Dec 5, 2021

Why College Athletes are a Must for Your 2022 Marketing Budget

Krystal Faircloth
Chief of Content

Collegiate athletes can legally bank on their NIL (name, image, and likeness) for the first time in the history of college sports. NCAA had previously forbidden college athletes from getting paid for endorsements. However, they revised the policy on July 1, 2021, allowing players to monetize their NIL.

This opens up huge opportunities for small and large brands to tap into campuses across the US for brand and marketing campaigns. According to the NCAA rule, athletes can now use their NIL to promote products and services. They can also monetize their online content.

Small and large companies alike can utilize college athlete marketing to enhance their brands.

So, how can you use college athletes for your brand?

  • Offer a True Partnership - When running a small business, you might not be able to pay a hefty endorsements fee, but you CAN offer an authentic partnership. Think about featuring a player on yourInstagram page or blog. Including athletes in your branded content gives you both increased visibility.

  • Look for Small, but Influential - When looking for a college athlete, follower count is important, but not as important as engagement.Certain high-profile athletes in sports, like men's basketball and football, might have more followers and get more press, but they might not be the best influencer for you.

    Look for players who have an engaged audience (likes and comments). If they are interacting back to their audience and posting quality content, your partnership with them has a higher chance of success. The more a follower feels like the influencer is connected to them, the more likely they will trust their endorsement.
  • Mirror Previous Successful Influencer Strategies - Students athletes are a new pool of influencers never before utilized. It might seem obvious, but you can use the influencer technique that once worked for your business. For example, if you worked with influencers with 30,000 followers, you can use the same technique in the student athlete talent pool. Take a strategy that works for you and give it full attention.

4 Reasons to Use College Athletes for Your 2022 Marketing:

  1. It Gives Influencer Marketing a New Edge - Influencer marketing has been experiencing exponential growth, and it's a crucial digital marketing tool. Influencers come from a wide range of places, and any brand or person can be an influencer. However, college athletes were not among the market of influencers, despite their popularity.

    Fortunately, they can now monetize their personal brand. College athletes can have huge followings, bringing excellent opportunities to reach millions of potential consumers. In addition, they will make advertising activities more genuine and engaging for your target audience.

    More so, you can increase visibility when a college athlete recommends your products and services, extending your scope and enhancing your brand awareness. Utilizing athletes for influencer marketing provides a brand with a modest, viable way to get their message across to their client base.
  2. Win-Win Long Term Partnership - This is the ideal moment to tap into this new wave of college athlete marketing. Both the players and businesses are looking for successful relationships. Therefore, you can build a solid partnership that boosts your sales and increases the athlete's visibility.

    Developing a positive relationship is paramount, but ensure you select the right partner that resonates with your products and services. Many brands are looking for long-term partnerships. A lasting collaboration with student influencers will save you resources, money, and time.

    Furthermore, it helps in establishing credibility. Overall, the win-win partnership gives both sides a stake. Benefits such as retweets, shares, and reposts will multiply over time, providing improved brand awareness.
  3. Incredible Authenticity - If you scroll throughInstagram feeds, you'll notice that sponsored ads and influencers have dominated the platform. Influencers promise businesses an authentic way to reach their target audience. Well, it sounds like a good deal and a safe technique. But, unfortunately, it's not always the case.

    Consumers are demanding an active role in advertisements. They are seeking dialogues instead of monologues. Local athletes allow brands to engage with the community on a trusted level.

    College athletes post attractive and quality pictures. Since they also want more endorsements, they will remain truthful and honest in their dealings. They understand branding because they have worked to build their own personal brand. Also, keep in mind that the athletes are still under the oversight of the school. Compliance departments don’t want calls in the middle of the night, so a clean social profile means better branding for you.

    However, this doesn't mean college athletes cannot be inauthentic. Like regular influencers, they still need a strategy to remain authentic. When selecting athlete influencers, ensure they don't have several different endorsements in your brands category.
  4. Cost-Effective - Paid ads are becoming increasingly expensive. But with college student ambassadors, your marketing dollars can go a lot further.

    You can quickly negotiate the advertisement price since you both want to create a win-win situation. However, the cost will depend on the number of followers, engagement, your market and your niche.

    In addition to saving money, this marketing technique can save time as well. It shortens your process of building a fan base. It can also take considerable time to schedule ads and produce images that drive results. If you’ve been down this route, you know the term “trial and error”.

    A partnership with college athletes will help you streamline part of this process, boost your sales, and save you money and time. More so, your products and services will get promoted on various channels by popular people.

    Additionally, college players are versatile and can be influencers for most businesses. For example, if you are in the clothing business, the player can pose with the latest design. As a result, their audience will be more aligned with your brand and its services on the go forward.

    And with more shares on social media platforms, your SEO also becomes more efficient.  

The ideal college athlete for your business is out there, you just have to find them. However, it can be challenging to know who and where to find the best talent for your brand. MatchPoint Connection offers reliable networks to influencers and athletes.  

MatchPoint has immense knowledge and a broad database that ranges across the US to help you get the best talent that suits your brand goals.

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