Why Top Sports Influencers Thrive


There are many people out there assuming someone has to be a professional athlete to be a sports influencer on social media – wrong! While starting out with a big name can help, just like in sports broadcasting some athletes thrive online and in the social media world and others, well, even their fans don’t care much to follow them. 


So what separates the winners from the losers in the online realm? What attracts millions of fans to one athletics based profile and not another?


The best way to learn is to take a look at some of the best out there. Anyone wanting to become a voice as a professional online athletics influencer needs to review these channels to see how they stick out from the rest of the pack.


Dude Perfect (of YouTube Fame)

29 million subscribers can’t be wrong, right? This is a team that doesn’t fall back onto professional athletes or big names to get attention. Instead these videos focused on being funny, creating good comedy, and then catching a large number of ridiculous special trick shots. While none of these would ever be seen as something a professional athlete would use in a competitive situation, the videos are interesting, fun, and really original. 


This makes for fantastic viewing from an audience who appreciates the difficulty of the shots, the ridiculousness of the challenge, and they are fans willing to buy on recommendation. Dude Perfect is a winning YouTube channel.


Kelly Slater

In this case Kelly Slater does have the advantage of being a professional athlete as he is an 11 time world championship surfer. While this helps to bring in a niche audience, the way Kelly has used his social media sets him apart from the hundreds of more well-known athletes in sports that have more of a following. 


Featuring 2.2 Instagram fans, 1.8 million Facebook followers, & over 1 million Twitter followers, this is someone who has figured out how to use multiple platforms. Part of the reason is aside from focusing just on surfing, Kelly also talks about many overlapping passions such as fitness, eating well, and living a clean life. These are all areas that are not only of interest to fans of athletics but also to people trying to get into shape, live a healthier life, and live a better life. They’re within his general area of expertise while also opening the door to more than just surfing fans and that’s why three separate social media accounts of his thrive.


C.T. Fletcher

Not what would be considered a conventional social media influencer, but it’s undeniable that when his name pops up on a YouTube video, the number of views is going to explode. With over 1.4 million YouTube followers and featured in multiple videos with over 10 million views, C.T. is crass, he’s open about his hardships in life, and he hits a very authentic note for blue collar toughs who’ve never had an easy break in live or thrive off really old school motivation.


This is an interesting contrast because when compared to Dude Perfect and Kelly Slater there are three very different personalities in the athletics space that have influence over large groups of people. Being authentic is a huge key in each case. The team of Dude Perfect love to have fun and try crazy tricks and that energy is infectious. Kelly Slater talks about similar topics that he is passionate about that lead to a better life. C.T. Fletcher is who he is and is utterly unapologetic about it.


All three also have one more thing in common: unique value. They provide interesting honest content that is not duplicated many times over by others. By being authentic, original, and giving value, each has found influence with athletic fans who quite likely follow only one of these channels and not the others. This gives a great primer for teaching up and coming Instagram models, Facebook fanatics, and social media influencers how to think about their desired audience and what they can offer them to thrive in the social media space!