Popular sports celebrities have been doing product endorsements for quite some time now. With the dawn of the social media age, influencer marketing has overtaken the other traditional marketing methods in terms of effectiveness.
An influencer is a power user on social media with a huge following and an engaged audience. This is why you might not consider sports personas with famed performances endorsing products on social media.
But they do, and very efficiently because of their connection with their audiences and their inherent nature of idolizing them.
Sports influencer marketing is the ‘in’ thing and very effective when used appropriately as a marketing tactic. Fitness, fashion, health, and wellness mostly use sports influencers for their campaigns as these influencers have an impact on these industries irrespective of their big league or sports type involvement.
Brands use sports influencers in their campaigns depending on their size and budget. While the multinational businesses prefer to use the athletes with millions of followers and a huge fan base who charge more for their services, the smaller businesses tend to focus their campaigns around smaller names from sports.
Celebrity sports influencers and other sports influencers who have not yet made it to every household have a different appeal and audience engagement than one another.
Influencers can be from all walks of life as long as they connect well with your audience and have some relevance to your brand. So, how can sports influencer marketing be effective for your business? Well here are some answers.
Sport is a huge market
Way back in 2018, the global market of sports was valued at $470 billion +. As a break-up spending on apparel alone was $155 billion +, $130 billion+ on footwear, equipment valued at $127 billion+ and other items at about $58 billion+. This market can be segregated into two segments, participatory and spectator. The participatory segment is valued at about 50% of the entire market.
On a different note, the sports market is a part of the global recreational market. The COVID pandemic has caused stadium attendance to fall considerably, but the numbers will soon rise with the advent of a cure as people become more comfortable attending mass gatherings again.
Many businesses understand the importance and impact of sports on a healthy lifestyle. Brands have diversified their approach to cater to people in the sector of healthy living. Even cosmetics and beauty product manufacturers now meet the wishes of fitness enthusiasts to look good.
Knowledge of the sports influencer marketing trends
In recent times, sports have been the source of many trends. Most people who are inspired by fitness and health look up to sports influencers as idols and sources for their inspiration. This helps them meet their personal fitness goals.
Many of these influencers advise their fans and encourage them with their sports and training. The fans look up to these influencers and consider them to be successful.
They also tend to consider themselves personal coaches, mentors, and sources of inspiration.
Even though the advice might not be personal but it can still help the followers in a lot of ways. Young athletes who are on the lookout for guidance and advice take the advice of sports influencers seriously.
This guidance from veterans benefits them a lot and motivates them. The followers use hashtags to search for content like #fitness or #workout.
Another trend that has caught up is them splitting up and supporting their favourite players or teams.
This has created online tribes or groups. As an example, every Spanish or English soccer club has large groups of dedicated fans who engage and communicate passionately about their clubs and/or players.
Large brands within or outside the sports domain encounter the same phenomenon with their fan bases split up.
To explain the brand phenomenon, let’s relate to popular multinational brands like Nike, Puma, Adidas, Reebok, etc. All the above brands have a wide range of products covering multiple sports. In the year 2020, Nike had global sportswear sales of $39 billion+. At the same time, there are multiple factions in each sport.
You need to work with the right influencer to reach the right tribe who would connect well with your brand. These groups of people connect through common interests and values.
Sport has the correct influencers
This is the most important aspect as you will want to rope in an influencer through whom you will need to target the right customer segment.
Choosing an influencer just for the fact that they have a huge number of subscribers or followers is not the best idea.
They must be relevant to your product, service, or brand. Working with the wrong influencer could harm your brand’s image as it could easily ward off your followers than influence them.
While using influencer marketing a major consideration should be engagement rates. A well-engaged follower list means they regularly view, like, share, and comment on their preferred influencer’s posts, thereby creating positive engagement.
An active, enthusiastic, and engaging influencer with relevance to your brand, product, or service is the best bet even if they do not have millions of followers.
The ‘right’ influencer will drive more positive results than more popular influencers. Sport has a variety of influencers from numerous games and of varying audience appeal.
You will find the correct one for your business. Thereon it will be just proper planning and execution.
An effective campaign is just a proper plan and execution
You will need a well-organized effort and careful planning to execute an influencer marketing campaign using sports influencers. Start by knowing the target audience and defining them. You must know whom to influence to choose the right influencer.
This will let you select the most appropriate sporting influencer for your brand. As an example, to sell football merchandise to Real Madrid Supporters you should not select a footballer influencer donning Barcelona purple but rather someone who wears Real Madrid sponsored white or blue occasionally.
Then set objectives for your campaign which are attainable and practical. Demarcate exactly what do you wish to achieve out of the campaign. Also, get the measurement and assessment policies in place for appropriate ROI calculations.
Ultimately you will need to decide as to whether connect and source the influencer by your in-house resources, use a platform or an agency for it, and the other sub-processes.
Influencer sportspersons have always been popular with their followers. This makes sports influencer marketing one of the most effective marketing tactics.
The relevance of the influencer with your brand, product, or service passes the message to their fans and followers and lets you instantly access a huge market.
This boosts brand awareness and creates positive brand associations. This is how influencer marketing using athletes makes your campaign effective and successful.