We have all seen professional athlete social media miscues. Who can forget Rashard Mendenhall’s controversial Osama tweet?
The sports world is definitely getting on the social media bandwagon. Team Facebook pages are ubiquitous as are player Tweets. Sports marketing has embraced social media because of the unprecedented connection it fosters with the fan base. However, many players are still not cashing in on this opportunity. Below are 3 reasons for players to invest in their own marketing via social media.
Increasing Endorsement Opportunities
Who could forget LeBron’s live decision to take his talents, and bank account, to South Beach? LeBron signed a six-year contract for $110 million. Not too shabby. However, that is only part of his total earnings as he has signed several lucrative endorsement deals as well. For instance, the Nike deal alone has an estimated value of $90 million.
For professional athletes looking to capitalize on the endorsement market before their playing days are over, social media can help. Athlete social media usage can monetize their popularity because brands are looking to gain access to their fans. By building a strong following on social media, an athlete improves his/her marketability to companies looking for ways to spend their sports marketing dollars.
Develop A Personal Brand That Connects With Fans
Has an athlete captured your attention and made you a loyal follower because of a post/video/tweet you have seen from them or about them? Just look at Jeremy Lin. Of course he has been all over sports highlights, but his inspiring story has spread like wildfire on social media channels. Many people had their initial exposure to the #Linsanty because of YouTube. An athlete’s personal sports marketing via social media enable them to connect with fans and scale the relationship in a way that they have never been able to before. Athlete’s can monetize this exposure in numerous ways.
The perfect example of an athlete using social media effectively to build a brand is Shaq. Shaq’s social media platforms give fans a unique insight into his world that would not otherwise be available. Thus creating a cult following that is eager to consume and spread his latest content.
Preparing For Life After The Last Game
At a young age, professional athletes are signed to large contracts based on their perceived future value. However, a professional sports career can be short lived. For instance, the average baseball career is 5 years and the average football career is about 3 years. So after the bright lights of the big stage have faded away, most professional athletes will not have made enough to last them for the rest of their days. If these athletes are smart, they can leverage their popularity while they are still playing to plan for life after sports. Whether a player wants to go into broadcasting, sports management, player relations or just hold speaking engagements, he/she can perform their own sports marketing via social media to help them benefit from their careers long after their last game.
Social media is the new chapter in sports marketing and the intelligent athlete will boost his/her potential by engaging with their fan base in this new era.
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