Panelists discussed athletes managing social media accounts, for brand communication and promotion during the Sports Communication Summit in Louisiana State University’s Holiday Forum.
The discussion opened with Dan Borné, master of program, speaking about achieving one’s dreams and becoming successful in a professional career. Borné stated that “you have to start small in order to achieve your dreams.” Social media branding requires invested time and the willingness to filter and maintain professional content when posting, in order to gain a desired following.
Well known athletes, who gain a larger following because of their higher public profiles, do not have to start out on as small of a scale as the majority of users. However, brand promotion is still very important. According to Cheri Kempf, commissioner of National Professional Fastpitch or NPF, women’s professional sports teams do not often have the marketing budgets one would like to have, so social media is a very helpful tool. Social media allows for less expensive means of self branding, where as paying a branding or marketing team can be very expensive.
The information a user posts on a social media account can be immediately seen by those following that user, and if the account is not privately protected, it can be seen by anyone. This may lead to problems because in some cases athletes may become a source and release information that was either private or not supposed to be released unofficially to the public.
Curtis Akey, marketing director of for ITC.4, a promotional marketing company says that “athletes can become a source; if someone puts something out there, a journalist can put it into their story.” This can often ruin events such as press conferences or events designed to get a positive reaction out of a crowd.
“Many journalists will say that they are on twitter 24/7,” according Dr. Jimmy Sanderson, a visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University.
Our image on social media can be referred to as a “digital brand.” James Haralson, Digital Media Manager for Guaranty Media in Baton Rouge, LA, paraphrases the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and successful business man, Mark Cuban’s statement where he told the audience to “lose the algorithm and find the creative.” Cuban’s speech took place at the 2015 Digital Summit in Dallas.
Another downfall of social media and its affects on a persons image, is the relevance of the content the user is posting. Kempf gave the humorous example, “I am not a movie evaluator,” therefore, she does not talk about movies on her social media accounts.
For a social media account to be successful, there is an importance to post content that followers desire to see, irrelevant content may deter them from following or keeping up with a digital brand or account.
Its very difficult for the players to understand that, because they view themselves as individuals. Kempf often asked the questions “What are your goals? Are you marketing yourself?”