Post by @tscheine. Ty is a Social Media Executive at Brafton where he manages social media strategies for their clients.
You can’t un-ring a bell!
With social media being open and viewed by the public, athletes need to be cautious in what they tweet, post and share on social networks. High profile people will always be under a microscope and will be criticized on how they are portraying themselves through social media. There are many benefits to using social media and can truly help athletes brand themselves in a positive light, but it can also make athletes look immature, ignorant and selfish.
Now I know one of the most popular athletes on twitter is New England Patriot Wide Receiver, Chad Ochocino, but I would like to point out another receiver for the Patriots who is using Twitter in a positive light, Deion Branch (@deionbranch84). He does a fantastic job using Twitter to promote The Deion Branch Foundation, a non-profit to support children who are battling mental, physical and emotional issues. The foundation has its own Twitter handle and they use the hashtag #TeamBranch when discussing donations or events for the foundation. He also gives away signed pictures, gloves, and cleats to people who assist in donating.
Although, he has been criticized for his on-field actions, Ndamukong Suh (@ndamukong_suh) has been a role model via his social networks. Suh is fantastic about interacting with fans, posting pics with them and staying involved with charities. He has been interactive with fans through promoting contests from Subway and Omaha Steaks, some of his sponsors. This is a great example of an athlete using twitter to help not only increase his brand, but partnering with his endorsers to give visibility to the brand and illustrate Suh as an excellent ambassador for the brand.
We tend to hear more about the athletes who get in trouble on social media more so than the ones who use it for good.
One example when using Twitter backfired for an athlete was with former Miami Heat forward, Michael Beasley. Beasley tweeted a picture of his new back tattoo, which was fine, but there appeared to be bags of marijuana on the floor of the picture. Either Beasley didn’t realize they were in the picture or didn’t care, but it cost him. He ended up entering rehab shortly after the incident. There is no law against athletes using social media, but they must be smart in what they post, knowing that hundreds of thousands if not millions are watching their every post.
All it takes is one bad move to taint the reputation of yourself, your team or any brands you represent. For example, Carmelo Anthony is known for being one of the most generous athletes when it comes to charities, donations and helping non-profits. A few years ago, Carmelo got into a ‘Twitter War,’ with Kat Stacks, a musician and apparently athlete groupie. She inappropriately tweeted about Carmelo, which got him and his wife upset. In retaliation, he offered money to anyone who would slap Kat and send him the video footage. He even tweeted a picture of the prize money. Promoting the violence against woman is not what you should be tweeting about Melo. Regardless if these are mistakes or how an athlete really feels, athletes need to be smart enough what can and can’t be said on the Internet. Once it is there, it can never be taken back!
What are some of your examples of athletes who do and don’t use social media the right way?