In recent years, brands have been utilizing men and women, even children, for their marketing efforts – these people have become known as “influencers.” These are the people who have amassed a huge following on different social media sites. From beauty bloggers to YouTube and Vine artists, these influencers can post about a product or brand and at least a fraction of their loyal followers are sure to check out the products themselves.
This particular way of using social media and personalities is called influencer marketing. In this marketing model, brands send products to influencers and it’s up to these internet celebrities to post about these products. Some brands also pay more famous influencers to use and recommend their products.
While influencer marketing is especially relevant to the beauty industry (makeup artist and beauty blogger Huda Kattan has more than 30 million Instagram followers, the biggest of all influencers from all trades), any industry can benefit from this strategy. In the sports industry, specifically, influencer marketing is a hit.
Athletes as Sports Influencers
As the world exhibits more interest in fitness, exercise, and sports, the public often looks to professionals for recommendations. Have FIFA superstar Cristiano Ronaldo wear Nikes and his fans would want a pair, too. Olympic gold medalist and ESPYS 2018 Best Female Athlete Chloe Kim could wear a Descente storm jacket and everyone would want to do so, as well, on their next skiing and snowboarding trip.
Athletes, especially popular ones, are also considered celebrities. And they are likewise becoming sought-after social media influencers. Their accessibility to fans and followers on social media platforms gives these personalities a voice in the community. Plus, when they break records or win championships, they get lots of media coverage. As a result, they gain additional attention and even stronger social media following.
When you think about it, athletes becoming social media influencers is but a natural transition from traditional marketing. For decades, athletes have been endorsers of different brands. They’ve appeared in billboards, magazines, television, and other media.
Today, though, social media has become the most relevant advertising channel. Sports influencers do not even need to be MVPs and Olympic medalists. As long as they have a devoted following and social charisma, brands invest in them to convince their audience to take a specific action.
Why Does Sports Influencer Marketing Work?
In a 2015 Nielsen study, 66 percent of respondents said that they trust consumer opinions posted online. If you’re a follower of a certain athlete, apart from admiration, chances are you believe and trust in them as well.
Another reason sports influencers are successful maybe because of the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. Simply put, brands gain momentum and spread through a certain population (an influencer’s followers) because the influencer adopted their product. From the lone influencer, the product makes its way to a wider audience until it is used by many people.
In a market as dynamic and competitive as the sports industry, brands need to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Having a solid social media strategy is one of the most effective ways to do this. With the help of a person’s individuality, brands reap great benefits from social media sports influencers.