25 Aug A Guide on How to Market An Athlete: Social Media in Sports Marketing (Part 5 of 6)
In our previous guide on how to market an athlete, we’ve discussed the fundamentals of creating sports marketing campaigns. And now that we’ve covered the basics including the importance of SEO and Content marketing, it’s time we delve into the world of social media managing!
Nowadays, marketing strategies feel incomplete without social media platforms. Regardless of the industry a business is based in, they make sure to include their social media accounts in all of their marketing efforts. As we’ve mentioned in our previous articles, the Internet has changed a lot of things for us — including the way businesses marketed themselves.
But one of the most heavily affected industries is the sporting industry! A recent study from the Navigate Research has revealed that 67% of sports fans use Twitter to enhance their viewing experiences. In a nutshell, the social media platform has become the virtual sports bar that fans love to hangout in before, during and after the games.
And with the increasing number of people and fan bases signing up on Twitter and other platforms, it has revolutionized the game! In today’s guide, we’ll be discussing how social media changed the sporting industry and the unique strategies for using social media in sports marketing.
Social Networks in The Sporting Industry
As mentioned earlier, social media accounts have transformed the culture of sports consumption — specifically speaking Twitter. Because of the 160 character count that it has, fans can easily and immediately access sports news. Real-time game updates have become a norm and even sports journalists have used the streamlined platform to share their thoughts in each game.
And as a result of the growing readily-available sports content, fans have changed the individual activity of scrolling through Twitter into a community-building activity. They interact with one another and spend much of their time with other fans engaged in the games — so much so that recent studies have named Twitter as one of the most commonly used platforms for sports.
How did this happen so fast? Well, it’s just modern technology and the Internet doing it’s thing. Keep in mind that nowadays, almost everyone has their own mobile devices that they use for almost anything. They use it to shop, to keep track of their loved ones and to keep themselves updated with their favorite sports leagues!
Soon enough, those in the business of sport realized that platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter offer them a 24/7 connection with their ever-loyal audiences. Sports teams started to spend more time on these platforms interacting with their fan bases and even athletes have started to create their own accounts!
Both Instagram and Twitter have grown to be two of the most used platforms by athletes and teams! It became obvious to both brands and businesses that if they wanted to reach out to their audiences, social media is the right way to go.
It presents you with the opportunity to further strengthen your brand awareness by taking care of your existing relationships while introducing new leads. For instance, if one of your followers shares your Facebook post, there’s a high chance someone from their circle finds it and discovers your brand.
A single tweet or post can reach thousands of people within an hour or so and it won’t cost you much. Hence, increased brand awareness has become one of the main advantages of social media to the industry.
Fan Loyalty And Buyer Motivation
Aside from the factor of building a solid following, social media presented the industry with another benefit that was too good to pass up; the ability to turn fan loyalty into buyer motivation.
Athletes have always been part of the American consuming culture. Just take a look at what Michael Jordan and his hoard of fans did to Nike. The activewear giant used to be smaller before it managed to snag a deal with Jordan and started to create his line of shoes.
There are several other examples that show sports fans are great consumers. But what is social media’s role in all of this? To understand how fan engagement can become buyer motivation, we have to look at the customer engagement theory.
The theory suggests that before consumers make any sort of purchase, they see if the idea of the product or service is aligned with their own personal values. If they are able to identify themselves with the product or the service, they’re more likely to become consumers!
If team players successfully curate a solid relationship with his fans, the more likely they are to buy the products or services he uses. Hence, social media’s ability to bridge the gap between sports fans and their favorite players have become a must!
Nowadays, if athletes or businesses wanted to succeed beyond the court, they should be able to harness social media marketing in sports!
Unique Strategies For Using Social Media in Sports Marketing
Now that you’ve optimized your website and have started your content marketing efforts, it’s time to start expanding your sports marketing campaign further by delving into social media management!
Finding The Right Social Networks For Your Fans
While it may be tempting to just jump on Twitter and start your campaign there, it’s not always the most efficient way of doing things. Keep in mind that despite Twitter’s popularity, the demographics of those who use similar platforms vary widely.
Knowing whether your target audience uses Twitter, Facebook or Instagram more matters, as it can easily determine whether your campaign will be successful or not. That’s why it’s detrimental that you do your own research or else you might waste time developing your presence in the wrong platform.
For example, if your target audience mainly uses Instagram — or at the very least, spends the majority of their time there — it’d be pointless to allocate your resources on other apps like Pinterest. The platform would offer little value in exchange for all your hard work, in comparison to spending more time on other things.
