Race/event day photos were an essential requirement to show sponsors the exposure they were getting as the athlete was effectively a billboard.
Social media has changed all this and it’s also created an even closer connection with the athlete and their community. More importantly, it gives followers an insight into the ‘why’.
Athletes are getting more value out of content that tells their story, reflects their values and makes their supporters the hero of the journey. This content is from training sessions and everyday life and not just race/event day.
I’m a firm believer that the best way to take your followers on that journey is to show what you learn from each and every opportunity. All athletes go through tough times, how you get through those moments can define you as an athlete and will build a real connection with your community.
I often photograph athletes crossing the finishing line with their heads down not looking like they are invested in their sport or even enjoying their victory.
You have to remember every moment is an opportunity and you are always representing your brand and your community. Additionally, you have a digital footprint and I can guarantee that the first thing most sponsors do when looking at a potential athlete is to google them.
I also see many athletes standing on the podium in random shorts and t-shirt when they have coaches, clubs, schools and equipment providers who have supported them and are part of their community.
Athletes that are successful with their brand look for opportunities. They connect with the photographer, the writer or the communications person at an event and make sure they make them part of their community too.
I regularly find athletes who use images I have taken and don’t tag me in. It’s not that I’m upset that I’ve missed out on the exposure, it’s more that they are missing out on connecting with my community and most likely other opportunities too.
Social Media is about working smarter not harder. Equally, you need to be strategic and map out what you are posting and when. It has to be sustainable.
The athlete that doesn’t have a voice or is reluctant to have a social media presence will really struggle unless they are always winning but when that winning stops…the relationships built will probably stop too as you will stop offering value.