What Rocky Balboa can teach us about social media

Everyone gets their inspiration from different places and often it comes at a time when you least expect it – if you haven’t already guessed the inspiration for this post came from my DVD shelf.

In this post I’m going to relate one of my favourite series’ of films to social media – whilst this may have started out as a bit of fun, I genuinely believe there are some things the Rocky films can teach sports teams, athletes, brands and all of us about social media.

So without further ado here’s what I feel we can learn from Rocky:

Storytelling is everything:

First and foremost we all love Rocky because it’s a great story – a story of an underdog who would become champion (I’m sure I didn’t need to remind you of that). But, would we all love the films so much if we didn’t see what went on behind the scenes? If we only saw Rocky’s interviews with the press, and not what he’s like away from boxing?

Probably not.

Storytelling is the backbone of social media, films, marketing and music (the list could go on). Check any advert – printed or on TV – and it will be telling some kind of story, music is the same, listen to your favourite song and there’s a story in there somewhere.

With the advances of social media it has never been easier for athletes or teams to tell their stories. Whether you’re a bench warming college basketball player or a superstar in the NBA there’s an opportunity and a place out there for you.

Whilst some teams and athletes will have loyal fan bases without the use of social media, it can play a huge part in bringing fans closer to their brand. Many teams and athletes will release news stories and press releases almost every day, however, it’s what goes on between those press releases that many fans care about.

Social media is about telling your story not just when something big happens, but all the time – rather than painting one big picture through the press and traditional media, social media allows clubs and athletes to create thousands of smaller pictures which makes the fans feel more involved.

Connecting with your fans and sharing your story constantly has a far greater effect than sharing it once or twice a week through traditional one way media, such as newspapers and magazines.

Patience is a virtue:

In the films Rocky wasn’t an overnight success, to become champion it took him years of hard work and hustle.

Success doesn’t come overnight online either, just because you’re a pro athlete or a well known sports team, this doesn’t give you a divine right to get a huge social media following without putting in the work (unless your name is LeBron James).

It will take time to build up your social media following, but, once you’ve built up your community and fan base you’ll reap the benefits (with the right strategies of course).

Let your true personality shine through:

Throughout the films we get to know Rocky personally, we know what he’s like away from boxing and his personality is part of the reason he’s such a popular character.

Social media gives athletes and individuals the opportunity to show their true personalities to fans. A few years ago if an athlete wanted to reach out to fans and show their personality they could do it through a television appearance, or a magazine interview. Now, it can be done at the click of a button, the opportunities to engage with fans and let them get to know the real you are endless.

Play to your strengths:

No Rocky film is ever complete without a montage, and if I’m being honest I wanted an excuse to fit one into this post, but I wanted it to be relevant – in the clip below Rocky’s trainer explains the fighter’s long list of weaknesses and then states that they will play to his strengths in the upcoming fight.

Social media is the same, when choosing a platform and medium athletes should make sure they play to their strengths and utilise what they’re best at. Some people are good at writing others may be better at video blogging, it’s all about finding the medium you’re comfortable with and making the most of your strengths.


As always, let me know your thoughts. What other lessons do you think we could learn from Rocky?

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2 Comments What Rocky Balboa can teach us about social media

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