2021 could just be when the social media marketer’s dreams all come true. That’s when the NCAA is going to allow student-athletes the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness. This is a game changer for athletes to become social media influencers, and for brands, it taps into a whole new market of influencer. 2021 seems far away now, but there’s a lot of planning to be done for both the brands and the NCAA.
What the New NCAA Rule Means for Social Influencers
“Student-athletes may be amateurs on the field, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get them for free,” says Influencer Specialist Kendall Capparelli with Pathfinders Advertising. And because many are minors, some schools are putting staff in place to ensure the athletes won’t be taken advantage of. Students are also a savvy group that have grown up with social media influencing, so they’re knowledgeable about what they could be worth.
Right now, the biggest speculation is what costs will be associated with student-athletes. There’s no way to predict, but each NCAA division will have its own rules. When these go into effect, your brand will want to know which division your prospective influencer is in and brush up on the NCAA rules. And just as there are different rules for each division, it’s a safe bet that your expenses will vary. Some estimates put Division I players with a large social media following earning as much as half a million dollars per year at almost $20,000 per social media post, while those with a small following may only make a few hundred dollars per year.
How Your Brand Can Utilize This New Market
A lot of eyes will be on brands to not take advantage of this new, young, emerging market. You’ll want to ensure your brand is positively and ethically engaging student-athletes, and that will mean looking for potential obstacles and missteps.
Lastly, think outside the box on compensation. On a recent campaign for a beauty launch for Artistry® Studio, Capparelli’s team was able to capitalize on an overseas trip experience as the only compensation for the deliverables created by influencers. “This approach,” Capparelli says, “along with a relationship-first approach, has proven to produce authentic content and build strong partnerships with influencers.”
What You Need to Know Now
Legislation should be approved by Jan. 31, 2021, with effective dates no later than the start of 2021-22 academic year. If you already have an influencer strategy with your brand, you’re probably in a good place to brush up on the NCAA rules and know that your pool of influencers will grow in 2021. If you’re new to using social influencers, be ready with strategy development for a campaign that can take up to about six weeks, and overall planning and research that can take three months. The strategy and research are worth it for a successful launch, and there are agencies (like Pathfinders) that can help. Agencies have teams of specialists that can assist with anything from strategy, research, branding, content, or running your whole program — leaving brands to do what they do best: producing a great product.
It takes a full, experienced team to manage social media influencers. Contact Pathfinders Advertising today to start a conversation about how our team can help.