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Social media – a love-hate relationship

Updated: May 9

Many athletes have a certain love-hate relationship with social media. On the positive side your social channels give you the opportunity to show who you are and what you care about besides your sport. You can engage with your fans from all over the world – even the ones who have never been able to see you play. With having a following on your socials, you are also able to attract sponsors who want to link their business to your name. Being active on social media is therefore almost a must.

And that’s where it changes sometimes – with the feeling of having to be actively present on social media. It might be stressfull when you don’t know what to post or what caption to use. The comments you might receive can have a bad influence on your confidence – not even mentioning all the weird messages you receive from strangers. And some things you just don’t want to share with everyone, because it might have a negative side effect. So that doesn’t sound that fun anymore, does it?

At Valenze we understand that not every player is a big fan of social media. For some of the reasons I just mentioned, or just because you don’t really like to put yourself out there. And that’s totally okay! Your athlete brand does not depend entirely on your social media, as we mentioned with our offline strategies as well.

Your social channels are very useful tools to grow your name though and therefore we would always advice athletes to use it in their advantage. So let’s discuss some of the positive sides of social media that are within reach for everyone – also those who don’t like to use it at all.

1. Share your story.

Traditionally reporters wrote an athlete’s story. They could make someone big and famous, but also keep someone small and unknown. Social media gives you the opportunity to tell your own story. Does that mean you should take photos and videos of everything you do and put it online? Of course not. So what do you need to do to write your own story?

A well-thought strategy makes the difference. It gives you clarity about why you want to post something and what that post should be about. Ever doubted about what on earth you should put on your Instagram that day? You felt the discomfort of thinking about something new, only to not be considered inactive? With your strategy you have laid your foundation for all your communication – both online as offline. It gives you a clear direction on what to publish next on your channel. And the best thing is that you can stay 100% yourself.

2. Engage with fans.

Since the internet came into our world, people everywhere can connect with each other. You are not restricted to the circle of people that you meet in person, but also online people can meet you. On social media you can build a relationship with people that have maybe never even seen you on the pitch. And still they can become big fans of yours!

Online fan engagement

These fans want the best for you and the more meaningful you make the connection, the more loyal they will be. By positioning yourself in your authentic way, you give them the feeling to know you personally and connect with you. You definitely should not pretend to be someone you don’t want to be! People connect with you because of who you are. Maybe at first, they follow you because of your sport or sports team but eventually the loyal fans are most important. So allow them to follow you and get to know you – they will give you more opportunities than you might think!

3. Create partnerships.

Having those loyal fans open doors to potential partners, both during as after your sports career. The most obvious is the sponsor who offers you free products or some cash in exchange for promotion of their products on your social channels. If you have a clear identity as an athlete, you don’t need to be a huge influencer to attract these type companies. With loyal fans you have something companies with the same values and interests as you desire. That’s why a partnership with those businesses make even more sense and will feel much more natural for you!

Besides attracting sponsors also networking with these companies is a benefit of social media – especially on LinkedIn. With being active on social media, sharing your values and identity, you basically build your live CV. During your career you don’t have a lot of time to gain work experience out of your sport, while you need to land a job after retiring. This is something many athletes are struggling with. But by using your social channels wisely you can already show your qualities and characteristics during your career and build relationships with companies you might want to work for in the future.

Even for the social media hating athletes, there are many good reasons to be active on your channels. You might need some external help to develop your social strategies and Valenze can help you with that. Social media is an important tool for building an outstanding athlete brand and we therefore coach on this area as well. Would you like to know more about how we could help you? Leave us a message and we will schedule a call!

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