Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks around. It’s a hotbed for all sorts of people trying to promote themselves, athletes included.
It’s easy to see why so many flock to it. Overnight you can become a viral sensation, increasing your visibility and possibly even improving your career prospects. Yet, it’s rarely that simple or fast for most of us.
To further help you out, here are five ways an athlete can build their brand on Instagram.
- Engage with others
Despite how some people use it, Instagram is more than a platform for showing off how awesome you are. It’s also a network for socializing and building communities. If you want to thrive on it, then you’re going to need to engage with other users.
Start by following other athletes and sports fans. Like their posts, and leave them comments. Strike up friendly conversations whenever you see an opportunity. Give shoutouts to the accounts that inspire you. Then hopefully others will start doing the same for you, and you’ll receive a boost from the connections that you’ve made.
If you’re not sure where to get started, head over to the Explore or Discover People pages. Additionally, you can try browsing around hashtags to find people with similar interests. Once you start following a bunch of people, Instagram’s suggestions should become more refined and personalized for you.
- Tell your story
Every athlete has a story. It’s the journey from where you’ve been, to where you one day hope to go. It’s all the hard work that you’ve put into where you are now. This ongoing story of determination and improvement is what so many people find compelling about their favorite athletes.
So why not share yours with your Instagram audience?
Use your Instagram posts to tell viewers about your background. Be candid about your passions and aspirations. Give a glimpse behind-the-scenes of your daily life. Show them how you train and prepare for your next match. Build up a sense of drama and excitement with every competition or tournament that you enter.
You want your viewers to root for you to succeed, after getting to know you through your posts. That’s the true power of a well-told story. It’s about forming an emotional connection with your audience. If you can do that, then you should have no problem winning over followers.
- Level up your hashtag game
Post all you want, but if you aren’t using hashtags effectively, then you’re not likely going to get anywhere. Hashtags are an absolutely crucial part of being discovered on Instagram; I mean, just take a look at the website’s search function. Instead of keywords, it’s based around hashtags.
The key to utilizing hashtags is relevance and specificity. If your hashtags don’t reflect the content of your posts, then they are useless and taking up space. Nobody is going to check out your post if it isn’t related to what they searched for. You should be strategic and pick the ones that fit the best.
Hashtags also provide a lot of chances to interact with other people. For instance, there’s the hashtag #tft, which stands for Transformation Tuesday. Many athletes use it to show and discuss the self-improvements that they’ve made recently. Feel free to participate in it yourself, as well as comment on other people’s posts to leave compliments and words of encouragement.
- Create videos
Instagram is a visually-oriented social network. The content that grabs the most attention tends to be dynamic and eye-catching. So you should consider how you can take advantage of that.
The aesthetic appeal of athletics tends to be in its sense of movement. That’s why watching an athlete in action is far more exciting than looking at a still photograph. When you see them in motion, you get a better impression of how much they’ve honed their bodies to perform such amazing feats.
With that in mind, perhaps videos are the ideal format for your content. For quite a few athletes, this might be something that you’re already comfortable with. Creating and studying videos to practice mental visualization techniques is a part of many people’s training routines. If you can make a polished version of these videos, then go ahead and post them to your account.
- Cross-promote between accounts
Instagram probably isn’t the only social media account that you have. Most people have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and/or YouTube as well. If you do, you should let your audience on there know about your Instagram so they can follow you on it.
You should also post content across the platforms as well. For example, if you just uploaded a YouTube video, you could take a minute-long snippet from it and put it up on Instagram. Then in the captions you can direct people to your profile on the other site.
Facebook has the most integration with Instagram. This makes sense, given that they’re Instagram’s parent company. Go into your profile on Instagram and select Linked Accounts. There you can input your Facebook login information. Afterwards, Instagram will give you the option to share your posts on Facebook on the same page that you write your captions.