The sooner you realize you’re an influencer, the sooner you can start building your brand and your following. I don’t care what level you’re playing at; I don’t even care how much success you’re having. If you play sports, you’re an influencer. To what degree depends on the situation you find yourself in, but the reality is there’s always someone looking up to you.
SOCIAL FOLLOWING COMMUNITY #1: ATHLETES
If you’re a varsity athlete, guess who wants to be more like you: those young men or women playing on your school’s junior varsity and freshmen teams. If you’re an NCAA athlete, guess who’s looking to you for inspiration: every high school athlete who dreams of playing your particular sport in college. If you’re a professional athlete, why do you think people call you a role model? It’s because what you say and do can affect the behavior and thinking of every young athlete at every level of your particular sport.
There is always someone looking up to you.
As you move up in the sports world, those athletes that have yet to reach your level become potential ambassadors for you. These are the athlete communities that you will target when building your social media following.
SOCIAL FOLLOWING COMMUNITY #2: FANS
Another meaningful segment of your ambassador army (in addition to athletes) comes from fans. Typically this group is made up of adults who root for your particular team and, as a result, you. As you move from high school to college to pro, the number of fans who track each level grows exponentially. More fans follow college athletics than high school athletics, and more fans follow professional athletes than college athletes.
Your potential ambassador army is the aggregate of these two communities.
But the ultimate size of your army and the level of influence you obtain depend not just on your athletic level but on timing and the amount of effort you give to developing and promoting your brand amongst these communities.
Your time is now. And your time is short.