Importance of social media presence of athletes raised to a higher level

It is commonly known, and we have written about that many times, that being present on social media is very, very important for modern athletes, and it will become even more important in the near future. If athlete has an interesting, quality and unique social media accounts, as well  as decent communication with fans, and great and viral content on their accounts, the benefit is manifold.

Firstly, if you are or will become a famous athlete it is inevitable that many supporters will follow you. It is inevitable that a lot of people will talk about you. By having your own, professionally managed social media accounts, you can control your communication and your image. Otherwise, the others will talk about you. And not always in a decent way.

Secondly, with many followers on social networks, you will become attractive to sponsors. Cristiano Ronaldo has more Facebook followers than Real Madrid (118 million > 93 million), LeBron James has more than three times as many followers as Cleveland Cavaliers (23 million > 7 million), and Francesco Totti has more Facebook fans than his club’s arch rival SS Lazio (1 million > 726k). So, for big brands, it is sometimes more beneficial to become a sponsor of one athlete, than of a sports club.

By being active on social platforms, you can more likely attract the attention of bigger clubs because social media presence of their players has become vital for them. As I stated before, interest in some players can become greater than interest in their clubs, and, therefore, they can become better ambassadors of the club, than the club itself.

Biggest soccer clubs are not looking anymore for only how good some athlete is. When they are thinking of getting a certain player, they also analyse their presence and influence on social media. Recently, Manchester United has bought Paul Pogba for a world record transfer fee of €105 million.

23-year-old Pogba has the potential to become the best player in the world. But, currently, he isn’t. Manchester United bought the French international because he has immense marketing potential. At the beginning of 2016 Pogba joined Instagram and in less then one year he gathered more than 10 million followers!

Back in 2001 Real Madrid bought Zinedine Zidane for a world record fee of a €75 million (€30 million less than United paid for Pogba). Is Pogba a better player than Zidane? Definitely not. But, is Pogba as a brand more valuable than Zidane is? We will see.

“Being active in social media maintains your relevancy long after your sports career is over (…) Being involved in social media a great way to increase your humanize yourself and increase your brand affinity (…) social media gives you the power to influence, facilitate, and protect your brand on your terms (…) Instead of one autograph at a time you can take 15 seconds to send a tweet out to all of your fans at once thanking them for their attendance, their support, whatever. You can say what you want to say post-game on YouTube, in a blog post. You can sit down and craft the message you want to convey, not what you were forced to come up with on the spot with a microphone shoved in your face”.

Lewis Howes

American author, entrepreneur, and former professional Arena League football player

Pogba’s first Instagram post.


But, what about young and unfamilliar athletes, who do not have money to hire expensive social media experts who will manage their accounts in a professional way? The answer imposes by itself. They should manage their social media networks by themselves. How? They should learn how to do it. In modern sports, working on your promotion is as important as your everyday training.

Recently, the former Portuguese football superstar Luis Figo has launched an app that allows young football athletes to shot and edit videos of their skills and upload them to a site which advanced scouts and teams will certainly follow. So, nowadays, you don’t have to be a video expert or professional to make a video of your skills. You just need to have a time and a will.


“We believe this new app can create more conditions for kids that are not in the cycle of the normal scouts, that they can follow their dreams and achieve the dreams through us. Of course when you register your video and you added the best part, it doesn’t mean already that you are going to be a professional football player, but you follow your dream, and we create that tool that allows the talent not to be left behind”.

Luis Figo

Former Portuguese football player

In the United States, there are several learning platforms, like Klout or Stacked Sports which are helping young college or high school athletes to manage theirs social media presence. They analyse player’s previous social media behaviour and educate them how to behave properly.

„At Stacked Sports we want to provide Student Athletes and eventually all types of users an action based tool that gives continuous feedback about their social media presence.  Our platform not only screens and analyzes the user’s posts, but provides the user with tools to build and maintain a strong online presence.  The goal is to educate and empower the user to take action if that’s what the user wants to do.“, Bill Shults, Director of Business Development at Stacked Sports.

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Being present on social media platforms is inevitable for modern athletes. Social media is becoming larger every day, and everyone has to adapt to new trends. By having official, well managed social media accounts, athletes can control their communication towards the public and fans.

With great and unique content, you will attract lots of followers. And if an athlete has lots of people following them on social media platforms, it will instantly become more attractive to its potential sponsors and future clubs. Because every brand wants to have a famous and popular ambassador of their product.

So, let’s take a look at several tips, how can young athletes improve their communication on social media platforms:

  • Be unique
  • Create various content
  • Watch your language
  • Have a two-way communication with your fans
  • Talk to more experienced players
  • Always learn more

If you want to find more about social media and digital communication and sports marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us!


Niko Rukavina

Niko Rukavina

Overtime Sports Marketing

If you have any questions about sports marketing, feel free to contact me at

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