You wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is scroll through Facebook and Instagram. Then during your commute from home to office you are checking out your favorite cricketer’s fan page. In fact during every little break that you get during the day, you are constantly feeding on posts on your social media accounts from your friends, family and your favorite celebrities. That is not just you; millions of other people are doing the same thing every day. This goes on to show the scale on which social media has become part of our lives. And people who can tap into this source of information are rewarded with popularity, recognition and rewards.
Talking about sports, mainstream sports in which athletes represent their countries are widely popular on social media. Almost all of you reading this article know about Virat Kohli but, few may know about Malli Mastan Babu. Malli Mastan Babu (3 September 1974 – 24 March 2015) was an Indian mountaineer. He is best known for his 2006 world record creating feat of climbing each continent’s highest peak (popularly called seven summits) in the shortest span of time at that point – a total of 172 days with the first climb on January 19, 2006 and the seventh on July 10, 2006. Cricket is always in the media in India, be it television or social media. But adventure sports like mountaineering not so much. No doubt cricketers in India enjoy huge fan following and multiple contracts with brands and channels. On the other hand adventure sport athletes are full of motivation and zeal but often fall short on funds and sponsors. If adventure sport athletes can make good use of social media to market themselves, it will not only benefit them but also the young adventurers whose ideas may be dismissed as wild and irresponsible by their friends and family.
Tapping into social media to your benefit is not a simple task. One irresponsible post and your fan following will reduce dramatically. Always keep in mind the following pointers if you are an adventure sport athlete and want to make a mark on social media:
1) Document your adventures
Adventure sports such as mountaineering, climbing and skiing provide the best opportunities for breathtaking pictures and videos. You don’t really need very expensive equipment to document your adventures. A simple mobile phone with a good camera can take great pictures and videos since the mountains are picturesque places with beautiful landscapes. Although it is always beneficial if you have someone with you for the sole purpose of shooting.
Abhijeet Singh – Camera artist and Climber; has built a thriving following on his Instagram handle @abhijeet_sing with mesmerising photos and stories from the outdoors.
2) Connect all your social media accounts
You should provide links to other accounts or website on every social media account. Be sure to provide an apt description of yourself and your work and choose a catchy username that describes you.
Ultrarunner Kieren Dsouza maintains a well populated Instagram and Facebook account with quality posts about his training and competitive events. He is also supported by brands such as Volini, Azani and Unived.
3) Post quality content
When starting up with your official page on Instagram or Facebook, do not bombard it with everything you have got. Choose wisely and edit content to show exactly what you want to show. A few bad posts can put a full stop to things before they even begin. On the other hand, one high quality film showing your best skills may attract attention of online adventure magazines and other popular pages.
One can always expect exciting content on Rohit Vartak’s facebook profile.
4) Provide a sneak peek into your life once in a while
Your followers are not only interested in your work. They are also guessing all the time what kind of personality you have. They want to see how you are with your family, how you celebrate festivals, which places you go to hang out, what music do you listen to, etc. Basically, they want to relate to you in some way or the other. So go on and share that short video you made on your son’s birthday or your recent outing to the beach.
Among adventure athletes in India, CS Santosh stands among the most celebrated. With followers ranging in thousands and sponsorships from major international brands.
5) Show them how you train for your adventures
Let them know what kind of planning and hard work goes into that expedition or that long perilous rock climb. As athletes, it is imperative that you have a training regime. Sean Mccoll shares his training videos all the time and gets thousands of likes on Instagram. So go on and share videos while working out.
Read: How Abhishek Mehta climbed India’s hardest sport route – Ganesha 8B+, and also created a compelling film about it.
6) Learn and connect with adventure athletes who have major presence on social media
They are doing things the right way that is why they are the influencers. Connect with them and pay attention to what they post and how they handle their accounts. Mention them in posts where you have accomplished a goal or repeated something they had done.
Author: Himanshu Gupta
Amateur rock climber and photographer. Been climbing for 2 and a half years now but only beginning to unravel the realm of bouldering and sport climbing. Into sciency stuff and wildlife.