Marcos Castro, a digital marketing expert, held yet another insightful Hangout. This time his guest was my fellow Northwestern alum, Lisa Bregman, a Digital and Social Marketing Manager at Wasserman Media Group. Lisa has more then 10 years of experience in marketing and social. She has worked with Major League Soccer (Chicago Fire & LA Galaxy) and Major League Lacrosse (Chicago Machine) teams, as well as started her own agency to help athletes maximize their digital presence before joining Wasserman digital team. 

This was my favorite Hangout so far, and here are my 7 takeaways:

1. Digital is essential

Marketing is different today than it was 15 years ago. Back then we didn’t have as many social networks, and everything was basic, in form of commercials. Today, most of the athletes’ sponsorship deals include some form of social marketing. And when brands look at athletes as potential brand ambassadors, they pay close attention to the reach that particular athlete can achieve on social. 

2. Facebook and Twitter are still the bread and butter for brands

Brands are still (in most cases) focused on Facebook and Twitter, although there are so many new social media platforms out there today. “This is going to change”, Lisa said. The main question brands ask when they look for athletes as influencers is “what is their following on Facebook and Twitter”. And a lot of negotiations or discussion stops quickly after that number is revealed. Athletes, you get the point. 

3. Access = good content

If you have access, you have what 99,9% people don’t have. And they want it. Fans want to know as much as they can about the team or player they are cheering for. It can be as boring as video of players walking into the lockerroom or the stadium. This is access ‘normal’ people don’t have. Players, clubs, associations must realize this and take advantage to engage audiences. The sooner the better, for all of us. 

4. Periscope is more valuable then YouTube

Live video beats edited video any day. When you want to engage your audience, you need to give them live content. Of course there are exceptions to this as some athletes are very creative and know how to take advantage of YouTube or Vine. But if you are trying to build a brand, you might want to use live video for Q&A, interaction with fans, and to let the fans know wou you truly are. This doesn’t mean you can forget about YouTube when building a brand, it just means you should follow trends and focus on live video. 


5. Mid-tier athletes should take advantage of social media

Athletes who don’t get that much exposure should have a goal – to be active on social. They should try and build a brand around themselves by showing of their personality and by interacting with fans. Marcos showed us a great example during this Hangout of a Portuguese football player Ukra. Ukra is posting, some might say, controversial content on his Instagram, but that is who he is. And if he’s not offending anyone by doing so, then be it. That is his personality around which he is building his brand. 

Lisa said they tell their athlete clients three things to think about before posting on social: 

  1. 1. Think about what you want to say.
  2. 2. Think about what your fans want to hear.
  3. 3. (if there is a sponsor involved) Think about what the sponsor is trying to convey, but consider the first two when you’re doing it. 

6. Get ahead of the conversation or step down

If athlete is on social, sooner or later something bad is bound to happen, even if you have someone monitoring their activity. There are situations when you “need to get ahead of the conversation” to make things right. But it is important to know your audience, and don’t cross the line and make even more people mad. 

On the other hand, and this was in response to the Zidane – Materazzi incident a few years back, “saying nothing can a lot of times be better than saying something”, Lisa said. But it is different from situation to situation. This is where the crisis communication team steps in and takes care of business, and they usually have scenarios prepared in advance for crisis situations. 

7. Cristiano Ronaldo is the most marketable player 

Ronaldo is still the most marketable player in the world. He has done the best job of building a brand and reputation. Ronaldo’s way of communication with fans and sponsors is unique, and that makes him the most wanted athlete by brands. 

Thank you Marcos and Lisa, it was a delight to tune in to this Hangout.

PHOTO: YouTube screenshot


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