Shortcuts To Social Media Success For Athletes

Social media has provided fans around the globe a window into the lives of their favorite athletes. Through the various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) fans are connected with athletes everywhere on a level previously available to only those within the athlete’s immediate circle. By “following” an athlete, fans develop what is referred to as a “para-social interaction,” which makes you feel like you know an athlete based on how he/she portrays him/herself on social media. Sometimes, this can even be turned into an actual relationship as was seen when a Clemson student used a Tweet to land a job.

All this access to an athlete’s life can be seen as either a positive or a negative, depending on the content shared. If an athlete is careful and executes his/her social media presence properly, it can be leveraged for opportunities with companies and brands that otherwise might not have been available. The great thing about social media is that even after an athlete’s career comes to an end, he/she can still be actively involved on social and continue earning in retirement.

Becoming a pro on social media is no easy task, however. Teams and leagues have social media teams sending out consistent messaging in order to best represent the brand. As a professional athlete, you too are a brand (if you need help on developing your personal brand, our friends over at NexGoal published some tips to get you started). Establishing your personal brand during your playing career is key and can set up an athlete for continued success in retirement. An easy way to start out is through consistent social media messaging among your various accounts.

Dan Porter, CEO of Overtime, has five social media secrets for athletes to use to build their social media presence above and beyond the game while still playing – when people care the most.

Post good photos

These days it is rare to see someone walking around with an actual camera – not one on your smartphone. While it is easier to take a quick picture on your phone and upload it to various social media networks, having a high-quality photo to post will draw more attention.

Show us (the followers) your life

There is a fine line between sharing and oversharing when it comes to social media. However, fans generally like to see that elite athletes are just like them and do normal, everyday things. Sitting in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store or going through security at the airport are all things that fans can easily relate to.

Work in pop culture

It seems that there is a new viral sensation with the changing of the season and users become more creative. Last fall, athletes and teams everywhere were taking part in the “Mannequin Challenge” trying to one-up each other in terms of creativity. When an athlete participates in a pop culture trend, fans feel more connected because they too can partake.

Behind the scenes

Richard Jefferson took followers through the Cavs’ 2016 NBA Championship run. Photo via Busted Coverage.

One of the best parts about following an athlete on social media is the behind the scenes look at their life off the court/field/etc. Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson has taken a liking to Snapchat and is quite entertaining to follow (RJeff24). In an article with Crain’s Cleveland Business, he said “Snap was truly an accident. I wanted to show a different side of our team, to crack jokes.” He did just that, documenting the team’s journey to the 2016 NBA Championship. His “Snapchatting” led to him being named the “2016 Snapchatter of the Year” by USA Today’s For the Win.

Get some help

Social media has literally turned into a job in many industries, sports included. By enlisting the help of someone who is creative and tuned into different trends, your social media presence can improve. According to Porter, “Likes are power are followers are money are security are life after sports and occasionally, are fun.”

Social media has become more than just a way to stay in touch with family and friends. While some people (athletes included) have been hesitant to become involved, the opportunities that an active and engaging social media presence provide make it hard to pass up. Brands are constantly aligning with personalities to promote a product or service and the rise of “influencers” has caused social media to turn into a booming industry with tons of potential.

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