Fans are very important to a football player. You could say that both need each other. Fans need football players to look up to, to be an example and to feel part of something. It connects them to others and it boosts their self-esteem.
Players on the other hand need fans to encourage them, to feel extra motivated and valued. Fans can even help you grow your reach, the awareness of your brand and to establish commercial business opportunities.
It is good to realize how important fan engagement is and what effect it can have on your personal brand and professional opportunities.
In this blog we present different strategies you could implement to improve the engagement with your fans.
1. In-stadium interaction
Fans in the stadium have come to watch the game and to support you and your team. Taking time for them can be a very impactful way to interact with your fans and to positively influence your image.
A simple wave or smile can already do so much. Walking up to the crowd and taking time to take pictures, autographs or even make small conversation will make that day extra special for them.
By doing this, fans will feel appreciated and seen. Giving them attention makes them feel special and they will see you as a more approachable, caring and nice person. They will feel more connected to you which increases their loyalty to you as a person, even when you move clubs or decide to stop playing football at a certain point.
And what about all the photos you take with them?
These photos will be shared with friends and family, who might start following you as well.
2. Social media engagement
Social media is a great platform to engage with your fans. Not everyone can come to the stadium, but these online platforms make the connection between you and your fans easier and stronger.
In our blog ‘6 ways to increase engagement on social media’, you read more about how you can increase your online engagement.
3. Be approachable
Put yourself in the shoes of your fans. Do you prefer your idol to be distant or approachable?
Of course, you don’t always have time to interact with fans and privacy is something very important as well.
But it is important to realize the impact of being approachable, because it can have a great impact on how people perceive your personality.
Choose your moments , be open to fans who want to talk to you (on the street or online) and if you don’t have time think about how you can communicate this best.
4. Go to events
Sometimes, players are asked to join an event. Maybe as part of a sponsorship, a paid agreement or just because it could help both parties. As a player you can do a Q&A, give a presentation, take time to take pictures with attendees or give away autographs.
For a player, this can be a good way to raise the awareness of your name amongst football/sports fans, especially when you haven’t established a well-known personal brand yet.
But it can also be interesting to go to events that match your personal interests. Maybe you have studied nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is something very important to you. An event with topics around this subject might be interesting to go attend.
It helps you to connect with business people that might be interested in working together with you and want to become a sponsor.
But it will also increase your visibility. Especially if you are part of the event, for example as part of a presentation.
5. Appreciate your fans and put them in the spotlight
As stated in the first tip, showing appreciation to your fans can have a big impact on how people perceive you and how they will engage with you in the future.
Put them in the spotlight. Because when you show how much you appreciate them, they will appreciate you even more! And guess what: more appreciation means more loyalty!
How can you put your fans in the spotlight?
Thank them for coming to the game (in the stadium)
Name the importance of your fans in interviews
Show pictures on your socials of you with your fans
Share anecdotes about your connection with special fans
6. Be part of a partnership or club activation with fans
Partnership or club activations can include fan engagement initiatives. Being a part of this makes you closer to the fans, which makes it easier to connect with them.
If you like to do this, don’t be afraid to be proactive. Include it in your conversation with possible sponsors, or communicate it with your team manager. Make sure the activities fit your personality. When interacting with fans it is very important to be you, because it is one of the many ways to show them your unique self.
There is no doubt that fans are valuable to a player. Building a relationship with them is therefore very important. These 6 strategies can help you build that connection, while developing your own personal brand.