Mark Titus is a former walk-on basketball player for The Ohio State University. On the court he was fairly unremarkable, playing 47 minutes and scoring 9 points in his collegiate career. However, off the court is where Titus shines.
In November 2008 he started his blog, Club Trillion. The trillion part of the name comes from basketball box scores, when a bench player comes in and plays one minute without registering a single other statistic they will have a one followed by zeroes in 12 categories, which comes out as a trillion.
His blog now has over 2.8 million views and has lead to Titus becoming one of the most popular players on the Ohio State team. Club Trillion is also a great example of how an athlete can build up a following through social media; the blog has nearly 10,000 fans on Facebook and over 15,000 followers on Twitter. Titus is also a hit on YouTube, his video Mr. Rainmaker has nearly 300,000 views.
Why does Titus win with social media?
People can identify with him. In sports there are very few stars and few who make it into the pros, but every team has bench players. Almost everyone that plays sports has at some point has been a bench warmer, and people can relate to that.
He’s different, Titus summed it up well when he said, “Everyone hears about the guy that scores 20 points each night, but no one talks about the guy at the end of the bench. I can tell people about the game from a perspective they haven’t heard before.”
As fans we want the insider info and not the PR talk we get we generally get from athletes in interviews and in the press. Titus does just that, he takes us inside the locker room and gives us a transparent view of the team.
He doesn’t use his blog to tell us how hard to team are working and how focused they are on winning – we already know that and can read about that in other places. He focuses on the more quirky and fun side of the team which allows us to get to know the personalities of the players as well as him.
How can other athletes apply this?
Superstar athletes like Kobe and LeBron, or Rooney and Beckham will get publicity, fans and sponsorship dollars because they are the best at what they do.
For athletes who aren’t superstars getting visibility can be hard, but in a world where anyone can tell their story and an Ohio State bench player can build up a substantial fan base, there are endless possibilities for athletes of all levels.
Whilst every athlete may not be as articulate or humorous as Titus, here’s a few things athletes of all levels looking to utilize social media can learn from him:
Show humility. As a sports fan I want feel like I know my favourite athletes, and what are they like away from the court. Social media can be a great way to show fans you are just like us, show your strengths and flaws, and importantly show fans that you have personality.
Be “remarkable.” Focus on what makes you different to other athletes and let that shine through. For Titus it’s his humor that makes him different, he’s willing to make a joke about himself. But, every athlete is different, it’s about showing fans that.
Be authentic. As I mentioned above fans don’t want to read watered down PR on your blog, Twitter or Facebook page, use social media to show the real you and importantly update your accounts yourself.
What are the best examples of athlete bloggers you’ve seen? What would be your top tips for athletes using social media?
Interesting article Ash, reminds of a few books I've read depicting life on the subs bench in lower league football (soccer) and the career of journeyman cricketer Simon Hughes, who never shined but always had an interesting insight from behind the scenes.
This is often where you find the bigger personalities in sport, with unfiltered remarks and comments which is the key to successful social media use in sport. This is what the majority of fans have always wanted to be involved in and now crave to hear about. Almost like living their dream through someone else's words.
I certainly hadn't heard of Mark Titus a week ago, but the fact that I now have due to his excellent track record in Social Media surely proves that this form of digital media DOES work and CAN help an athlete to grow his or her profile online.
Will, I appreciate the comment. I think the lower leagues are often where you find the best personalities, take Jimmy Bullard for example, he may play in the Premier League now but for years he was in the lower leagues and his personality still came through.
I feel the fact that Mark Titus – a player who played 47 minutes and scored 9 points in his career – has been so successful shows that anyone can build a fan base through social media and it can help then grow their presence both online and offline.
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