Most people don’t feel comfortable with self-promotion because they feel like it’s bragging, and culturally, this perspective can have a lot of influence. However, this is a big misconception.
What is SELF PROMOTION?
Self-promotion is about educating the relevant people about the value that you can bring in. Self-promotion has nothing to do with boasting, bragging or being forceful. It’s about recognizing your achievements and what makes you EXTRAORDINARY. Showing openly your achievements can be challenging, but it is a very useful way to ensure others know what you’ve achieved, your skills and experience, and what you’re capable of.
Having an online presence and being active in social media is an actual competitive advantage for modern athletes. Nowadays being a skillful athlete is NOT ENOUGH. Imagine if there are 100 fighters as competent and capable as you are. You need to have that added EXTRA to stand out, and that’s really where self-promotion and being active online comes in.
Realize that it is a BUSINESS!
A fight always has an audience. The audience can be present at the time of the fight, or the fight can be watched later on video (streaming, social media, etc.) Sponsors and companies always want to reach that audience. If you aim for sponsorships, you have to reach people and connect, make an impact.
Do not just market yourself as Martial Art athlete, but also as a BRAND! Sponsors will only invest their money and time on reaching the audience that they want you to reach. With the right strategy, pro or amateur Martial Arts athlete can reach a lot of people quickly. What does that mean? More followers equal more profit and better pay. Pretty simple.
What are the next steps?
Regularly post photos and videos of the things you do, the competitions you participate in, and the products you use. For example; you could be involved in your community, and coach juniors, or create a parent-kid self-defense course, and promote these activities on your social media to raise awareness. If you have extra equipment lying around, you can also do a GIVEAWAY (everyone loves that) in your social circle to create hype around you and the BRAND.
How to build your BRAND?
To start, you need to define your brand and start building it. Remember, your brand has to be a MARKETABLE brand. YOU need to be marketable. Ask yourself these questions:
What kind of a fighter am I?
What makes me different than everyone else out there?
What is the image that I want to share?
What are your controversial opinions?
YOU, as a fighter, are a BRAND. It might sound like an impossible job, you might not believe in yourself, or value what you have. You might feel that people don’t care about your story or your struggles. Be BRAVE, be someone that sponsors are proud to represent. Always be professional, respectful and polite to others. Once you show your personal unique side, there will be people relating to you and you might even inspire someone with your story out there.
WHY IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BE ACTIVE IN SOCIAL MEDIA?
We live in a world ruled by social media. People spend more time online than ever before. It’s usually scrolling on social media, following celebrities and checking out different videos about training, fights, upcoming events, nutrition and the list goes on …
Are you ACTIVE on social media?
So one of the things you can and should do with your social media platforms is to build a long-term relationship with your followers. This is an opportunity to show your personality and share your stories. Talk about your goals and what you are doing to reach them. The more people get to know you, the more personal it will feel for the followers and they will give much stronger support. These “relationships” can last for many years.
Why is this important?
The longer the followers support you the better it is, as they are the ones that will be buying the merchandise you are advertising, buying the tickets to your shows. Cause let’s face it if followers feel neglected they can easily move on to a next athlete to admire and to follow (and there are plenty of options out there).
Once you have identified your brand it’s time to get active on social media. Networking on social media is the best way to reach the widest audience. At the moment the biggest social media platform for athletes is Instagram. Facebook is also being used, not so much anymore though. Remember to create separate professional account from your personal one.
Are you CONNECTING with your followers?
The goal of having social media presence is to build a brand and to create relationships. Use social media platforms to post photos and videos about you, what you do and why you are different. You can take photos or videos of your training, pre or post-training meal. It will show your followers how passionate you are at what you do. Interact with fans, promoters, and other fighters. Like and comment on other posts, this way you make connections and also can create new opportunities.
Engaging with people and followers builds a fan base and loyalty. If you’re looking for opportunities, start following a brand you would like to work with, and sharing their content, and your opinion about their products is a great start and a good way to show your value to them. Your followers are also likely to follow the brands you follow. Sponsors will appreciate someone who understands that they are trying to sell a product.
To make posting easier on social media, schedule your posts. Decide how many times a week you want to post, which days and what time and stick to that.
Have more ideas? Great, share them in the comments below, we’d love to hear about them!