Social media has become the be-all and end-all for major sporting organizations. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook have taken over the sporting world, while fans expect instant communication with their idols. These networks have boosted the popularity of many athletes, none more so than the WWE bunch.
In some cases, athletes have even driven forward new trends which have taken over social media since their inception. Viral campaigns involving major sportsmen and women have proven instant hits. One recent case in point involves soccer stars Neymar Jr. and Ronaldo starting their own bid to outraise each other (and raise the profile of freestyle football while at it) with the #RaiseIt campaign. Encouraging freestylers worldwide to display their skills, the campaign has brought together people from all backgrounds, including a woman freestyling and kicking an egg while wearing high heels. Her exploit was reported by The Daily Mail, viewed almost 600,000 times on Imgur in just four days and triggered thousands of videos from across the world from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. With the two Brazilian stars getting more than 19 million views for their own videos and picking over 100,000 shares, the campaign has spread wide and fast.
Viral campaigns have proven their worth and even the biggest stars of the WWE appear to have taken heed from their success, starting with the greatest of them all, who already has a huge presence on social media. Let’s see what other wrestlers could learn from them.
The Rock is the most famous name to emerge from the WWE, although his appearances in the ring are few and far between these days due to his very successful television and movie career. However, Dwayne Johnson continues to endorse his former employers through his social media platforms. He boasts over 10 million followers on Twitter, but his most influential account is on Instagram, where he has passed the 60 million mark. The majority of his posts tend to promote his work, including his series Ballers on HBO and his movie franchise The Fast and the Furious.
The former WWE champion keeps an excellent rapport with his followers, especially on Twitter where he often replies to tweets of support and jest. As a result, the 44-year-old can enjoy great success spreading his message across a mass audience, including his recent delving into the Pokémon Go craze. Using the hashtag #PokeRock, he produced a parody character, tapping into the huge audience currently immersed in the game.
The Rock has shown great awareness of pop culture, embracing social media on all formats, even managing to poke fun at himself with an old picture that has made its way into the Halloween outfit collection of fans every October. He remains the standout success story of the modern WWE era, paving the way for others to follow in his footsteps.
Cena was the heir to Johnson’s fan-favorite status in the WWE when he joined the organization. Thanks to his flair and talent on the microphone he quickly rose through the ranks to become involved in the main events. After becoming the star of the organization, Cena entered the world of Hollywood, like The Rock, albeit with less success.
His personality on social media as well as on the ring has made him a must-follow star even for casual fans of the WWE, racking up over eight million followers on Twitter. The 39-year-old has taken advantage of his strong presence on the platforms to announce his return to action, using a variety of hashtags and memes to spark a rivalry with AJ Styles, who started the feud with his hashtag #BeatUpJohnCena. The duo will now battle it out in the next PPV event at SummerSlam.
However, he doesn’t use his accounts for direct communication with his fanbase like The Rock. By offering his supporters a chance to interact on a more constant basis, Cena could increase his number of followers, leading to even better publicity for himself. Should Cena focus his attention on producing a similar outcome for the WWE, his popularity and sense of humor would guarantee booming business for the organization.
Michael Mizanin, otherwise known as “The Miz,” had a different route to the WWE as he starred in “The Real World” before making the switch to wrestling. He has enjoyed a long-running career in the WWE after joining the organization in 2004, reaching the highest level by headlining at major events, including Wrestlemania.
The 35-year-old embraced the role of boo-boy as the man you love to hate in the ring, adopting an arrogant personality in his style and tone on the microphone. He has carried that over in his dealings on social media, and although he does not boast the same popularity as fan favorites The Rock and Cena, The Miz still has 2.4 million followers on Twitter.
The former WWE champion does interact with his fans and also his haters on the platform, while also displaying his life away from the ring, particularly in his backing of Cleveland’s sports teams. It displays a different side to his character and makes following his account more interesting than just focusing on the promotional aspects of the WWE, opening up the prospect of attracting fans of the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers to his page.
As a result, if he were to participate in a viral campaign it could have greater success and reach a wider audience thanks to the diversity of his tweets.
Are WWE Superstars Getting the Most out of Social Media?
In the small sample discussed here, we can see that all three men have adopted different styles on social media, which may be a reflection of their personality away from the ring. The Rock is a global superstar and certainly gets the most out of his popularity, but also embraces interaction with his followers, thus increasing the propensity of his supporters to follow his exploits. Interaction is key to getting the most of the platforms, which is why The Rock is able to generate success in his viral campaigns, which should be heeded by others attempting to do the same.
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