Many athletes today don’t just have social media accounts to fill empty time, they see them as more than that. Twitter and Instagram have become platforms that help athletes expand their brand. Damian Lillard sees the power that social media holds and has made a concerted effort to use it to expand his own brand. In the latest episode of Nick Kicks podcast, Lillard spoke about his experience with social media.
"I never really dove into it," Lillard said. "I was really just consumed with trying to make it to the league. I never paid attention to it."
Lillard didn’t create his first twitter account until his days at Weber State, says Nick DePaula of ESPN. He didn’t really understand the power behind it thought, until he came into the league in 2012.
"When I got to the league, that's when I realized how useful it could be," said Lillard, "as far as growing your brand and allowing people to get to know you as a person."
Lillard understands that the fans want the real insight into his life, they don’t want the fake version. So Lillard has tried to be as genuine as possible on twitter.
"People know that what I'm doing, they know it's going to be genuine. They know it's real," Lillard said. "I'm not pitching nothing at you. It's never going to be fake. When I'm constantly posting stuff, it's always related to me. It's never like, 'Sign up for this, and use my code.' [laughs] It's never like the corny stuff where you're using people. It's more inviting them. You're inviting them to be a part of something, as opposed to just trying to sell something."
Lillard hasn't just used social media to expand his own brand, he has also used it to help Adidas. According to ESPN.com, Lillard leads the NBA with the most social media posts of signature sneakers.
At the end of the day, Lillard understands that social media is all about connecting with the fans. It’s giving the fans some insight into the athletes life and making them feel more connected.
"The simple answer is four years of college better prepared Damian for the responsibilities that go with being a superstar athlete and pitchman," said Eric Goodwin, who along with his twin brother Aaron, represents Lillard and other NBA players at their Goodwin Sports agency. "He understands the value of connecting with fans in authentic ways and there is no better way to do that today than through social media."