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 Tips & Tricks

Instagram is an incredible platform that athletes can use to create a following and monetize their athlete brand. Instagram plays directly into the athlete's strength - every post from athlete is a story into their athletic journey, it is a behind the scene-sneak-peak into the athlete's "champion-hood in the making".

For the modest or shy athlete, remember you are not promoting yourself as a person but rather the individual doing your sport - you are inspiring the next generation of young athletes and you're increasing the exposure of your sport. We've gathered some of the most time-saving techniques that you what you can use to create an athlete brand on Instagram:

Story Telling

If you Google the best tricks and tips for Instagram the number one tip that comes up over and over again, is to story-tell with your Instagram account. And yes, thats exactly what athletes do when they share pictures. JUST by the fact that they are athletes, they are story telling. When you share a video from your training, you are sharing the background story of an individual who is training for a competition. People will see you at the tournament or will see the results of a tournament and they will have an emotional connection with you because they have witnessed you train.

What to Share?

A powerful way to showcase your athlete brand is to showcase yourself in action: show your training, your struggles, your wins and loses. Essential your job is to give an inside look into the life of an athlete - take your followers on a journey. Become an ambassador of your sport and an athlete who inspires the next generation. Here is one of our favourite athletes on Instagram, get inspired by Eseroghene Omene:

Other ways to provide value:

- show your workouts and exercises - give people examples and ideas

- show your diet - also give some tips

- show people things you learned in your sport (you can use Instagram to teach)

- show your travel picture - when you have a chance to snap a sceneric picture - do it!

- have fun like Mikaela Tommy:

Get Involved

Instagram is not always a one-way stream, it can be used to engage with your community. Don't forget that you are communicating with your followers with every post - you can ask and answer questions with your posts. You can get involved in these "social trends" to drive even more engagement :

1. Transformation Tuesday (#tft) : this hashtag is perfect for athletes. Athletes are always looking to improve and well, transform. Using this hashtag will also show your followers your work and will inspire them.

2. Throwback Thursday (#tbt) and Flashback Friday (#fbf): You can use this hashtag to show a previous result that you had.

3. #SundayFunday or #SelfieSunday are always a good excuse of showing the personal side of your sport!

Use videos

Videos are a great way for athletes to drive engagement on their Instagram accounts. As an athlete you have a great opportunity to share videos - most of your training involves videos. At this point you should be comfortable to ask your teammates to take a video of you training. You can also re-pay the favour.

For example, NBA stands out above its rivals like MLB and NFL because it understood that sports fans are far more likely to be interested in seeing videos of match highlights, training sessions and events than photos. At the time of writing, 25% of NBAs most recent uploads were videos, compared to 8% of MLB and 0% of NFL content, illustrating a greater appreciation of target market.

Promote others

Your athlete brand cannot be only about yourself. Part of sharing your journey is sharing the people and companies that you are sharing the journey with. You can promote your fellow athletes, give shoutouts to your local restaurant and share every! Who knows, you might get a sponsor or a potential fan for your next campaign.

How? You can do couple of things here, you can search using the explore button - here you will see what posts are getting the most engagement. You can also check what pictures your friends are liking. Next, you can use the app Repost to share other's content.

Explore and connect

The explore button is a great way to find new Instagram account that you might like! There are couple of reasons that you should follow new Instagram accounts.

- Following people is a great way to get followed back

-Following people will give you more ideas on what to share

-Following others will give you a great source of knowledge which you can then share with others

I would suggest to start following people in other sports and people in different expert fields like nutritionists, exercise experts and physiologist and even sport psychologist. Even your occasional motivational quote and social media marketing advice Instagram are also great.

Going viral on Instagram

It is possible to viral on Instagram, but you'll need a bit of planning and other's help. If your post collects a lot of likes really quickly it will appear on more people's "explore" tab. So if you need to do an announcement that needs to reach a lot of people, you can message your supporters to let them know their "likes" will mean a lot to you!

Other tips and tricks

- use hashtagify to find out hashtags that you can use to promote your pictures
- Post frequently and consistently
- Ask people to take an action - TAG-A-FRIEND or LIKE
- Cross Promote - which means make sure to tell people on Twitter, Facebook and other pages that you are on Instagram
- User filters - researchers from Georgia Tech and Yahoo Labs analyzed millions of photos and corresponding data on how frequently they were viewed and commented upon to determine that filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on than unfiltered ones.

- go back and look through the history of your posts and figure out which one is the most liked and double down on it. Share it again or share similar to it.

Thank you for reading this blog post about creating an Instagram following for your athletic career. I really hope it helps you and that you can leverage it to get funded and sponsored.