More often than not, we view professional athletes as people with little-to-no special skills outside their particular sport. What we see on the field, the court, or the hockey rink is what we accept without question. Social media allows fans to see a different side of the organizations and players that they follow, and it’s with that outlet that we catch a glimpse of who they are as individuals. That being said, a lot can be taken away from what professional athletes post on their social media sites; both good and bad.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, some use it to attack the integrity of other athletes, and some use it to further the interactions with their fans in a more positive manner. Social media is a way to promote brands that are the athletes themselves. Social media gives athletes complete control over the content that they release, how and when it is released, and to what end certain posts can lead in the promotion of their individual brands, their respective organizations, or who they are when they are not in uniform fighting for raises, championships, or the affections of their fans.
Kevin Durant, shooting forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, is a perfect example of how strategic social media posts show that he is much more than just an MVP (most valuable player) candidate each and every year in the NBA. Durant takes the time to engage and reply to fans and provides real opinions on major stories in the news, not just sports. He also actively participates in campaigns to raise awareness throughout the community. Recently, he’s been the image of the “Strong and Kind” campaign to promote kindness throughout the world. Here are some of his tweets:
As you can see he interacts with fans, promotes causes he believes in, and supports his peers in the causes that they believe in. Kevin Durant is but one example of how engagement and personality can do wonders in promoting your personal brand. Durant isn’t afraid to think big with his continuous promotion of the causes and programs he believes in, and he stays active with his followers. Durant, like many other professional athletes, are using social media as a way to connect with fans, promote organizations and even promote themselves off the court. Athletes can use social media to create a long-lasting brand loyalty; they just have to take the initiative.
I’ve blogged recently on how professional athletes do not use social media in the most productive of ways. Certain professional athletes, however, do use social media as a way to connect with their fans in a way that really allows them to show their appreciation for their fans loyalty. Stephen Curry, shooting guard for the Golden State Warriors, goes above and beyond to show his fans how much he appreciates them. Curry, known for his work ethic, ridiculous shooting accuracy and team leadership, has used social media, primarily twitter, to create and cultivate relationships with fans off the court.
An example of how he goes about encouraging more personal fan interactions is that of a contest he posted via twitter. Curry urged followers to video themselves making a trick shot that Curry would then try and make himself. The winner, or best trick shot I assume, would get a voicemail greeting from Curry. In January, teenager Jeff Lorenz made a trick shot, sent the video and was shocked at his price. Instead of a voicemail greeting, Curry threw a party at Lorenz’s home in Philadelphia. Luckily for Lorenz and Curry, their schedules lined up just right for the event and thus this became an example of how a little effort can go a long way in bridging the gap between professional athletes and their fans.
This is just but an example of how Curry has interacted positively with his following. Curry has done multiple contests and prize giveaways via twitter and will continue to do so because he believes that social media is his “own news outlet.”
Go follow Stephen Curry for more information regarding future contests at twitter.com/StephenCurry30
Athletes who speak with fans through their social media by contests, giveaways, or even through tweet conversations know the positive reach it can have on relationships with their fans. Those interactions allow those athletes to seem approachable, grounded and somewhat normal despite the continuous production demanded of them on a daily basis.
What more could athletes do to create a more positive social media presence? What athletes do you follow that do similar contests to interact with fans? How do you feel this helps the athletes reputation, and that of the organization as well?
Over the past few days, coverage surrounding the remarks of Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling has provoked numerous tweets from NBA players. Tweets on racism and the owner himself has sparked a major discussion on the arrogance of racism and how situations such as this should be handled.
To summarize the situation, an audio recording was released of Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his girlfriend based on an Instagram post she posted with Hall of Fame basketball player, Magic Johnson. The National Basketball Association is currently investigating into this recording. As a result of what has been presented to the media, many people, not just professional basketball players, have taken to twitter to discuss the issue.
