A sponsored athlete to work with and utilize on your brand’s social channels can be a gold mine as long as you make sure to do the following:
1. Become Their Biggest Fan…Even If You’re Not
Brands sponsor athletes in order to create excitement among sports fans, and hopefully turn them into loyal followers of the brand. To properly create content around your brand’s sponsored athlete you’ll need to know everything about them, from how their season is going (on and off the field/court/track) to their personal history and place in their sport’s landscape. You’ll even need to learn about the other members of your athlete’s team, other teams and personalities in their sport, and how other brands may utilize their competitors. Take the time to learn all there is to know about everything related to your athlete.
2. Learn Their Tone Of Voice
Access to content where the sponsored athlete speaks directly to your fans is a tremendous asset. Often you will be creating content for your brand’s social channels in the voice of your athlete, so it is imperative that you are familiar with their tone and their personality. Any time you write copy that is associated with your athlete’s image, it should feel authentic. This authenticity will foster greater “linkage” to your brand and the athlete will be considered a true part of your brand’s community. If it doesn’t seem like your athlete is actually connected with your brand, then the relationship becomes less important to the fans and lessens the value of the sponsorship.
3. Utilize Their Own Social Channels
Many popular athletes have their own large social followings, so finding ways to take advantage of their social clout can be a huge win for you and your brand. The occasional (or regular) sharing of your brand’s content by your celebrity’s Facebook page or Twitter account can boost your organic reach tremendously. This is incredibly valuable these days, as organic reach on Facebook for brands is dwindling fast. So get to know your athlete’s social media team, manager, or learn how they use their own channels. This way you can find ways to create content for your brand that could be shared. Remember, this can go both ways, so using your brand’s channels (where appropriate) to share posts from your athlete can go a long way in relationship building.
4. Know When And When Not To Engage
Brands and those of us who work on their behalf can become incredibly close to sponsored athletes; sometimes we may even become friends. It is important to remember, however, that when it comes to being involved in personal matters, we should choose carefully when to engage. For instance, when a brand speaks up on social channels with messages of support after a sponsored athlete suffers a personal loss, there can be a fine line between appearing authentically sympathetic and appearing opportunistic. Always keep in mind the nuances of the relationship between the brand and celebrity.
There is certainly much more to managing the relationship between your brand and its sponsored athlete from a social perspective, but keeping the above in mind will help.