These apply equally to anybody online, but they are particularly important to professional sports people, who are likely to have a high profile on the web.
Remember, any potential sponsor is likely to check your social media pages and blog before making a decision about whether to offer you a deal – it’s the easiest way for them to get a picture of what type of person you are, and if you fit in with their brand’s image and ethics.
Using Other People’s Images
As a pro athlete, you’ll already know that in any sports event the photographers and videographers will focus on you, and as a result, there will be hundreds or thousands of images and videos of you all over the internet and on social media platforms.
Obviously, you’ll also know that you can’t use any professional photographer’s images without their permission. But there are also rules of etiquette if you want to use amateur’s photos of you. Give them the courtesy and reward for their hard work in capturing a great image if you decide to use it yourself. The easiest way on social media is to use the “share “button. When you do that, the photographer gets the credit instantly as everyone will see their name. If you want to use the image elsewhere, for example on your blog, then ask them, and give them a credit “Image courtesy of XXX.” You’ll probably benefit further from this, as they will share it with their followers!
One thing you should never do is download an image someone else has taken and simply re upload it to social media or your website as your own.
Using Other People’s Content
As with photos, people will write about you regularly, and you’ll appear in articles all over the web and in print.
The same rules apply – ideally “Share” links to the work. But if you want to use it on your own pages, or use quotes from it, as before, seek permission and then credit the writer.
It’s rare that people will say no, or try to charge you money, but they do need something back for their work, and a credit in the form of a share, or a mention with a link is known as the “online currency.”
Bad Mouthing People Or Brands
There’s a simple rule to follow with anything you do online:
Assume that every single thing you type will be there forever – even if you subsequently delete it!
And that’s true. You can write a Tweet today and delete it tomorrow, but someone, somewhere, will have taken a screen shot and they can recycle that as often as they want to.
So don’t write anything in haste, don’t bad mouth anybody, especially any brand, online. If you have a problem with a product or service, contact the company involved via direct message or email. Don’t resort to the type of online rant we see so often.
The company you are shouting about today could be a potential sponsor, or a friend to a potential sponsor, one day in the future.
There are some sports people who are delighted to boast that they are followed by several thousand, or millions of people, but they in turn only follow a few dozen.
That instantly tells me that they simply want to “broadcast” messages, and they don’t want to listen to anybody else. They are the classic “Party bore.”
You don’t need to follow everybody who follows you back, but you certainly want to follow any big fans of yours, and any brands involved in your sport.
And even more importantly, you want to check what they are saying and like, share and comment on their stuff, so they know you are watching them and are part of their “online family.”
You’ll learn a lot about what people are thinking and what their strategy is by focusing on listening rather than always talking.
If you’re listening, it gives you a chance to answer people’s questions, comments and even to correct their misconceptions.
People are talking about you. Are you listening to them? And are you answering them?
It really isn’t that hard. All you have to do is apply real life common sense to your online activities. If you are at a party, you’ll talk to lots of people, listen to what they have to say and praise them for good stuff they have done.
Just do the same online, and you’ll be fine!
This post was written by Mike Cliffe-Jones, find out more on his profile page