Social Networking Sports Business

Should You Hire A Social Media Consultant?

social media

As more and more athletes and their agents begin to accept social media devices, professional leagues are also gaining a strong presence on the social networking sites.  However, whereas the athletes are publicly posting information that is widely disseminated to a large audience of followers, the various leagues have decided to create much different identities on the popular sites.  Leagues are employing personal to create covert, and often fake, identities in order to keep track of its active players and future players.  Teams are also using such techniques to filter the talented players with little “social baggage” from those who like to post pictures holding guns, displaying bad drinking habits, etc.

And teams are doing it in a very creative and effective way…

But they’re doing it in a rather interesting and some might argue unethical way. NFL personnel are setting up Facebook profiles that look to be that of an attractive woman. From there, they send friend requests and messages to the players they are evaluating.

If the unsuspecting future NFL star accepts it, suddenly, the teams evaluating them have access to their personal information and photos, which, could raise all sorts of questions about the athlete if they have anything unflattering in their profile.

I have said it many times…new social networking technologies greatly empower the star athlete with an existing large following.  It also helps the largely undiscovered talent find additional fans and supporters by exposing a charming or interesting personality.  However, these sites can end up killing an athlete’s career if not used correctly.

It is very important for athletes and their agents to hire consultants to teach athletes the best practices for using these social media devices, have those consultants set the athletes up with accounts on the various services that are appropriate for the client (not every athlete should be on Twitter or have a Yardbarker Blog), and make those consultants follow the athlete’s social media habits (including the posting of information, pictures, video, etc).

I have done some consulting work in the past.  Another big name in the industry concerning this type of work is Kathleen Hessert, who has really made a name for herself for teaching Shaq how to Tweet on Twitter.  Through her company, Sports Media Challenge, Hessert has been able to help many other high-profile athletes become social media pros in a short period of time.  It really is not a long process and is well worth whatever the price may be for consulting.  The amount of damage one person can do to his/her image and endorsement profile is 100 times the cost of hiring a consultant.  Additionally, having a strong social media presence can greatly increase the value of one’s image and endorsement profile, paying for the consultation multiple times over based on additional profits.  Now that leagues and teams are tracking athletes on these sites, it is even more important to make sure that your clients have the proper training to manage the potential risks associated with having a presence on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.

I own a sports agency, but that does not mean that I am unavailable for consultation on these issues.  If interested, you know the email address! 🙂

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

4 replies on “Should You Hire A Social Media Consultant?”

An an Agent in this Industry should be well Educated in this new Social Media Age. As an agent needs to be well educated in just about all areas of life! A Jack of all Trades and have a Vast Sort of information for their clients. In this a Fast Pace World we live in!

I think an athlete and their agent has to be so careful of these media vehicles. A lot of athletes today are so young and still learning the ropes of life, let alone being a role model to someone. I think with facebook introducing “fan pages” and twitter only focusing on “facebook status” (I haven’t converted to the twitter yet) it can be a great asset to the athlete, helping them find a following they didn’t necessarily have before. But at the same time it needs to be so carefully monitored and unfortunately, I don’t see the professional athlete being able to use these sources for personal reasons. We don’t want another Jiri Tlusty ( facebook scandal on our hands.

That’s why it is becoming more important to hire a consultant who understands the nature of the social media beast. If your agency, your agency’s employees, and your agency’s clients are not yet taking advantage of the various social networking mediums, then you are behind the pack. But you must implement a strong plan.

Comments are closed.