After blogging over the past few weeks on some of the negative aspects currently kicking around in sport and the poor use of social media by the actors involved, I wanted to focus on something a little more positive regarding how social media can be used more effectively by sports stars. Enter stage left, Mr. Fredrik Ljungberg – example personified.
Known for his outstanding wing play, outrageous hair styles and dashing looks, Swedish superstar Ljungberg is arguably one of the most savvy social-networking sports stars currently visible in the bloggersphere. He now plies his trade in the USA with MLS team Seattle Sounders but largely built his international reputation at Arsenal and for his native Sweden – oh yeah, and there were those Calvin Klein underwear modelling contracts. Previously he has also represented brands such as Nike, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal and is still actively involved with Puma, ESPN and Pepsi. Commercially thought by some to be a poor man’s David Beckham, (let’s face it, who is isn’t?), Freddie is much more accessible than Beckham in a social media sense; or many other global sport stars for that matter.
The Swede has recently started his own blog (functions as his Facebook page too) entitled Freddie Speaks-Up in which posts regularly and interacts one-on-one with fans as well as using his Twitter account to similar effect. Yes, Freddie hasn’t been caught with his pants down (he’s usually modelling them remember) and unlike former Arsenal teammate, Thierry Henry, he hasn’t been touching balls he shouldn’t have, but again Freddie is seemingly more open and accessible via social networking than Woods, Henry or the aforementioned Becks.
His blog is not just footy chat but rather an insight to his life away from the beautiful game. Prior to him starting his own blog, fans had written blogs dedicated to him specifically – see the Ljungberg Zone. He is capitalising on his brand endorsement fame as well as his profile as an international football star (these two aspects not being necessarily mutually exclusive) to further build his image which is obviously a contributing factor to his ability to be so popular and visable in a social media sense. Other sport stars may not have the same platform in terms of a global reputation of the back off their careers or brand endorsement, but they would go a long way in finding a better template of social media employment in order to maintain and foster relationships with fans.