Section 3 

Have you ever taken the time to optimise your social media profiles, your home base for each of the different platforms you’re on? To make sure that you’re shining online, to make sure that you’re telling the most important information about you, which is, those key aspects of your ideal identity that we talked about earlier, everything that you want to be known for, or at least the top few. And are you showcasing that on your profiles? Just like social media becomes that first impression, well, the very top, the very home base of your social media becomes that first first impression, if I can say that. So the most important stuff is found first.

The profile picture, the cover image, the username, the bio, all these things are very, very important and have to be thought about. What are you saying in that cover image? What are you saying with the image in your profile picture? Is it a picture of you? Your profile picture and your cover image are the only two things that are always public, regardless of whether someone follows you or not, so what story are you telling there? If you wanted to be known as a great team member and showcasing leadership, then maybe your cover image is a photo of your team, maybe it’s an inspirational moment that you’ve been through together. Maybe it’s a lesson you’ve learnt or a leadership quote that you’ve been told. Your profile picture should be your face, it should be, and it should be consistent across your other channels, so that people know it’s you across those different social media channels.

Your username, now, not everyone can get their exact name as their username, but again, showcase some consistency, and if you do have a nickname or a jersey number or a singlet number that’s absolutely fine to add in there in your username as well. Just make sure people know you by that and they realise it’s you by the other aspects of your social media profile home page. The bio is a really important one. Don’t hide the good stuff that you’re doing. Make sure you’re telling people that you’re involved in charities. Make sure you’re telling people that you’re proud to be an employee, proud to be a team member of this organisation, proud to be part of this league, proud to be part of this charity, whatever it might be. Use that little bio as an opportunity to make sure that you’re telling the most important stuff about you, that showcases exactly what you want to be known for.

A lot of people struggle thinking about, “Okay, what type of content should I be creating if I want to build my profile, if I want to shine online?” I always start with telling them, “Think about adding value, not noise.” There’s plenty of noise on social media, things that you are happy to scroll past and flick past and never click on. But the people that add value, the people that can put content out there that’s engaging, that’s entertaining, that’s educating, that’s inspiring and motivational, are the ones who are winning online, the ones that are really building up a great community and getting some great interest and interaction.

As an athlete you might not realise it, because it’s been so routine for you for so long, but you’ve been involved in and continue to be involved in some amazing things that the average person just does not experience. You’ve got great lessons that you’ve learnt and great skills that you’ve built. Things like persistence, dedication, teamwork, leadership, involvement with the community, actually overcoming adversities and battling through pressure and different tests of your skills and your will and your mindset. You’ve got some really valuable things to share. So, how can you start thinking about, “Okay, this is what I know, this is what I experience, how can I share that content in a really valuable way that can lift other people up?” That can bring them on your journey, that can teach them, the people that want to get to your level? Because you’re going to be inspiring certainly a lot of people, you’re going to be motivating people with what you’ve done and what you continue to do and where you want to get to. So there’s a great opportunity to offer value as an athlete.

So now that you know what you want to be known for, you know what makes content valuable and what people find interesting and educational and motivational and inspiring, it’s time to start thinking about creating content that relates to that. What can you create on social media that will showcase what’s great about you in a way that other people really enjoy consuming and engaging with it? It might be an update of your training. It might be a short video of a skill you’re working on. It might be an inspirational quote or lesson you’ve learnt from a coach or a mentor or a fellow teammate, that you’ve shared on Twitter. It might be an informative article that you’ve read that’s helped you get somewhere in your sporting pursuit.

It might be simply just saying thanks. Saying thanks is a massive one for athletes. Thanks to the people that have helped you get to where you are, because plenty of people have. Or, it might be content like a recipe or a diet that you’re trying out, a way that you’ve recovered after an injury or after an event. Talk about that with people. People want to see and learn from the best, and you’ll always be the best to someone.

Content comes in a lot of varieties on social media. The first thing people think about generally are images and video, which are very engaging. It’s so easy to take photos and video and share that content from your mobile device or camera. Live video is big too. Facebook offers an opportunity for you to share live video. Periscope, you can stream through Twitter. Telling stories on Snapchat and Instagram, another way for people to be part of your journey, follow your content that is real, it’s authentic, it’s exclusive and it’s behind the scenes. People really eat that stuff up, they love it. They want to be you one day or they want to learn from you. So how can you share the stuff that you’re going through and tell it in a really engaging way? People don’t just want to read text, it’s part of it, but they love to see video, they love to see faces, they love to see people in action, they love to see photos. Tell us that whole story with your content.

Have you ever shared a selfie? I’m sure you have. It’s the type of content that people love to consume. It’s real, it’s authentic, it’s fun, it’s engaging. And I think too many people shy away from what certain people deem to be self promotion, you know, that selfie photo. Because, you can tell such a great story with it. You can showcase fun, you can showcase community, you can showcase teamwork and support, and networks, and friendship, all with a great selfie. So don’t be afraid to think about pieces of content that, yeah, they might have you in the photo, they might be a video of you, there might be a photo of you. But you can always add some great context to the update to make sure that it’s about more than you, that you’re actually helping people with your content, that you’re telling a story in the caption, in the text, or the overall lesson of what you’re sharing is something that other people can be inspired by and learn from. Don’t forget to say it with a selfie.