Magic Johnson, the apparent central focus for the remarks, tweeted this…
Other players tweeted their thoughts on the matter focusing on their respect for Clippers players for continuing to play their scheduled games and maintaining their presence among their fans…
Some players even went on to speak on racism in general and how they believe it to be “naive” and arrogant…
The Los Angeles Clippers chose to protest silently on the comments made by Donald Sterling as opposed to speak publicly on the matter. The Clippers threw their warmups down at the center court and have been wearing practice jerseys inside out as a means to protest the owner. Other franchises, such as the Miami Heath, have done so in protest as well. There’s no room in this world for racism. Sterling’s comments were negative, demeaning, and offensive to not only the Los Angeles Clippers, but to the African American community as a whole. What do you think should result from this situation?
Athletes at any level are trained to deal with the media. Whether that training includes how to properly handle questions in press conferences, or through online media, athletes everywhere are trained to know how to represent themselves, as well as their respective organizations when addressing the media and their fans. However, that training is often lost when dealing with social media. What most athletes do not understand is that being trained and equipped to traditional media is very unlike that of the social realm. Because of that difference, the idea of immediacy takes the place of a detailed, well-constructed message. Nowadays, athletes social media audience is often bigger than the following of traditional media outlets which often leads them to talk more freely without the basic understanding or formal training of how to effectively use social media to their benefit.
With the growth of social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram, athletes now can open up their lives to their fans on a far more personal note than what it seen on their playing fields, or through interviews held on most traditional media. That reach now calls for a greater responsibility for athletes to be weary about what they post because that information now becomes public, leaving an already popular persona even more gullible to public scrutiny. Athletes have a greater potential to become people of influence off of the field now with a greater audience to take into account.
The article linked below discusses these points further and includes topics for which an athlete can be trained specifically when handling their social media accounts. What do you think? Is social media training crucial for professional athletes, or does that violate their opportunity for free speech?
Richard Sherman, defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, and Michael Crabtree, wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, provided their followers with a prime example of a negative interaction between athletes on social media. Following an intense game in the NFC championship and a heated exchange of words and actions, both of these athletes posted comments about each other on twitter.
These social media interactions fueled an on-going crisis for the reputations of both players, as well as their respected organizations. This example became the face of twitter beef for sports fans because 1) it is recent, and 2) because it created animosity between fans of both of those organizations (as if they needed it).
Personally, I thought both athletes let their emotions following that game get the most of them. Social media should be a platform for connection and a means to bridge the gap of communication between Tweeter and follower, not for bashful means aimed for taunting purposes. What do you think about this specific example? Or of any instance of “twitter beef” between professional athletes?
Professional athletes who use social media go through continuous scrutiny with fans and other athletes. Whether through their interactions with other athletes, or something as simple as tweeting the specifics regarding an injury, every time an athlete posts on social media they become a target for bombardment. The attached article discusses examples of social media warfare between athletes and their fans, as well as provides helpful hints and tips in handling and taming your audience. A prime example from the article is that of Stephen Curry, guard for the Golden State Warriors, a professional basketball team in the NBA. In his experience, Curry has been sidelined by injuries on numerous occasions. One specific instance was that when Curry had an ankle injury in the 2011-2012 season and was immediately met with followers saying things like, “my fantasy team is done. You screwed my whole draft.”
Many more examples are provided in the article much like that of Curry’s which leaves athletes to wonder how social media can actually be used in a way that mutually benefits themselves, as well as their followers without meeting scrutiny. I guess it goes without saying that you can’t please everyone, especially when you are a public figure in the limelight. My favorite piece of advice: don’t say anything stupid. Take a look and tell me what you think!
Welcome to my blog. For an assignment for my social media strategies course at Appalachian State University, I was tasked with creating a blog to discuss something of importance in my life that contains substance, credible information, and insight regarding a specific subject. The topic I chose for this blog is the use of social media, primarily twitter, by professional athletes. Feel free to comment, discuss, and engage with me as I continue pursuing more information and trends regarding this topic. Enjoy!
Bryan Covington #sm3317