Here at Behind Sport we spend a lot of time on social media. Which is probably putting it lightly but being a business that is media focused, it’s kind of necessary and given the current circumstances of the UK in lockdown we’re spending more time than usual on social.
A question that was asked this morning in our WhatsApp group chat and provided the foundations for this article is a simple one. Is there a footballer out there currently who is making use of their social media better than Marcus Rashford?
He’s been at it for a while has the Manchester United forward but seeing that life has slowed down tremendously recently, it’s given us time to ponder questions like that. You must have been living under a rock if you haven’t seen what he’s been up to but I’m going to list off a few things that he’s done recently.
It’s hard to keep up because every time I think I’ve added enough things, he’s done something else so I’m just going to have to just go with it I think.
So here’s just a few things –
- Raising £20 million to help provide over 700,000 free meals for vulnerable children in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Judging a poetry competition for children with hearing impairments.
- Constantly replying to fans on Twitter and engaging in conversations.
- Engaging with club and media and fan created content.
“He is very aware that people look up to figures like him.”
One thing that’s very clear is that this is being done on Marcus Rashford’s own initiative because his level of engagement and number of posts is clearly a lot higher than his teammates and it’s also obvious that it is not something Manchester United are asking him to do, this is off his own back. He is obviously aware of his personal brand, his reputation, his position within society and the responsibility this places on his shoulders. He is very aware that people look up to figures like him (especially in times like this).
Take this video from BT Sport as an example where Rashford sits down with a load of kids and lets them ask him questions. This is BT content, pushed through their social channels but Rashford also tweeted his own short clip, pushing people to go to BT’s socials to watch the full video and also his website. I’m not sure if he has anyone advising him, but pushing traffic to his own website is a smart move.
What I like most is that he doesn’t have to make all of the effort he does with his social media and helping others. He could very easily sit at home, take his wage from Manchester United and his sponsors and wait for all of this to blow over. I think he wants to help because of the upbringing he’s had. Rashford is a working class lad from Wythenshawe in Manchester who is playing for his boyhood club. In an interview on BBC Breakfast he said that part of the reason he launched the initiative to help feed vulnerable children during the Coronavirus pandemic was due to him also receiving free meals when he was at school.
He also mentioned that he is “trying to impact the next generation in a positive way.” which for someone who is only 22 years of age to have the self awareness to understand that young people look up to him is huge.
Here’s a clip from that interview with BBC Breakfast
The argument can be made that not all charity work needs to be public knowledge, there are many people in the world of football who silently support charities and causes of their choice but Rashford’s is done in public for a reason, he wants his following to get them involved. The campaign to raise money to help feed vulnerable children during Covid-19 started with asking for people to donate money. This raised £150,000 which was then topped up by supermarkets. He simply leveraged his following for a fantastic cause.
So, going back to the question asked at the start of this article. Is there a footballer out there currently who is making use of their social media better than Marcus Rashford? Personally, I think the answer is no and you’d be hard pressed to find someone that comes close.
For most sports stars, their presence on social media is probably somewhat of an after thought as their profession comes first and rightly so but there is a world of opportunity out there for a professional sports star if they leverage their social media profile. Now, this isn’t to say that every other footballer who is on social media isn’t using it for good or to the best of its potential but Rashford stands clear above the rest at the moment. Yes, there is personal gain in it and he’ll be aware of that but the career of a footballer is short meaning a career post football is needed. With Rashford building his social profile now as a youngster, it stands him in good stead for a career post retirement.
His content doesn’t come across as wooden and manufactured either, he gets his personality across which shows he actually takes an interest in the stuff that he is interacting with. I don’t think there’s anything that annoys me more than the copy and paste job most sports stars use when they have to interact with content. Rashford is showing many the benefits of taking the time and effort to curate content.
What’s everyone up to??— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) April 13, 2020
It’s even simple tweets like this one and taking the time to reply to the responses that can make all the difference to someones day.
Marcus Rashford’s social media game is good, in fact it’s very good. He’s aware of the benefits it can have on his career but also the benefits it can have to his fans and supporters around the world.
Forgive me if there is someone out there who is making better use of their social media and if there is, please let me know because we love learning here at Behind Sport but we’re only human so there’s good chance we’ve missed something, especially if it’s a sport we’re not that clued up on.
Tweet us @BehindSportHQ if you’ve seen a sports star with a better social media game than Marcus Rashford, we want to hear from you!