How Athletes Are Using TikTok To Build Their Brand - The Brand Builders

How Athletes Are Using TikTok To Build Their Brand

TikTok offers athletes the opportunity to grow, communicate and leverage their brand in a whole new—more purposeful than you might imagine—way.

You could look at TikTok and pass it off as a silly new app for teens to post trending dance routines to whatever is currently charting in the Top 40. But the reality is, TikTok has cemented itself as a viral change-maker in the social media market. 

Athletes were quick to discover that TikTok could be a great tool for building their brand.

Here are some of our favourite examples of athletes using TikTok to communicate, grow and leverage their brand with purpose. 

Milly Pickles 

Milly Pickles (@millypickles1) is a standout example of how athletes can use TikTok to address topics close to their heart and create social impact.

Milly's right leg was amputated after being electrocuted. After 20 surgeries, she began walking (and running) again with the help of prosthetic.

She took to TikTok to fill a gap she saw online — information for amputees and disabled athletes. She now uses the platform to share what her life is like as a para-athlete and educate her audience. Which can be as simple as showing her audience how she drives as an amputee and learning to run again.

Her audience is now comprised of over 200, 000 people and she's Gym Shark's first sponsored para-athlete.

Yes, TikTok is a fun place for teens to hangout and post 'silly' videos. However, it has also provided a safe space for athletes like Milly to educate, inspire and create much-needed awareness for topics such as disability. AND she's been able to engage sponsorship through sharing her story with her audience. 

Laurie Hernandez

Laurie Hernandez (@lauriehernandez), an Olympic gymnast, is a fantastic example of why athletes should be free to have fun with their brand and communicate ALL their interests — even if they have nothing to do with sport.

Laurie uses TikTok to show her audience she's more than just a gymnast. Like most 20 year olds, she's a pop culture mega fan, often posting about her love of Marvel, She-Ra, Hamilton and historical romances. Plus, she's been able to share her love of music (she currently has a song out) and her fascination with astrology.

She's proving that athletes can have fun online and create content that breaks the standard 'athlete social media formula'.

This is a great example to show athletes who are scared they'll lose or alienate their audience by posting anything other than training tips and smoothie recipes. Laurie has actually been able to connect with a wider audience (aka not just gymnastics fans) through posting TikTok's that communicate her interests outside of sport. 

Here are her two worlds colliding: gymnastics and musical theatre. 


Reply to @magicalmamamika ##greenscreenvideo AHHHHH i had so much fun making this routine

♬ original sound - Laurie Hernandez

Couper Gunn 

Couper Gunn (@cmaxxg), a soccer player and gay man, is using TikTok to raise awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQI community.

His posts address a serious topic, but he often uses his sense of humour to connect with his audience, which is appropriate considering TikTok's core demographic are people under 25. 

Along with several other athletes, he has also created the Sports Equality Foundation and the 'I Am' project' which promotes equality in sports. 

This is a great example of how athlete's can create shareable, collaborative content that their audience or community can get involved in. To get involved with the Sport Equality Foundation movement, all people have to do is 'stitch' the video with their 'I Am' story. 

So not only is Couper sharing his brand on TikTok and promoting acceptance for the queer community, he's also using TikTok to encourage others to do the same (specifically, queer athletes).

Had you considered the opportunities TikTok gives athletes to build their brand?

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