After my presentation last Thursday, I wanted to continue to research on my topic since I feel like there is still so much we can gather from athletes and their usage of social media to grow their brand. Clearly social media has become a huge PR platform and will only continue to grow. It has proven to be a great tool for many people to connect with fans and also grow their brands. I showed a couple of strategies that Steph Curry uses on his Instagram last week, but here we can see how athletes from all over the world utilize social media to gain leverage.
I mentioned some aspects of how professional athletes will use Instagram to increase their popularity with fans. However, there are many more popular athletes, such as Andre Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, who has different but just as effective marketing strategies. On his Facebook, he constantly updates his profile with his charity work and involvement in the local community. These posts are very easy for fans to connect with and prove to be very effective.
Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the most popular athlete in the world and the Real Madrid forward has about 47.1 million followers on Twitter. Since he is a global phenomenon, his followers come from all over the world. To connect with each and everyone he Tweets in English, Portugese, Spanish, and sometimes in Mandarin when Real Madrid tours in China. Since he can reach fans on Twitter and Facebook from all over the world, he can easily promote his Nike products. Many of his posts on social media include his Nike cleats, apparel, and other products. His large following contributes to the popularity of his short Nike movies he is featured in (Trust me, I’m not saying that all the short films are good!). The films are watched from each corner of the world and they help promote his clothing company, Nike, and his own personal image since many of the films are also in different languages with many more languages available via subtitles. One of the most recent and more popular Nike short films, “The Switch,” includes many of these global aspects by including athletes from across the world. This video was seen all over the world and has over 55 million views, so check it out for yourself!
Jenson Button, a very well known Formula One driver from England uses Question & Answer techniques to stay close with his fans. He will sometimes go back and forth with fans to stir up a discussion about anything to stay connected with them. Some of these discussions are just about trending topics in any sport or about current events. Button is very easy to relate to since he posts and replies to his followers just like any common user would do so. Also, he loves tagging other famous athletes in his posts and he will have comments going back and forth with other athletes so followers could see what Button likes to talk about with his friends, who just happen to be famous as well.
Another common strategy I have noticed athletes doing is posting certain products as free giveaways! For either answering a trivia question correctly, or if they get a desired amount of retweets or likes on their post, the athlete will select a winner. Greg Jennings, when he played for the Minnesota Vikings, used Twitter as a platform to promote his football gloves and also give some away to fans. He did this for his 500th career reception and many players do these giveaways for smaller matters just as a way to show fans that they care about them. The fans could then like the product and Nike benefits from an increase in sales.
When social media was first taking off I can see athletes fearing the fact that their whole lives would be displayed on these platforms. They would lose out on the intimate aspects of their lives that common users of social media still enjoy. Nevertheless, I’m sure athletes in this generation sure do not mind as much anymore, because the popularity they can gain. The pictures, videos, posts, tweets, all have a profound effect on their brand and image. We, as fans, can get a very good understanding of who this football player is behind the helmet when we see his involvement with his community, interests outside of his sport, and by the way he interacts with fans.
During my presentation I mentioned a few very basic methods some athletes, such as Steph Curry, will use their Instagram. They usually have pictures with their family, company and their products. However, there are many more marketing techniques that we have all seen on various social media platforms. Charity involvement, a global presence, interacting with fans, and giveaways, are all interesting marketing techniques that athletes around the world utilize in order to grow their brand.