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 Tips & Tricks

I have to admit that I started my athlete Facebook page only a year and a half ago. At first, I was skeptical. I didn’t want to waste time on something like Facebook and I didn’t see a need for it. However, within a couple of weeks of using my Facebook Page, I started to enjoy sharing content about my journey and about my passion for judo. And, I got really interested in the potential of my Facebook Page when one of my posts went viral, reaching more than 100,000 people with over 500 shares:

That was just the start. Since then, I’ve had posts like the one below that was shared more than 2,500 times and reached 750,000 people!

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People started to reach out and interact with me. Since I was a national team athlete at the time, I was able to give out lots of much appreciated advice as well as connect with a whole community of people who shared my passion for Judo.

Why Facebook?

Because Facebook is the largest social media network in the world with more than a billion users. A personal Facebook profile (as opposed to a “Page”) is great, but has limitations, like you can only have 5,000 friends. On the other hand, your Facebook Page allows you to reach millions of people in a way that your profile can’t. Here are additional reasons to start using a Facebook page for your athletic career:

- You can create a large base of followers. It is simple to make connections and interact with your fans. You can then leverage this following to get funding and sponsorships.

- Share your journey - It is fast and easy to share your own journey as well as and other people’s content.

- A Facebook page is more professional than a personal page.

Beyond the exposure, you can read all the benefits of sharing your athlete journey here.

Below are a mixture of tips that we found online and tricks that I discovered while build my Facebook Page followers.

1. The name of your Page

Let’s start with the basics, choosing the right name for your Facebook page. To super-boost your Facebook Page’s growth, it’s important to differentiate yourself from all the other Facebook users. One way of doing that is adding descriptive words into your name. For example, instead of simply naming my Facebook Page, David Ancor, I decided to name it “David Ancor - Canadian Judo Athlete”. Just this little trick alone can help you:

- Establish a position of authority and expertise - people are more likely to like, watch and share your content if they know you are an active athlete.

- Differentiate and stand out - you will be able to reach more people because you are unique and different.

- Connect with people - it’s easier to connect with people when you differentiate yourself.

Another example is USA judo athlete, Kayla Harrison who added “Olympic and World champion” to her Facebook Page name:

Although not a lot of us can have this title, we can still be creative with how we name our Facebook Page. You can add any of the following differentiators to your name:

- Your sport

- Your country

- Level of competition - international, national, provincial or regional

- Title, ie. “Olympian”, “National Champion” or “Record Holder”,

- The word for your sport, for example: sprinter, swimmer, fighter, etc.

- Your nickname

Once people land on your Facebook Page, your cover and profile pictures should give a visual affirmation of the description in your name. This validates your “differentiation” and helps further establish rapport and credibility. On that note, make sure your profile and cover pictures are the best action shots you have. A good picture will go a long way to help you build a community of followers.

2. Create as much value as possible

The best way to create a winning Facebook Page is to give as much value as possible to the people that are receiving your content. However, this doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be fun and easy.

In fact, Facebook released a list of recommendations specific to athletes and sportspeople:

1) Take people behind the scenes

Taking people behind the scenes of your athletic career helps establish a connection with your fans. Sharing your daily routine may seem mundane to you, but it goes a long way to creating a connection between you and your fans. Here are some examples of content that you can share :

- Your training, workouts, weightlifting, technical exercises, give tips and share the lessons you learned
- Your diet, nutrition, meals, supplements or anything related share your nutrition plan and your favorite recipes - Your coaches, trainers, medical personal, shine light on the important people that are in your life<
- Your travel, competitions, places you visit  sharing behind-the-scenes views of your competitions and your travel is a great way to take your fans an insider’s look at your journey

2) Post videos directly to Facebook

Facebook’s algorithm favors videos that are directly uploaded to its network. As a result, a video will get more exposure than any other type of post. Leverage to increase the reach of your posts. For example, instead of taking just a picture of your meal, make a quick video explaining the nutritional value and the recipe.

Also, videos of you in action, such as your training or competitions, can have great reach.

3) Host a Live Facebook Video Q&A sessions

This technology is very new and it has already taken the Internet by a storm. I highly suggest you jump on this bandwagon and take the interaction with your Facebook fans to the next level.

Facebook now allows Facebook Page owners to have a live video chat directly on the Page. Your Facebook fans can watch the live video and ask questions in the comment box all in real time. This is an incredible way for you to engage with your community of followers. Also, the video will be recorded will remain on your Facebook Page for people to view at any time.

Facebook Live video will require you to download a program online but it is free and easy to set up. Check out the tutorial below on how to set up Facebook Live in 5-10 minutes :

4) Give a shout-out to people on your Facebook Page

Your Facebook page is also a great place to give thanks to the people and the companies that are part of your journey.

For corporate sponsors, you can:

- showcase the sponsor’s logo on your cover photo

- showcase their products with pictures and videos

For your crowdfunding campaigns, you can:

- give public shout-outs to contributors

- promote your rewards and campaign

Another way to increase your reach is to share your teammate’s pages and ask them to share your page.

3. Share other’s valuable content

Contrary to what most people think, your Facebook Page is as much about sharing your passion for your sport as it is about sharing your personal story.

The simplest and easiest way to share valuable content on a consistent basis is to follow the best Facebook pages for your sport and to share their content with your spin on it.

Following the best Facebook pages in your sport guarantees that you have first access to the latest and best content in your sport - kind of like a journalist. This might require a little research but it will help you tremendously.

Once you see a piece of content you like, you can share it directly on your page along with your comment or opinion. This will give your Facebook fans insight into your thoughts and views while enjoying the latest content in your sport.

As a judo athlete, I decided to follow the Facebook page below to get the latest and best Facebook posts. This will give you an idea on who to follow

- IJF - International Judo Federation

- JudoCrazy

- Judo Canada

- Beyond Grappling

Here is an example of a post that I shared and that got a lot of views:

Use Google alerts as well as a website called Mention to help you get the latest news and social media posts about your sport. Both of these tools are free and they will deliver the latest news and social media posts about your area of interest.

If there are more than 2 or 3 posts that you want to share at once, you can use Buffer App to post at a later time.

A final word here about being respectful and mindful of the various genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, disabilities, etc. when sharing content. This doesn’t mean you should never be controversial, just don’t be offensive. Also, avoid hot buttons like politics and religion! Stay focused on your sport and your activities.

4. Create connections by answering comments

If you follow the tips in this article, you’ll soon have a community of followers on Facebook who will interact with you by leaving comments on your posts. By taking a few minutes to reply to comments or answer questions, you’re are building a rapport with your followers. This will really pay dividends down the road when you introduce them to your crowdfunding campaign or sponsorship request. Your followers will be among your first and most loyal contributors. This is one of the hidden tips of reaching the crowd with your MAKEACHAMP campaign. See more here.

Connect your Facebook Page to Your MAKEACHAMP fan page.

We completely understand how busy an athlete’s life can get. We also know that social media can fall pretty low on the priority list. As a result, we’ve created an automated system on your MAKEACHAMP fan page that aggregates all your social media activity directly on your MAKEACHAMP fan page. This will help people get the latest snapshot of what is going on in your athletetic life. Your MAKEACHAMP fan page also allows you to write a longer post and share it directly on all social media channels as well as email it to all of your contributors and MAKEACHAMP fans.

To learn about how to create and grow your community of followers on Twitter click here and on Instagram click here. If you already have a community of followers, learn how to get sponsored here or reach out for grants for athletes.