For athletes to maximize their income during their ‘athletic window’ (and even after retirement) it’s not enough to simply excel on the playing field, court or track. To ensure their next contract has the most value possible, and to fuel the most lucrative endorsements, athletes now need a devoted fanbase on social media. Fans want to connect directly with athletes, more than the teams and leagues they love. And that’s also what sponsors want to see – an active social fan base.
An engaged social media following will increase a player’s actual earnings, and earning potential as they hand up their boots, gloves, and helmet. Engaged social media fans it will provide more opportunities after a player’s athletic window closes. It’s now an imperative for athletes to build and maintain a robust personal brand that grows with them through their playing career.
For general managers, sports marketers and player relations staff, understanding the right approach to helping athletes boost and maintain their social media presence is the first – and most critical step – in helping them. When athletes actively participate on social media, they’re helping themselves but also helping their team, league and sponsors reach more fans. And, it’s great for fans, too – everybody wins.
Where to start?
Athletes Are Daily Social Media Users, Too
Social media now plays a huge part in just about everyone’s life. We use different social platforms to stay in touch with our friends and check out the latest news, trends and connect with people that we admire who were previously ‘untouchable’. Social media lets us keep up with the lives of some of our favorite sports personalities. Gen Z, in particular, is continually scrolling their feeds, sometimes up to 8 hours a day!
It’s the same for athletes. More and more, they’re social natives, checking their feeds on social media every day. It’s time for sports organizations to embrace that and support their social efforts. Actually help them develop a personal brand on social platforms.
Millions of fans worldwide want to keep up with their favorite athletes — even more than their best-loved sports teams. It’s become increasingly important for many athletes to maintain a consistent presence on social media, share regular glimpses into their lives, and engage with their audiences authentically with original content. That’s true whether we’re talking about a footballer, rugby player, or an elite or emerging player in any other sport. Social media can greatly impact an athlete’s contract value, endorsement chances and overall career success.
And that positive response for an athlete naturally cascades to their team or league. Sports organizations benefit from more fan engagement in the form of increased loyalty, revenue and brand value for partners. For player relations and marketing teams, supporting your athletes’ interests and activities on social media is now critical. It’s among the easiest ways to strengthen your vital relationships with them and grow your business.
Let’s explore some top wins in supporting social media and athletes and helping your players reach their potential as personal brands and marketing partners for your organization. In addition, get our key tips for assisting your players with optimizing those activities.
Athletes and Social Media Presence Offer Big Benefits
There are many advantages to supporting professional social media accounts for athletes. Here are some of the top benefits of prioritizing athletes and social media.
Helps Them Build Their Personal brand — and Yours
Whether they’re just starting out or looking to take their career to the next level, a professional social media account can help individual athletes develop a strong personal brand.
Their social media accounts, whether on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or all of them, will become a representation of them as athletes. For example, they can convey the kind of person they are and share knowledge about the things that matter to them. They can also offer their network a unique glimpse into their daily lives — something that not everyone gets to see.
That authenticity helps athletes build deeply engaging brand profiles and connections to fans and audiences. Their positive public image on social media brings athletes more sponsors for endorsements and other lucrative opportunities. It enhances your organization at the same time.
Athletes Are Your Best Promoters
Here’s our free 3-step plan to activate your athletes as your best social marketers — with the digital media you capture daily.
Increases Awareness for Your League and Team
More socially-active players and engaged supporters enable your team or league to drive awareness, brand value and revenue. And this goes for your sponsor and broadcast partners, too.
Many people use social media to promote their goods and services. The same approach applies to players and the teams for which they play. When athletes are active on social media, sports organizations instantly multiply their reach and resonance with fans worldwide. They can boost ticket and merchandise sales and other business lines.
A social media account offers athletes a ready-made platform to speak about everything from their sport and team success to their training regimes and charitable interests. This activity can help leagues and teams to stand out from the competition. Also, it can help them get noticed by investors and new partners and build brand loyalty with young fans.
Gains More Fans Who Are Engaged With Players’ Daily Lives
Fans are critical to ongoing success in sports, particularly Gen Z audiences. Suppose an athlete is consistent with their approach to social media. In that case, they can quickly access thousands or even millions of loyal supporters eager to watch the next move of their favorite player and team. And player social accounts far surpass any sports organization’s owned channels by a wide margin. Some clubs we work with at Greenfly have players whose social followings outstrip the population of their own home countries!
The more an athlete grows in popularity, the more fans around the globe they can attract to support and proactively engage with your team or league as well.
Helps Your Recruiting Efforts
Finally, social media usage can be an effective tool for attracting talented young people who are just starting out on their sporting journeys and are looking to be recruited.
When teams and leagues give their athletes personalized, high-quality photos and videos, they create a self-perpetuating cycle of support. Athletes who become popular social media personalities help your organization gain an edge in recruiting other choice players who want to develop their own strong brands, too. These standouts value the assistance they get from those teams that actively help them reach their goals. With your support, they’re more willing to help your organization meet your business objectives, too.
10 Tips To Support Athletes for Social Media Success
To start optimizing social media accounts as an essential part of an athlete’s growth, below are 10 top tips they should follow.
Since athletes have many demands on their time, sports marketing and player relations teams can bolster these activities. They can do this through personalized communications and conversations with their players to help them make the most of their social media efforts.
- Think about how you want to define your personal brand.
- Find the best social platform for your brand, audience and the content you want to share.
- Look at what other athletes you admire are doing on social media to reach their followers.
- Interact with your fan base (and even teammates) as much as possible.
- Set realistic goals you want to achieve from your social media use.
- Ask for help to manage posts through publicists, agents, etc.
- Check social analytics for what content resonates (e.g., rates for comments, likes & shares).
- Be consistent with posts to grow an audience so they know when to seek your new content.
- Be authentic — post original media and share your unique stories and commentaries.
- Create content you think will be interesting and engaging to fans — and do your research.
There are plenty of sports marketing examples that show how effective social media can be for players.
Social Media for Young Athletes Is a Win
In conclusion, social media is an extremely effective tool for young athletes and seasoned pros alike to increase their followers and popularity. Any athlete can quickly build a brand for themselves by utilizing growth tools and creating engaging content. And those strong personal profiles can quickly lift their organizations to new heights.
With an effective content strategy plan in place, athletes’ social media accounts can help them land more lucrative brand endorsements and contracts. They can also help them enhance their reputations as elite athletes.
Today, having a social media account is extremely important for any athlete. When they use the right tools to amplify their voice and expand their fanbase, any athlete — and their team or league — can reap the rewards.
Amplify Your Players’ Voices on Social Media With Greenfly
If you’re ready to take your social media account activity with athletes to the next level, you need the right tools.
At Greenfly, we help sports organizations harness the power of your biggest advocates to extend your reach and engage with your audiences in new, innovative ways. We enable sports teams and leagues worldwide to optimize the digital media they capture every day. And we help them deliver it to players and partners when and where fans are looking for it.
Many digital and player relations teams that rely on Dropbox links and Whatsapp to exchange media with athletes and other groups struggle with the back-and-forth, time-consuming hassle of these methods. With Greenfly, these teams can focus on solving other challenges. Also, they can keep their direct line of communication open through the platform’s integrated messaging system.
Request a demo to learn how Greenfly can help you build more brand awareness in sports!