One of the most important things anybody who gets sponsored in BJJ must do is use social media to promote the brand or company that’s supporting them.
There are many ways to keep your sponsors happy, and how you do it depends on the social media network in question. What works for Twitter won’t work for Facebook, and vice versa.
We’re going to list some of the best ways for sponsored BJJ athletes to use social media by looking at successful examples we’ve seen on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
One of the most popular social media networks, Instagram offers the ability to cultivate followers and develop an audience by posting images or short videos (maximum 15 seconds long). The square format images are usually accompanied by a short text description and the use of hashtags allow your posts to be easily sought out even by non-followers. Followers can reply to your posts with comments.
Instagram is one of the easiest forms of social media and every hopeful or existing sponsored athlete should have one. You can link your Instagram so that uploading your post automatically updates your other social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter and even sites like Tumblr, Flickr and more.
1: Standard Pic with Sponsor Tag
Keenan is a young guy with a good grasp of using social media and in this post he shows the simple method of tagging sponsors so that your followers know who you rep, making it easy for them to follow them.
In this upload he’s posted a show of his ATOS teammates with a micro-blog post about how he’s going to eat food prepared by a sponsor (tagged), a quick update about his future plans and finishing up by tagging his three main sponsors (clothing, business and gi). Simple and effective, it takes little effort and he’s covered all his bases in one go.
2: The Care Package
Few things beat the excitement of cracking open a package to be faced with a stack of brand new BJJ gis! It’s natural we’d want to share that experience with the world, but this is a good example of turning something you’d probably do anyway into a post that will benefit your sponsor and satisfy their need for exposure.
Muzio, BJJ black belt and IBJJF referee, received some new kimonos and posted them still in the packaging. Great advertising, sure. But even better when you take into account the fact he’s linked to his sponsor’s account and hashtagged the crap out of his post – smart move.
3: Announcing a New Sponsor
We use Instagram as a way of chronicling our daily lives through images. Met someone famous? Snap a pic and put it on Instagram. Won a tournament? Get that podium shot on Instagram, double-quick.
So it makes perfect sense that we should announce a new sponsor – and Comprido gets bonus points for uploading a picture of himself signing the contract with product placement in the background! Now that’s clever.
4: The Video Technique
With the ability to upload 15-second videos, Instagram is perfect for hosting short technique videos. In this post, Tyler Bishop announces that he’s demonstrating a technique and even names the specific model gi he’s wearing. Of course, he follows up by tagging them and includes a bevvy of hashtags. Perfect example.
All sponsored grapplers should have a Twitter profile. It helps immeasurably if someone googles you as Twitter profiles always pop up quite high on the first page of search results. Twitter doesn’t generate as much interaction as Facebook or Instagram, but it’s still an important part of any sponsored grappler’s online presence.
5: How Your Profile Should Look
If you’re not shouting your sponsors’ names from the hilltops, you’re failing as a sponsored athlete. It should be one of the most visible things when anyone lands on your profile – with one glance, they should know exactly who you represent.
In this example European champ Leoni Munslow has included her sponsors’ names in her bio and put a link to her principal sponsor. Add to that the great profile and cover pics of her using the gear they’ve given her and you’ve got a textbook example of how a sponsored grappler’s profile should look.
6: The Sales Pitch
Sponsorship isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. You’ll need to periodically support them by reposting and sharing updates and deals they may offer, but you’ll also need to do your part as a salesman.
In this example Alex Enlund’s posted an image (good for getting attention) and brief description, but most importantly he’s given you exact details of how much it costs and where you can buy it. Potential customers only need to click once to be in a position to buy the very kimono he’s promoting, a proposition that any sponsor would be happy with.
Regardless of all the things you’ve heard about Facebook being dead / all the kids are using Snapchat / nobody wants to be on the same site where your grandmother has got a profile… Damn near EVERYBODY has got a Facebook page and it’s still far and away the number one source of referred traffic anywhere on the internet. Yep, Facebook generates more clickthroughs to websites than any other source, meaning if you’re NOT on Facebook, you’re denying yourself AND your sponsor a massive source of free exposure.
7: Your Facebook Page (not profile)
We go over this in the book, but sponsored athletes should have a page as well as a personal profile. Why? Read the book to find out.
Here Marcelo Garcia team member Dillon Danis shows the simplest way of detailing who you are and who you’re sponsored by.
8: Keeping Multiple Sponsors Happy
When you’ve got more than one sponsor you might worry about how much to promote one over another. In this simple pic, crossposted direct from his Instagram account, Rey has given equal exposure to his sponsors by posting a pic of his patched-up kimono. Note the hashtags that carried over from Instagram – not so useful on Facebook, but they certainly don’t do any harm either.
9: Subtle Selling For Shy Sponsored Grapplers
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t feel comfortable in giving people the hard sell, then take a look at Max’s post above. It’s a quick update about an upcoming tournament in which he’s thanked his sponsor (no tag though, so that’s a B-). The two pics nicely show off the gear and the fact he’s uploaded multiple pics at the same time means people are more likely to see it on their timelines. Why? Well there exists a mysterious and little-understood thing known as Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, a process that decides what content we see on our timelines. For now, it appears that multiple photos uploaded at the same time tend to appear more often and to more people than single picture posts.
Social Media: The Key To Getting Sponsored in BJJ
We devoted two whole chapters to the fundamentals of social media in our BJJ sponsorship guide, that’s how important it is! Knowing how to properly use your social media is extremely important in not only attracting sponsors, but keeping them happy.
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