Over the past several years, social media has become an influential part of the world of professional sports. In the past, players often kept their personal lives separate from their sports career. Now, fans have unprecedented access to the personal lives of their favorite players through platforms like Instagram.
The reach of social media in the world of professional sports is not limited to players. Sports reporters often engage with athletes and fans on social media, and sports teams frequently have a substantial following.
There are several benefits to developing a following on Instagram as a professional athlete. First, posting on Instagram is a faster and more effective medium of communicating with your fan base. Second, it’s an incredible business opportunity. You can endorse products for brands through your posts or promote your own products to your follower base. However, even for professional athletes on popular teams, building a strong audience is difficult. Here are a few strategies that will help you build a follower base on Instagram as an athlete.
1. Interact with fans frequently.
Ultimately, growing your audience on Instagram comes down to interaction. If you never interact with your fans and supporters, you won’t be able to generate interest among other Instagram users. You have to encourage fans to engage with you in as many ways as possible. As an athlete, it is important to show that you appreciate your fans’ loyalty and support of your career.
The first step toward demonstrating your appreciation for your fans is interacting with them in person. Take pictures with them during practice or give your signature to a fan at a restaurant. Your engagement with fans in person is essential for growing your Instagram audience. These interactions will eventually lead to content creation and sharing on Instagram.
For example, let’s say you take a picture with a fan on the street after a game. If that fan is an Instagram user, they’ll post a picture with you and tag your account. Every one of their followers will now see a post with your account tagged, and many of them will click on your page. By taking a single picture with a fan, you’ve now driven a whole new group of users to your content.
Another step you can take in interaction with fans is featuring their content on your page. Show your appreciation for fans by reposting the selfie they took with you or sharing their picture wearing your jersey. Those fans will likely show the post to all of their friends, who may visit your page and like your content. By increasing interaction with your fans, you can grow your audience organically.
2. Engage with sports media influencers.
Social media has become a significant talking point for sports reporters. Now, commentators will focus their conversation equally on things that take place off the field. As athletes continue to share more of their personal lives with the world through social media, reporters have more to talk about on a daily basis.
As an athlete on Instagram, you can use this trend to your advantage. Engage sports reporters by tagging them in your posts or calling them out in your description. Challenge their viewpoint on a certain topic and encourage fans to discuss in the comments.
There are a number of benefits to this strategy. First, you’ll generate great conversations among your followers. These users will be much more likely to comment and like your content in the future, which can help build your following. More importantly, sports reporters will take notice of your social media activity and talk about you in their reporting.
This is the best case scenario, since you’ll be getting exposure on multiple communication channels. Popular figures in sports media often have huge audiences, so if they post about you, users will be driven to your page. Starting lighthearted discussions with figures in the sports media community is a great way to grow your Instagram audience through influencers.
3. Use analytics tools to boost Instagram performance.
Driving organic growth to your Instagram page by interacting with fans and sports reports can be challenging. While these strategies are effective in building your audience as an athlete, they’re time consuming. It is often helpful for Instagram users looking to build their follower base to use tools that help simplify the process.
Owlmetrics, for instance, is an Instagram analytics tool that helps users better define their audience. Owlmetrics helps users determine who their most loyal followers are and develop focused, relevant content. Additionally, it will improve your brand marketing by providing insight into the success or failure of certain growth strategies.
For an athlete looking to build business through Instagram, tools like Owlmetrics are invaluable. Having data on your Instagram performance will help you better target potential customers. The service can also help you build promotional campaigns on Instagram that are inexpensive and effective. It is also helpful to set up an Instagram automation bot, like SocialDrift, that can help you scale your presence quickly.
4. Highlight your non-sports interests.
One unique way to build an audience outside of the world of professional sports is to post about your hobbies and interests. If you just took a trip to a really cool place or you just played a new video game that you like, post about it.
People will be interested in the things you do outside of your sports career, and it’s likely that you’ll be able to attract followers who aren’t strictly sports fans. By having some variety in the content you post, you’ll keep your followers interested and engaged.