More than Just a Means of Being Social
It’s hard to remember life before social media. For younger generations who have grown up with instant access to these platforms, it’s hard to even imagine life without them. Yes, there was a time–in all honesty, this wasn’t that long ago–when the terms “scrolling,” “vanity metrics,” and “followers” had no context to one’s social presence. However, these days, social platforms are so much more than just a means of being “social”. We use platforms to keep up with the latest news and trends, to communicate with others (you all know that it really does go down in the DM), to express ourselves, to find inspiration and motivation, and the list goes on and on. One additional area of use that has gained traction in the recent past is the ability to use social media as a revenue conversion.
At LW Branding, I strongly urge my clients to maintain a social profile across the various platforms due to the extensive revenue potential this holds for professional athletes, influencers, and businesses alike. These days companies are spending more time and money than ever to promote their products and services on social media. This year alone, it is expected that social media marketing spends will increase by 19%, equating to a total of 37 billion (via Ignite Social Media). Case in point – this is a lot of money to go around, and leveraging an athlete’s social presence is a great way to do this.
When you’re a professional, or up and coming athlete, you are blessed with the reality that your follower count is met with organic growth simply because of your recognition. Typically rookie clients bring a solid social following to the table based on their performance in college. Big schools bring with them even bigger loyalty to their alumni league-bound athletes. Once these players are in the league, have a few good plays on the field, and complement this introduction with consistent content on Instagram or Twitter, organic growth explodes.
This is a great problem to have for the select handful of individuals who qualify, but what about the MLB players that have fallen privy to the lack of exposure that teams and the league are providing their players (as compared to the NFL and NBA). Or what about the NFL player who went undrafted and is now figuring out how to make a name for himself as he continues to chase his dreams? The player who is right on the bubble between making the game-day roster, and never quite getting past the practice team status? These individuals have to rely on more than just their status, name, and performance (that is if they ever see game time).
Having seen and worked with individuals who fall across this spectrum, I’ve come up with a fool proof, and relatively easy, strategy that helps all the professional athletes that LW Branding works with grow their brand on Instagram. Keep reading to learn my three secrets, and how to apply them to your own brand as well…
1. Instagram Business Accounts
The first tip I have for you, whether you’re an athlete, or just trying to grow a lifestyle account,, is to switch your Instagram account to a business account. When you operate from a business account, you have access to additional resources–I am specifically referring to the analytics/insights–that can provide numbers to support your efforts and game plan. When going after partnerships or collaboration opportunities (assuming you care about making extra money off the field or beyond your daily work), having data to back up your decisions is the difference between closing that deal, and letting it fall through the cracks. Seeing what content resonates with your audience, understanding who your message is reaching and why, and taking advantage of the best traffic times to post and engage, all play into landing partnerships.
NOTE: This will require you to set up a Facebook page, but trust me, you should definitely have this if you’re looking to financially leverage your social media presence.
2. Post on a Regular Basis
In a perfect world, posting once a day is a solid goal to aim for, but this is also easier said than done (3-4 times per week may be more realistic for your life right now). The important key to remember here is that the more consistent you are with posting content, engaging with followers, and spending time on Instagram, the better the outcome. These actions do two things: 1) they show your audience that you engage with them, thus helping build relationships. 2) when you spend time active and engaging on Instagram, this communicates to the algorithm that your content is relevant to your followers, and will in turn increase its exposure to those who follow you.
I worked with a MLB client this past season who posted a minimum of 5 times per week and his account followers increased by 87% in only 3 months. He is now earning money through partnerships that involve a social media component. A little effort can go a long way!
3. Be the Storyteller of Your Life
Finally, use your stories to show your day-to-day “behind the scenes”. People absolutely love to see beyond what you and your brand are known for. Athletes are idolized for the performance they deliver on the field and court, but when the games are over and everyone goes home, people’s interest shifts to what their “normal life” looks like. Everything from workouts, to what these athletes eat for breakfast, to the hobbies that fill time outside their jobs, and the humor that makes them laugh, this content is gold. (Also, sidenote, humor ALWAYS works – I’m not sure if you’re funny… but if you are, use it!) Every influencer has a “normal life” beyond the fame that they are best known for. Showing this helps not only develop relatability with an audience, but it also fosters connection and growth. You can never go wrong with capturing your day-to-day life and turning it into valuable content.
There you have it, these three tips that I just shared are the same insight that I give to NFL, MLB, and NBA players that I work with to grow and leverage their own social media. You may be thinking, of course this is going to work for them because of the celebrity stage that they have access to. Yes, I agree, to a certain degree they do have an advantage over others, but don’t forget that no matter who you are, everyone starts with zero followers when an account is created. The actions, effort, and mindset that you have following the inception of your social media journey is completely up to you. Get creative and light a fire in your belly to fuel your efforts.