Now more than ever, social media is a tool that allows you to promote yourself directly to sponsor companies, your fans, and the larger Jiu Jitsu community.
Being good on the mat is no longer enough.
If you’re not regularly posting on social media and building your own “brand” then you’re doing yourself a big disservice.
Winning and competing are only parts of the equation. It’s what happens afterwards that’s important. When your fame starts to spread, and being able to translate that success into sponsorships, private lessons, seminars, product creation, etc.
In the past, your accolades alone would speak for themselves.
But now you have to actively work to stay relevant and in the public eye. You see this with many of the top competitors today. They’re investing hours every week in crafting their posts and videos. In addition to their training.
Even if you don’t compete or have aspirations of being a world champion. It’s important to realize that you have something to offer. Maybe your unique experience will relate better to the average Jiu Jitsu practitioner or maybe you have great insight into a particular topic that people want to hear your opinion on.
Whatever the case, there really are no rules. There is no wrong or right way to go about handling your social media. It’s something that you will have to cultivate consistently and try to bring value to your fans.
By building up your brand and gaining more followers. You become more attractive to sponsor companies, professional events, and the major Jiu Jitsu news sites. And from there it grows upon itself much like a snowball rolling down a mountain covered in snow. It might start off small and take a lot of time, but it has the potential to grow into something much more.
From a business perspective. If I were choosing between two athletes with similar competition resumes to represent my company. It makes more logical sense to pick the athlete with the bigger, higher quality social media following. That athlete is going to have more influence over his fans. Who are more likely to buy when that athlete endorses my product.
So don’t wait for sponsors to come looking for you. It’s much better to be proactive and start putting in the work now building your follower count and a large portfolio of content. Eventually, sponsor companies will see you rising up and decide to keep their eyes on you or they might even make you an offer to join their sponsor program.
“If you build it, they will come”
I won’t lie. You do need to have some personality if you want people to follow you. It doesn’t matter the platform. You’re going to have to interact with people.
People like someone that they can relate to.
Someone that they look up to.
Someone that they could hang out with after training.
That means that if you’re extremely socially awkward. You have to be even more social and outgoing. Being cordial in communication and not coming off like an asshole.
I’ve seen this so often that I have to include this. Just because you’re good at Jiu Jitsu doesn’t mean that you can treat people poorly. Especially, your fans (online and offline).
If you’re on social media now, you know that there are two major schools of thought on promoting yourself online.
One is more old school. Let your results speak for themselves.
The other has existed forever but it comes in and out of style. This is the outlook that you see with younger athletes, where they make a scene by calling out more well known (and credentialed) competitors in order to promote themselves through that competitors fans and followers.
It doesn’t even matter if they compete against each other or not. More people become interested in the challenging athlete and begin to follow them in order to keep watching their antics and to see what they will do next.
I can’t deny that controversy does sell, but whatever you say or post online. Just know that you should be prepared to back it up. If you call someone out and they accept your challenge. You’re going to have to go through with the match.
The more success in tournaments that you achieve.
The more well known you become.
The more followers you get on social media.
The faster you will gain access to high profile events, sponsorships, and seminars.
Putting in work
Being sponsored isn’t just about getting free gear, doing cool interviews, and being on magazines. At the end of the day, you are promoting a company and its brand.
I’m sure you have seen sponsored athletes on Facebook. Commonly, you will see them posting on social media plugging a coupon code or special hashtag. Notifying all their followers and friends on sales and discounts from their sponsor company.
In fact, many sponsors will require that you post on social media with their hashtag at least once a week. Wear their gear in all of your photos and most competition events.
Next major consumer holiday, just keep an eye out for the onslaught of athlete posts pushing their discounts.
Again, the more followers you have. The more influence you’ll have in getting your fans to purchase from your sponsor. For example, If you have 100,000 followers you could be potentially driving tens of thousands of dollars worth of sales. Just from one post.
Now think about all the different ways that you could monetize your social media following.
The game is always changing. But if you take just one thing from this post it should be that you have so much potential now.
It might take a while to find your outlet and your target demographic. But once you do, your imagination is your limit.