Social media has become a vital part of maintaining communication with the public.

It allows athletes to express themselves while sharing positive messages with their supporters.

Bringing fans on your journey as an athlete can inspire others to follow in your footsteps.

Social media is the most important thing in communicating with your fans now. Many people rarely watch TV – only YouTube or Instagram – with social media becoming the platform to offer inspiration.

In the past we didn’t have this, and we’ve learned to live with it. Before, you could only take photographs to be stored on your laptop and emailed to family and friends. Now, you can share everything.

You need to be focused during training and your competitions – but your fans can share the journey with you. Even when major events are on TV, there will be some sports that aren’t shown as much as others. Instagram acts as a great window for the fans, a brilliant tool in inspiring others to follow their dreams.

Be careful with your posts

Social media can be hugely convincing in attracting sponsors and companies to invest in your brand. Simply having your picture on TV or in newspapers was once enough – now, everyone’s looking online.

This means you must be even more aware and careful of the content your sharing with your followers. Alcohol, for example, shouldn’t feature. You should focus on sharing your results and your progress while acting as a role model.

Express your creativity

Don’t just take a photo and that’s it – there’s much more to it. You should think smartly about how you’d like to express yourself as a person and an athlete in a creative way.

You have the option of editing pictures to improve the lighting and quality, adding to the professionalism of your posts, and you should think about what you want to write.

It can become challenging as your followers grow, and there will be the pressure of wanting to consistently share something new with your fans. So find a good angle, be creative and be intelligent with what you post!

Check out communications expert Karim Bashir’s advice for keeping your social media content engaging.

Send a positive message

Your posts need to have a good message, too. For me, that message is to have a dream; otherwise, you walk without direction.

I like to express the importance of working hard and enjoying what you do. You have to work, work, work to achieve your dreams – but the training and all that it entails has to bring joy to your life. The result isn’t everything.

I try to spread this message by keeping my Instagram regularly updated with new and engaging content.

Remain loyal to yourself

But most of all, stay true to who you are. You can’t pretend to be another person because you will get caught out. If you act different on social media, those outside will know. Be spontaneous but be yourself.

One day you might win a medal at the Olympic Games, but your success can easily be forgotten. It’s the relationships, the friends, the values that stay.

The people following your career and watching you on TV and on social media want to be inspired by the real you. It’s this that will most be remembered.

Are you curious to learn more about building your personal athlete brand? Take a look at Athlete365’s Personal Brand toolkit.