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Has social media changed the face of sport? Or will Twitter end the careers of too many professional sports (or business) careers?

Interesting thesis isn’t it? The digital landscape has changed the face of sport forever with benefits and the rewards for the digital-savvy.  However, for those who don’t understand it and use it as an effective marketing and communications tool, the pitfalls of social media are many.

Every week it seems we read about an ill-advised post on Twitter or FaceBook from a sports star which has had a horror outcome.  Numerous sports administrators and team management have attempted to educate their charges on the use of social media – “once you post on the Twittisphere it’s there forever – you can’t take it back”. Excuses such as “I was tired and emotional at the time so I just wasn’t thinking” simply don’t cut the mustard.

A professional sportsperson is exactly that, a professional sports person. They train hard, they play the game to win and often are rewarded accordingly - financially and through the adoration of fans. But being a professional sportsperson means being professional in every aspect of your life – in essence they are on duty 24/7.

Some sports have instigated bans on the use of social media leading up to major competition as they indicate that it takes away the focus and the physiological edge required to succeed in an elite competition.

For businesses, social media is inexpensive and valuable marketing communications tool if you understand it and you understand the implications of using it. As with professional sports people, sports business marketers are subject to similar pitfalls.
An ill-advised tweet or a poorly constructed campaign can be as detrimental to your brand as can be a poor post is to sportsman.

On the flip side, integrating social media alongside sports marketing can significantly extend your investment – with sporting celebrities engaging with your brand in an active sense, endorsing your solutions throughout their community of followers.

So how does a company or a sports person create the benefits and positive outcomes from social media? If we had another couple of volumes at our disposal to write all would be revealed - but until our next article just remember, once it’s posted, you can’t take it back.

Rob Horton

For over 15 years, Rob has advised companies on how best to integrate sports into their marketing activities for effective business outcomes.  Contact Rob for more information on how sports business consulting can benefit your company.

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