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Sports Marketing: Recommended Social Media Platforms for Athletes

By Constantinos Massonos * The evolution of social media has changed the way we interact and communicate with each other. Nowadays, social media are considered the most consumed medium of attention of fans among all other traditional medium outlets such as TV and Radio. That is why athletes, teams and sport organizations are trying to benefit as much as possible from using them. Building a social media presence is an important part of any athlete’s brand building plan because it allows them to:
  • Build a fan base and connect with fans from all over the globe
  • Increase their sphere of influence and sponsorship potential, by reaching fans that may never get the chance of seeing them compete live on a pitch or court
  • Share content directly to traditional media, as journalists now rely mostly on social media for story ideas and sources
  • Tell their stories the way the want to, directly to fans, and without a middleman
One of the most important parts of building a social media presence of athletes is choosing the social media recipe that best suits the audience they want to reach. In order to determine which social media platform suits the target audience of athletes, they have to understand the demographics of each platform. There is no one size fits all solution, and it makes no sense to waste their time creating content for a platform that their target audience does not use. Instead athletes would want to invest their precious time to promote content in the platform more relevant to their audience. Facebook is currently sitting on the top of all the social media platforms with more than a quarter of the world’s population accessing their facebook account at least one time in a month. With 68% of all social media users having a facebook account, we can say that facebook is a safe bet for any athlete who wants to build a fan community by sharing his/her journey through text, photos and videos. Twitter has around 2 million users and is the social media platform of choice for sporting events and sports governing bodies to inform their followers because it can create a 360- degree experience of a game or race, team and the athletes. Athletes can use twitter to maximize their exposure and increase their social influence. Linkedin is a place to conduct business and to build a professional network and that is why many professional athletes are engaging with it. They can explore second career opportunities and explore business opportunities by networking with investors, sponsors and agents. YouTube is almost as big as facebook when it comes to the number of monthly users. Video is commanding consumer attention more than any other media form and incorporating video into any athlete’s branding strategy is a must. The YouTube Partner program also provides the opportunity for athletes to earn money according to the views their videos get. Instagram is currently the second most popular social media platform after facebook with over 800 million users and growing. Sports are very visual and Instagram being an image intensive program allows athletes to showcase their every-day life in unique and creative ways by posting pictures, videos and text. The demographic on Instagram is very diverse and is very easy to reach your audience on the go. Snapchat is the social media platform of choice for the younger audiences and its user base is constantly growing. It allows athletes to share content in real time and exclusively to their followers. Social Media Platforms, if treated correctly, can provide a great opportunity for athletes to utilize the benefits they provide. This can be done with a carefully designed strategy that is aligned to and customized for an athlete’s brand building plan. *This comment first appeared on 16 October 2019 on the website of Money Smart Athlete at ‘’.                

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The editors of  the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.

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Maisto e Associati, Milano

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