In the first of a series of columns aimed at professional athletes, Lanzarote based social media expert Mike Cliffe-Jones will take us on a journey aimed at giving you a template to use to set up a strong web presence which will make you much more interesting to potential sponsors and will put you back in control of your own on-line brand.
In the first of these columns, Mike answers the key question: Why?
Back in the good old, pre-internet days, the value of an athlete to a brand was pretty simple to calculate. The more successful the athlete, the more exposure they got, which meant more pictures in the press of them wearing the brand logo. Ultimately, the value of the athlete was based purely on how good they were at their sport.
Added to this, athletes had almost no control over their image, or how they were portrayed to the world at large, with the exception being the top few in the world in each sport, who could afford to hire PR people to “spin” things their way.
The internet in general, and social media in particular, has turned all of that on its head!
Your performance or ranking is now only one small factor in calculating your value to sponsors
Just pause for a moment and consider why any brand sponsors an athlete. You can forget all the nonsense spouted about “supporting the sport.” The cold, hard, bottom line is that a company will only sponsor you if they think they can get a return on that investment. If they are going to give you a bike which costs them €5000, then they want to believe that they will sell enough of those bikes as a direct result of doing so, to cover that €5000 and make a profit.
Once upon a time, if you did well in a race, you might appear in, for example Triathlon 220 magazine, riding your bike. The bike company would cross their fingers and hope that a few of the magazine’s 25,000 readers would see the picture, make the connection and buy the bike.
That’s pretty hit and miss, isn’t it? And 25,000 is a small number.
Across Twitter and Facebook, Victor Del Corral has over 15,000 followers. That means when he sends a message on social media, he’s reaching many people instantly that trust and respect his opinion.
But the real benefit of social media is the ability for people to interact with you, and most important of all, to share that information to their friends and followers. When Victor sends a message to his followers, talking about a brand he supports, it can often end up being seen by millions of people, and many of those will ask him questions to get more information from him.
The likelihood of the brand actually making sales is hundreds of times higher than from a photo in a magazine.
What all this means is that your real value these days is in your social media “contact list.” An average athlete with a large social media following is much more interesting to a brand than a top class athlete who doesn’t “talk” to anyone on line.
In the coming weeks, we’ll cover what you need to be doing to grow that following.
You Have To Control And Own Your Own Presence On The Internet
The bottom line is that you’re already on the web! As a professional athlete, people are writing about you already. Just Google search your name and you’ll find plenty of references.
Is your website at the top of the list? Did you know that 30% of people click the number one result in a search? If it’s not your website at the top, that means you are not controlling the message people get when they search for you, which means they may not be getting accurate information, and from your sponsor’s point of view, they may not be seeing who you are currently working with.
Again, over the coming weeks, we’ll show you how to get your website to the top of the list, and to make sure that the message people are getting is the one you want them to get!
This post was written by Mike Cliffe-Jones, find out more on his profile page