goal to always work on narrowing that initial number down. That comes primarily through conducting proper due diligence on your own potential clients and I find LinkedIn to be the best social network for that.
On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you may be able to get a good sense of the types of content that people wish to share with the world and the maturity level of an individual. However, those social networks do not nearly paint an overall picture of an individual and his or her professional ambitions as well as successes as a LinkedIn profile with serious recommendations may accomplish. Further, LinkedIn more readily notifies you of who that individual is also connected with and could open the door to a brand new network of qualified individuals.
As veteran sports agent Leigh Steinberg says, the key to being a great agent is representing great clients, which is true for anyone who is in a services-based industry. But even Steinberg admits that it is easier said than done. I find the third bullet point in Steinberg's article to be of most relevance when he says,
Profile the type of athlete most likely to respond to you. Pick the sports you feel an expertise in. Look for the family background, geographical location, personality that produces athletes likely to respond. Research them. I realized in my early years that bright, ambitious role model athletes were the only ones who would respond to our admonition to retrace their roots--establishing scholarships and foundations at the high school, collegiate, and professional level. Players outside that profile were unlikely to be interested.
If the athlete is on LinkedIn, and more of them are joining by the day, then searching by geographical location is made easy. Looking for the role models will cut out the guys who may be fickle and prone to switch agencies throughout their careers, as many are wont to do. But always make sure that when using any social media platform, whether it be LinkedIn or otherwise, that all restrictions on communicating with and recruiting either represented clients or individuals with student-athlete eligibility are strictly followed.