Monday, December 6, 2021

When social media becomes a curse to sports

In an era where social media continues to touch our lives from meetings to day-to-day activities, going digital has helped and lessened physical contact in sport.

Sport has also suffered the fate, where in most cases social media has power to make or break an athlete or club.

Athletes and clubs have official communication platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, where they keep their supporters updated on the current affairs of the clubs. Such accounts need to be monitored to avoid any hiccups, less there be drama or miscommunication between the club and its supporters.

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and volunteer national coach Justice Dipeba who works at University of Botswana as a sports officer says social media can be a good platform to build or destroy one’s career, no matter how small or big it is.

“My social media is at very small scale, just posting and sharing information. I have kept my interactions on social media at very low key. I do not make any official announcements on social media as mostly I share information and my pictures only,” Dipeba opined.

He further highlighted that he is aware that social media posts may chase away sponsors.

“For sure, I am aware that my posting can chase or keep sponsors and potentials, and that is why I try to stay away from it as much possible. I do not share my opinions publicly on social media, if you see them just know that my account has been hacked.”

However, for Masitaoka Football Club’s media team represented by Godfrey Ratlhaga, they are aware that social media has changed the way people communicate; it has broken barriers, has greater awareness, good place for brand recognition & branding.

“Therefore, as a team it is vital to utilise social media wisely and most importantly publish what is in love with the goals, vision & objective of the team hence driving people to your channels. Good Social Media image is also a marketing tool for the team after all it’s the brand that matters and a brand is not only the logo/name however it is what they will say about you when you’re not there.”

“We have engaged a media and communication agency with qualified professionals for our social media. We regulate what and how they post through strategic and proper communication plan whereby everything is thoroughly checked before being published,” the media team noted.

“We are aware of how poorly designed concepts do, mostly poorly designed one’s can lead to reduction in fellowship. This is why we have brought a media and communication agency on board, the agency comes with a Senior Media Officer who work’s hand in hand with the PR & Communications Officer of the team. The two through a proper channel of communication approves what is published on the team’s media platforms.”

“This strategic communication plan is vital to go through the PR & Communications Officer because he/she is the spokesperson of the team therefore the need to be aware of everything that is communicated by the team in order to have answers to stakeholders,” added the media team.

Moreover, they added that they regulate their athletes in regard to their social media posts. They said “We have made it clear to our athletes that by signing with our team, you automatically become a brand ambassador of the team whatever they post on social media affect the image of the team also. We also educate all of them on such, but most of the time the top one’s or the ones that have a larger social media followership in forefront because they stand a good chance of influencing many people.”

“They are aware that sponsors may be scared away by just a social media post. Sponsors want to be associated with good governance and positive things for the good image of their organizations therefore as a brand ambassador (athlete) it is important that what they post does not affect the image of the team negatively,” the media team opined.

When asked what their sponsors are saying in regard to their club’s social media posts, Ratlhaga highlighted that sponsors are important stakeholders to the team because they give them financial support therefore they need to retain and hold on to them through visibility & wider network coverage for them including in social media because it is where people interact.

He said: “This is vital for the sponsors because all they want is return on Investment and Mileage so they are mostly likely to be impressed when they recognize that they are well covered on social media by their partners.”

In conclusion, going forward, Ratlhaga noted that “both social media and graphic designing content is powerful in the communication process. The goal is to move with the time and to keep on improving in order to generate large followings of engaged people by using graphics because it is an effective way to talk to our audience and they are unique.”

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