Only partner with brands that align with your own values, says world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith.

Janosch Nietlispach, an elite athlete turned influencer, believes you should share not only your successes, but also your struggles. This can help to boost engagement.

Athlete365 has a Personal Brand Toolkit to help you create and grow your own brand.

One year ago at Lausanne 2020, Chat with Champions featured successful Olympians and experts passing on their wealth of knowledge to the up-and-coming athletes at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG). Worldwide Olympic Partner Samsung put together an all-star panel for the second of these sessions, headlined by Great Britain’s world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith.

Dina is part of Samsung’s ‘Team Galaxy’ of stars, a group of inspirational athletes known for pushing beyond their limits, and whom Samsung are supporting in the run-up to Tokyo 2020, amplifying their stories through their ‘Do What You Can’t’ campaign. After winning three medals in November 2019 at the World Athletics Championships in Doha (Qatar), brands have been queuing up to work with Dina – but the track superstar has been careful about who she has selected.

Stay true to your values

“If I look at a brand product and there is something unhealthy, or that I don’t agree with, then I’m not signing – that’s just how I operate,” Dina told the packed audience in the Yodli Café. “I always align with brands that have messaging that I believe in, and that do good for people.”

Dina also stressed the importance of being yourself on social media, saying that she doesn’t restrict her posts to sport – and sometimes posts about fashion or going to the hairdresser. “It’s about being authentic and being in the moment,” she says. “I’m just busy being me and I’m just happy that my followers like to see that!”

Share behind-the-scenes moments

Dina found agreement from Samsung Ambassador Janosch Nietlispach, a six-time world kickboxing champion turned social media influencer who coached Swiss skeleton race Emma-Sunshine Burkard at the Winter YOG.

“If you only post the perfect picture, it’s getting boring,” says Janosch. “We all have struggles, and if people see that then they can relate to it as well.”

He also encouraged the audience to experiment: “Try new things, and ask your followers what they like. Share some behind-the-scenes moments and you’ll be sure to get some engagement.”

Be authentic

The expert view was provided by Facebook’s Zac Farrer and Samsung’s Stephanie Choi, who both offered some top tips for young athletes keen to engage and get more followers on their platforms.

“Firstly, be authentic,” said Zac. “Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Second, add some fun to it. Use the stickers, use the filters: test and learn. And thirdly, be safe with what you post. Pick the right time to post – and on the right platform.”

“Personal branding really starts by knowing who you are,” added Stephanie. “What you say has to be carried through with your actions.

“Be yourself, but also be bold. What makes you more interesting is the story of who you are, beyond the athletics. That’s what really engages people.”

Interested in growing your own personal brand, and attracting sponsors like Samsung? Download our super-useful Toolkit here, which is packed full of smart tips and tricks.

What makes you more interesting is the story of who you are, beyond the athletics. That’s what really engages people.

 

STEPHANIE CHOI, SAMSUNG