Hence, it’s important to understand your audience thoroughly. By doing so, you can guarantee that you’re reaching the right people!
Sharing Your Story With A Distinct Voice
Storytelling can easily determine your brand’s success in the sporting industry. Why, you ask? Because much of what makes sports appealing to audiences is compelling narratives.
Audiences love cheering for underdogs and are often moved by inspiring stories. But now that almost everyone, everywhere has a story to tell, how can you make sure yours sticks? By using a distinctive voice to tell it — one that your fans relate to!
If you read our very first guide on how to market an athlete, we mentioned the importance of having a brand language when it comes to branding. In case you don’t know what brand language is, it’s the words and tone you use in addressing your audiences.
Your brand language is supposed to be distinct yet cohesive with what your brand is — so make sure that you check the brand guide you’ve created to ensure consistency! If not, there’s a high chance you won’t be catching that big fish — which we’ll discuss later on!
Use your brand guidelines to craft your compelling story and use your brand language to connect with your target audiences through social media. Make sure that you highlight personal and relatable elements as this fosters a trusting connection with your followers!
Leverage Athletes Influence
Going back to our article on sports marketing campaigns and SEO strategies, we mentioned how athletes can leverage their already established following when launching their website and blog. They can guarantee traffic from them and the same thing can definitely be said for social media!
Just take a look at the amount of Youtube videos brands release that feature well-known players! Influence is one of the most significant things businesses look for when it comes to sponsoring athletes. Hence, it’s best that you solidify your online presence further by interacting with your fans online!
Make the time to do Facebook lives or Instagram lives and engage with your fans. Share exciting and relatable content so that fans feel connected. Lastly, make sure everything you share with them is consistent with your brand.
Feedback & Assessment
And because social media is literally your brand’s 24/7 connection to your audiences, why not use it to gather feedback from them!
One great example of this is the way the Boston Red Sox used Twitter’s poll feature to hear from fans. They would ask them which songs they want to play during rain delays and fans happily answered the polls. It left people feeling more engaged as if they were part of the game day experience despite being at home.
Use the platform to gain valuable feedback and assess how you can incorporate them to your brand. The more you listen to your people, the more likely they’ll feel valued by you.
Consistency in Channels Matters
We’ve said in our very first guide and we’ll say it again — consistency matters most in branding. From your web design down to your social media posting, everything has to be cohesive. Keep in mind that brands are built through consistent delivery of their brand promise.
And without consistency, audiences will have a hard time trusting you. This is because consumers want to feel a sense of trust from brands before making any purchasing decision — and this idea is not entirely new.
The concept of purchasing as more of an emotional decision instead of a practical one has been around for a very long time. Hence, it’s important that your fans feel like they can depend on you regardless of the channel of communication they are in.
Use your brand guideline to develop a seamless look across your website and social media accounts. By doing so, your fans will feel more comfortable with your brand. Additionally, as we’ve mentioned earlier, consistency will help you catch the bigger fish — the elusive omnichannel marketing success!
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Defined as a cross-channel disciple that aligns content delivery across various channels, omnichannel marketing is the act of creating a seamless experience for customers. It’s the process of freeing them from the confinement of one channel, allowing them to easily switch platforms.
Nowadays, it’s unacceptable for businesses to simply assume that modern consumers only use one channel at a time. As a matter of fact, a recent study from Google reveals that 98% of American switch devices on the same day.
One minute, your fan is scrolling through your website on their laptop and the next minute, they’re already on their phone. With this in mind, you’d want to make sure they have a smooth experience regardless of where they are.
This seamless transition from their computers to their mobile phones matter to customers more than people realize. Surveys say that brands with solid omnichannel customer engagement retain 89% of their customers in comparison to those who have a weaker one.
When brands provide a cohesive and personalized experience for users, the more valued they feel. The concept is geared towards customer experience — it’s meant to prioritize users.
And while achieving omnichannel success is generally difficult, practicing consistency sets you on the right path. Keep in mind that this can only be achieved when you have a pretty good idea of what your brand is. So it’s best that you start practicing the habit of being consistent!
If you’re having a hard time building a cohesive sports marketing campaign, you’ve got a handful of people ready to help you out! Creatitive is here to provide you with cost-effective packages starting from building your brand down to coming up and implementing a campaign.
Stay tuned for our last guide where we’ll discuss omnichannel marketing and the ingredients you need to achieve this!