Influencer Marketing in Sports and Fitness: A 2020 Guide

influencer marketing in sports and fitness

The moment traditional advertising became ineffective, influencer marketing started gaining momentum in the fashion and lifestyle industry. This transition also led to the birth of athleisure. 

Influencer marketing has proved to be highly suitable for sports and fitness brands because of the rising popularity in wellness and health. 

Influencers in sports and fitness do more than just promote a product; they tell the consumers that this is the thing they need to achieve a certain fitness goal. Additionally, these fitness and sports influencers themselves are trendsetters with their diets and exercise regimes. 

Influencer marketing in sports and fitness is implemented by both established and newly launched brands. In this strategy, brands try to promote their products and services through athletes, sports personalities, and trainers. 

Sports influencer marketing is tricky to crack because of the nature of the industry. Brands need to constantly revamp their social media strategies because of rigorous competition. The aim of campaigns in this strategy can be anything from spreading brand awareness to increasing sales. Additionally, some campaigns also focus on targeting a specific audience set. 

In this blog, we will tell you everything about influencer marketing in sports and fitness

How To Choose The Right Influencers in Sports and Fitness

Influencer selection is of primary importance when it comes to sports and fitness. Brands need to be very careful whom they collaborate with because it will impact the way their brand is perceived by fitness enthusiasts.

Moreover, users who are inclined towards the sports and fitness niche are quite particular when it comes to following influencers. The influencers catering to this niche should be highly dedicated and must be consistent with their posts. Let’s understand how to choose social media influencers in sports

fitness influencer

1. Keep in mind the purpose of your campaign

Not all fitness and sports brands are just looking to sell their products. There are many reasons why brands must rely on fitness influencers like launching a new product, spreading the word for an upcoming sale, etc. Make sure you know the goals and objectives of your social media campaign. This will also decide the kind of influencers you choose. 

2. Know which type of influencer you want for your campaign

Even fitness and sports influencers fall into different tiers. You can opt for mega/celebrity influencers, micro-influencers or macro-influencers depending on the scale of your campaign. The influencers are broadly differentiated on the basis of their followers’ range. However, it is advisable to look at other aspects too before choosing influencers with a solely high number of followers. 

3. Analyse what the influencers are posting about before selecting

The fitness and sports industry is vast and includes more than just exercises. Many brands now also offer diet foods, organic foods, and energy bars for which they need to collaborate with fitness and sports influencers. Moreover, some brands are only meant for fitness apparel and some only provide sports shoes for specific sports. Before you collaborate with influencers in this niche, see whether their content matches with what your brand is planning to offer or promote. 

Suppose you offer vegan products then an influencer who follows a vegan diet will be an apt choice to promote your brand. 

4. Analyse the social media platforms your shortlisted influencers are active on

The implementation of an influencer marketing strategy is as important as planning one. Once you shortlist a few influencers in sports and fitness know which social media platforms they are active on. This will also give you a hint of the kind of content they are good with. Additionally, once you know about the platforms you can frame better content strategies. 

5. Decide how you want to connect the influencers with your brand

Apart from celebrated pro athletes, fitness and sports have several categories of influencers. While some brands implement strategies concerning their products, some connect based on a specific sport. For instance, a brand that solely deals with equipment for gyms should rope in influencers who are gym enthusiasts or gym owners. 

Apart from the points mentioned above, brands can find relevant influencers in sports and fitness with the help of an influencer marketing tool.

Now, let’s take a look at how to plan an effective sports influencer marketing campaign.

How To Plan An Effective Sports Influencer Marketing Campaign

social media influencers in sports

1. Create your campaign brief with goals and objectives in place

planning influencer marketing campaign

Just like the influencer selection process, even your campaign planning depends on the goals and objectives. Start by preparing a campaign brief with the goals and objectives of your influencer campaigns. This will help you frame the next steps better. Some common reasons why sports and fitness brands implement influencer campaigns are-

  • To increase brand awareness
  • To promote their products and services
  • To market their new products and services
  • To target a new audience base
  • To increase website traffic
  • To increase followers
  • To promote discount codes

2. Decide your target audience for the influencer campaign

social media audience

The success of any influencer campaign depends on how your audience consumes your brand’s content. Decide the target audience of your campaign with regards to age group, location, language, and audience interest. The target audience of your influencer campaign is crucial because that will decide the effectiveness of your campaign. The audience you target will also dictate what kind of content to curate. 

3. Select the social media platforms to activate your sports influencer marketing campaign

social media platforms

The selection of the social media platforms will help you narrow down your search for influencers. Moreover, it will also help you frame the right content. See which social media platform has the most of your target audience. Also, it is recommended that brand managers implement their strategies on multiple platforms to get the most from their campaigns. 

