Photo by: City of Novalja Tourist Board

As many of you know, if not from our last week’s analyse of the Boomers social media accounts, then from different online sports sites, the Australian basketball national team is on their European tour. In the first phase of their tour, they trained in Novalja, on the island Pag in Croatia.

Before leaving the island, I got an opportunity to interview one of their biggest stars, Andrew Bogut, NBA player, currently playing for the Golden State Warriors. It is thanks to him that the team visited Croatia, since his family roots are originally from here, but in the past they immigrated to Australia, Melbourne, where he was born 30 years ago.

Not only is he one of the most popular Australian players on field but also online. With 2.21k followers on Facebook and 154k on Twitter, makes him a perfect co-interviewer for our blog. It is always better to hear from first-hand about all the benefits of social media for professional athletes.

I hope you will enjoy reading this interview as much as I did writing it. Read, learn and enjoy!

How long have you been active on social media?

I have been active on social media since 2008. I have started with Facebook, my personal account and the fan page. Later on I opened my Twitter account.

Do you consider social media a must-have for all professional athletes?

Yes and No. Some athletes like to be more private. I think it is good to connect with fans. Also, a lot of marketing and branding is done. These days your sponsors, brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Mc Donald’s, whoever you sign with, would like you to post things on your social media. It can help with the interaction with your sponsors.

 Photo by: City of Novalja Tourist Board

Photo by: City of Novalja Tourist Board

Did you receive new sponsorship offers because you are active on social media?

I was more active couple of years ago. I have slowed down a bit now, I am 30 years old, so I kind of turned it down. But, I definitely have received a lot of sponsorship and marketing deals just for tweets. Companies have payed me just to do 2 or 3 tweets a year. 

Do you have somebody in charge of your social media accounts or you do it yourself?

No, I do it myself. I want to be genuine. A lot of times you can tell when it’s not the athlete posting and that it’s just a marketing exercise. I mix it up. I also do a bit of marketing on it but everything I post is from myself.

 Photo by: City of Novalja Tourist Board

Photo by: City of Novalja Tourist Board

How much time do you spend online? Do you post on daily basis?

Depends. Now, of season, I have been kind of bored, so I only posted a couple of posts a week. But usually in America I post 4-5 times a week. I also do some fan competitions, Q&A and I give away tickets. Every now and then I might do 30-40 tweets a week because I am replying and it can go on for a week or two. 

Did you face any negative experiences while communicating with your fans? How do you deal with bad or negative comments?

Social media is a perfect place for people to come and talk whatever they want because you can’t see them and they hide behind their screens. You have to expect that. Sometimes I go back at some people and I don’t mind doing it. You have to be careful because when you play a good game everybody on social media is telling you how good you are, when you play bad everyone is telling you how bad you are. So you have to take it and strive.

Photo by: City of Novalja Tourist Board

Photo by: City of Novalja Tourist Board

So you can say you have a good relationship with your fans?

Yeah, pretty good. Everybody has been supporting me since the beginning. They like my accounts because I am politically correct. I don’t say what people want me to say or what’s right, I say what I believe in. Sometimes I might be wrong but if it’s something I believe in, I will post it, maybe I’ll get in trouble but I have to be honest.

You have Croatian roots, your family is from here, you probably also have a lot of friends and teammates from this part of the world. Do you think there is a significant difference between social media in Europe and the States or Australia?

Yes! Here it’s not very big. Whether that’s good or bad but people like more the social interaction. It’s more catching up for a coffee or having a drink rather than texting each other or posting stuff online. A good mix of both can be good. Sometimes in the States it can be too much. It has to be a good balance of both.

At the end, I would like to thank Andrew Bogut for taking the time to participate in this interview and for providing us with useful information. I am sure that many professional athletes will learn a lot from just reading it.

Social media is a very powerful tool, which when used properly, can bring a lot of positive things into an athletes career. It creates and improves the players image and brand, as well as promotes them on a higher level by bringing them closer to their fans and most of all their sponsors.

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