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The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media as a Professional Sportsperson

16th January 2020

In the current age of Social Media, being active on your channels is no longer optional. With the fast paced nature of the industry, along with building relationships with your sponsors and your audience, an online Social Media presence is essential to building your brand.

It’s also not as simple as just posting and owning an account. You need to make certain you’re unique, engaging and active. But how do you ensure that your social channels are worthy of being followed – and in turn, an effective representation of your brand?

Social Media is an ever evolving industry, with trends and posting habits constantly changing. A major part of keeping on top of the competition is to keep your content fresh, engaging and on-trend. Keeping an open mind and remaining flexible is the perfect way to keep your Social Media channels on track.

It is a big commitment and can be a daunting prospect, but a growing Social Media presence is great evidence for your current and potential sponsors and a great platform for yourself and your audience.

We’ve put together a list of the Do’s (and Don’ts) to help make the transition to Social Media easier, with tips on how to grow your presence, what to post about and how to be engaging.

Do Use Your Personality

One of the most important tools you have as an online presence is your personality. A corporate voice full of buzzwords can be great for your sponsors, but your audience doesn’t want to be bombarded with it.

Sales messages and sponsor plugs should come naturally (we’ll get to that later) and the general core of your Social Channels should be what people are there to see – the racing. Show off your car or talk about a race you’ve just participated in, there’s endless opportunities for your personality to shine and to speak directly with your audience.

We understand it can be difficult, and you may not have the time to post daily or keep up with engaging with your audience, but 5 minute videos whilst you’re travelling between events or a post-workout story post can do wonders for your interactions.

Do Diversify Your Content

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You may have heard the phrase “Content is King,” and it couldn’t be more true. As briefly mentioned above – one type of content can get stale, and oversharing a corporate message (or even pictures of your dog) can get boring. 

As a Driver there’s a bank of content you can tap into off the track. Travel, home life, events you’re attending, even pop culture (like watching a new film or seeing a live show). These types of posts can help make your personality shine and give your audience an insight into you as a person.

Don’t lose sight of your initial reasons for posting: the racing. People will follow you because they love your performance on the track or they support the team you’re racing for. This doesn’t mean you should shy away from off-track content, but ensure the majority of your posts are racing orientated. Try to keep it above 60%.

There are tools to help you analyse and tailor your Social Media to what does and doesn’t work. It’s important to check back and see what is working, to post more, or what isn’t working, to post less.

Behind The Scenes

As we’ve mentioned, there is a bank of content that you as a driver can pull from when sharing on your Social Media channels. Part of the reason your audience will follow you is for that behind-the-scenes access that comes with the racing events: Team meetings, travelling between races, events with your Sponsors, behind the scenes after racing and even the more unique content that happens during/after the races.

Naturally, how much you open up is your choice, depending on how much you’re allowed to post on Social Media (depending on contracts etc.), but your fans will never be put off by a little insight into the life of a driver.

Do Polish Your Photo & Video Skills

It seems obvious, but blurry and poor quality photos and videos can really turn off an audience to your content. They make you and your brand look bad, and make it appear that you have no idea what you’re doing.

Of course, for promotional videos, a videographer is always a great choice. For general images and videos for sharing on Instagram and other channels, it’s simple to take high quality images that look great on your feed.

There are some great tools online (both instructional videos/articles and apps), that will help you improve your image and video skills, that are definitely worth taking a look at.

Plug Your Sponsors, but Don’t be Aggressive

It sounds simple: your sponsors are paying you to race and in turn you advertise their products. Pushing your sponsor’s products on Social Media isn’t as simple just shouting about the product, this can feel artificial and become annoying.

Having a strategy that outlines the frequency of these posts, or sharing and liking your sponsor’s posts, allows you to work it around your original content. Partnerships that can spawn unique ideas to share via Social Channels are also a great way to keep your audience engaged. Creative events and series done on a Partner’s Social channel, endorsed and starring you, is a great way for you to plug the sponsor on your own channel without alienating your audience.

Motorsport is an industry that’s driven by creativity, if you’ll pardon the pun. Creative ideas that keep your sponsors amongst the conversation, even subtly, will not only build a better relationship with their current partners, but also be more attractive to prospective sponsors in the future.

If you’re struggling with securing title sponsors, we’ve also written a blog on how to create your Sponsorship Proposals.

Don’t be Afraid to Collaborate

Everyone in the Motorsport industry has the same goal, to grow their Social following. Whether it’s a competitor or a colleague, there are opportunities to collaborate and appeal to a follower base of another. Be proactive, seek out other drivers that are perfect for collaborating. Social Media is a conversation, and it’s important to keep the dialogue going.

Engaging with other teams, drivers and members of the Motorsport industry is a great way to build relationships. Remember, it’s important to ensure the topics you’re interacting with will still be engaging to your fans. A social media strategy will assist in outlining the best accounts to interact with and with which events. If you’re sharing their content, ensure they’re also sharing yours. You don’t want to collaboration to be one way.

Do Respond & Engage

Engaging with fans is one of the core structures of Social Media. Since its conception, everyone has tried to get a shoutout or a conversation with their favourite celebrity – as your fan base grows, it’ll be no different for you. Building conversations and interacting with your fans is a great way to continue your growth, as potential followers will recognise that.

It’s important to make sure your fans feel like they’re part of your brand. Asking for feedback, following up with criticism and praise in the comments, responding to questions and generally allowing your personality to shine is the perfect way to help build that rapport.

Don’t Always Respond & Engage

We know, this is quite the contrary to what’s outlined above, but there are occasions when you should avoid responding and engaging. You may have heard the term ‘troll’ as you browse the internet. Trolls are people who try to be personal and hurtful in an attempt to get the target to react. Responding with an emotional response, especially when you’re angry, is exactly what they want. This can cause you to regret what you’ve said and in some occasions even embarrass yourself.

There are exceptions to this. We’ve all seen articles (or perhaps even witnessed it live) when a celebrity or public figure fires back with a quip, funny GIF or otherwise great response to a troll, shutting them down immediately. This is great, but requires a lot of thought with your response. It should be as neutral as possible, ensuring you’re just being witty and not mean.

Do Engage With Traditional Media

Though Social Media and Traditional Media are not mutually exclusive, it’s important to remember that your social activity can generate media coverage for your brand. Your thoughts, responses and statements could be published in other forms of media.

Comment and engage with news articles and journalists in the industry. Express your thoughts and opinions on their articles. These connections can help build relationships, and become mutually beneficial for both yourself and the members of the media that are involved.

Summary

There’s a lot to take in. Social Media is passed the age where snapping a photo and uploading it without a care is no longer possible. To build your brand on Social is nuanced and difficult. It takes research, keeping up on trends and staying engaging.

At its core, the general message is simple: Stay original. Always strive to update your content and try new things. Keeping up on trends and trying new ideas for posts and videos are a great way to stay on top. With original ideas and consistent content, you’ll see your social following grow and thrive.

Developing an entire Social Strategy and implementing it effectively can be a lot of time and effort. However, as part of the Motorsport industry, it’s integral your Social Media is as best as it can be.

Social Media Strategies are one of the services in our Digital Launch Packages. For more information or to book your free digital review – check out our Digital Launch Packages here.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media as a Professional Sportsperson

16th January 2020
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