4. Frame the content strategy based on your brand goals and objectives

content strategy

Curating content for sports influencer marketing is not just about influencers flaunting your products and uploading pictures. Influencers in sports and fitness now come up with a variety of content. See to it that your content strategy is up to the mark because there are a lot of established brands in this niche which are difficult to beat. Some content strategies are-

  • Hosting live sessions with a fitness expert
  • Posting content on fitness tips
  • Live Q&A sessions with sports personalities
  • Carousel posts for your products and its benefits
  • Blogs
  • Relatable videos featuring your products and services
  • Tutorials hosted by fitness experts
  • Fitness challenges to increase audience engagement

The above-mentioned content strategies need to be implemented smartly to gain maximum advantage. 

5. Analyse what your competitors are doing

business competitors

There is a lot of competition amongst brands in the fitness and sports industry. Make sure you keep an eye on what your competitors are doing in their campaigns. This will help you detect where your brand needs to improve. Moreover, you should also analyse the kind of content your competitors are putting up on the platform to see if your strategy is on par with your rivals. 

6. Analyse the performance of your sports influencer marketing strategy

campaign analysis

The most important aspect of any influencer marketing strategy is to analyse and measure it. Make sure you measure the right metrics and take the necessary steps to reframe your strategies. Brand managers must measure their ongoing strategies to see if it’s fetching them the desired results. Additionally, comparing the performance of different campaigns will also help you decode what works for your brand. 

Well, now that we know how to plan an effective campaign for sports influencer marketing. Let’s look at a few examples. 

Influencer Marketing Campaigns In Sports and Fitness

1. Adidas

Even in the lockdown phase, sports brands are implementing strategies to keep their followers engaged. Adidas recently started a HomeTeam campaign wherein it aims to keep the people active even when they are at home. The brand’s campaign is not just focused on fitness enthusiasts but aims to target people from all walks of life. Be it a musician or an artist, the campaign is designed for a huge audience. The image below shows one of the posts from the campaign.

adidas influencer campaign

2. Asics India

The athletic shoes offered by Asics have gained popularity amongst millennials. The brand heavily uses influencer marketing for its brand promotion and marketing. Right from mega influencers to micro-influencers, Asics collaborates with several influencers for different campaigns. The brand also hosts live sessions with pro athletes to keep its audience hooked. The image below shows one such post by Asics India. 

asics india instagram post

3. Reebok India

The popular brand Reebok India heavily collaborates with celebrities to promote its products. Be it the launch of a new collection or promoting a discount on their products, Reebok India uses influencer marketing for several purposes. The brand also puts up ‘WorkoutFromHome’ videos on its IGTV to keep the audience engaged in lockdown. 

reebok india instagram post

4. Under Armour

Under Armour is another sports brand that enjoys a great fan following on social media. The brand is making optimum use of the lockdown phase by putting up home workout videos. With consistent posts on Instagram, Under Armour also attracts a positive audience sentiment on its posts. The brand curates a variety of content ranging from videos to carousel posts. Below is one such post from Under Armour.

under armour instagram post

5. Kappa

The fitness apparel brand is well known for its tracksuits, sweatshirts, and active T-shirts. Kappa ropes in influencers from the lifestyle niche too to promote its products. The brand is not very active with IGTV like other brands but still enjoys a following of 1M all thanks to the influencer collaborations. Targeting millennials, Kappa has made optimum use of influencers for promoting its products. The image below shows one of Kappa’s posts.

kappa influencer post

The brands mentioned above will surely inspire you to implement influencer marketing strategies. Here is how you can rely on an influencer marketing tool to frame your campaigns. 

Unbox Social For Planning And Measuring Your Campaigns

Unbox Social is the only tool you need to plan an effective campaign for your brand. Right from finding influencers to tracking competitors, the tool helps you do it all. Here are the features of the tool.

1. Influencer Marketing Platform

Unbox Social offers an influencer marketing platform for brands. The feature allows you to find influencers in sports and fitness, evaluate influencers, and get campaign reports. 

Additionally, the tool also provides industry benchmarking reports to help you understand how other brands in your industry are implementing influencer campaigns. 

Know how safe your influencer selection is with the help of the brand safety feature. The glimpse of the tool below shows the tool’s Advanced Filters feature to search influencers. 

unbox social influencer search

2. Competition Tracking 

The competition tracking feature of Unbox Social allows you to track competitors on social media. The feature has competition benchmarking that tells you the strengths and weaknesses of competing brands. The tool’s Share of Voice feature tells you what the users are talking about your brand and your competitors. 

The tool further also gives you insights on audience sentiment. Additionally, the tool gives you a brand score that tells you how effective your marketing strategy is. 

The glimpse of the tool below shows the engagement rate of competing brands as per content form.

unbox social competition tracking tool

3. Social media analytics

The Unbox Social platform offers a social media analytics solution. The tool helps you analyse your brand’s presence on social media. The insights from the tool will help you curate effective strategies. Moreover, the tool also gives you audience sentiment analysis.

Get an in-depth story and post analysis to see how your content is performing on social media. 

The glimpse of the tool below shows when a particular brand’s audience is online.

unbox social - social media analytics tool

Sports influencer marketing is experiencing rapid growth in social media. However, make sure your content strategy is in sync with what your audience is interested in. Here are a few more blogs on influencer marketing. Take a look!

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