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Should sports people run their own social media accounts?

From players starting a trend of apologizing on their socials after making mistakes in games to Gary Neville saying the posts are embarrassing and they should, 'Sack their PR people,' to even more recently Phil Foden sacking his social team after a controversial tweet. There has been a lot of discussion about whether sports people should run their own social media accounts or not.

To answer this question, we firstly need to align on what role social media plays for sports professionals. I believe its role is to allow them to build an authentic connection with their fans.

So are PR and social teams set up to achieve this? As we can see from the backlash, often not.

So we need to see a shift in the industry.

To identify the kind of shift lets have a look at a similar space of social media influencers. They have gone from perfectly photoshopped pictures, to them posting their authentic selves and often too honest thoughts.

We need to see this shift with sports people as well, going from a manicured PR line to, 'My mental health hasn't been quite right the past few weeks, I'm on the road to recovery though.' or simply, 'Siiiiiii.'

This is what Gary Neville meant that the role of PR and social teams isn't dead but that the industry needs to shift to a more authentic place.

The future role of social media managers is amplifying a players thoughts and feelings instead of coming up with something themselves that the player shrugs a sure at.

But is this realistic for every single post?

Definitely not.

These people are training at the elite level and have much bigger priorities than posting everyday on social.

So how do we bridge this gap?

Here are some actionable steps:

  1. Be super transparent with your audience.

    1. If it is just a great photo and a simple caption from the game, that the player didn't ideate, just sign it off social team or ST to let people know it isn't the player who came up with it.

    2. I'd love to see bios including, "Social team by X agency," in the future.

  2. For content ideas ask players to record voice memos where they just speak their thoughts for a minute or two.

    1. The social managers responsibility is then to turn that into a social post that represents their message.

  3. For important messages post a video.

    1. Hearing the words coming from their mouth > PR polished text.


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