Do social media accounts for athletes really matter? Do they just cause problems for not only their image, but their sports team as well? Over the years, we have witnessed many funny, embarrassing, and/or ugly interactions with social media in sports. But other than that, there are so many positive things social media can do for an athlete. Here are a few aspects of the sports world that social media can help with, if you do it right:
- Get more personal with fans: Fans want to know what athletes are doing off the court/field. Basketball players and teammates Dwayne Wade and Lebron James, use social media to show fans what they do during their downtime and to share their thoughts on different events and ideas. Wade shares photos of his family and love of luxury with 2,436,446 followers on Instagram. James currently has 10,912,928 followers on Twitter and tweets about current events and sports. British Formula One driver, Jenson Button, uses Facebook to contribute to discussions on sports and also uses social media to connect with fellow athletes and fans. Social media can help athletes draw attention to their selves and in turn, thank their fans for the support.
- When rumors arise: Athletes are often targets of scandals and rumors in our society. Athletes use social media to influence, facilitate, and protect their images and/or brands all the time. When all goes bad, social media can easily help an athlete apologize and defend themselves in appropriate ways.
- When your career is over: Nobody’s career as an athlete lasts forever. Eventually there comes a time where you have to leave the ball behind. But that doesn’t mean you have to disappear from the spotlight. Many athletes create brands and write books after they retire. Shaquille O’Neal, for example, a former NBA star who has remained on scene within the sports world as a current analyst on the television program Inside the NBA, has 7,942,190 followers. Social media is an easy and effective way for athletes to maintain relevancy after their careers are over.