How 3 Prospects Grew Their Personal Brands off the Field Before the NFL Combine

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Photo credit: INFLCR

(*INFLCR is a Proud Partner of FOS)

Josh Allen entered the 2018 college football season with a big goal: Help the University of Kentucky make history, and in the process, solidify himself as one of the nation’s top players and top NFL draft prospects going into the Feb. 26-March 4 NFL Combine.

That was on the field.

Off the field, Allen had big goals too. Among them was to leverage his time in the Southeastern Conference spotlight to grow a larger following on social media.

And that is where Influencer (INFLCR) became a valuable tool for Allen and Kentucky teammates like Benny Snell.

The INFLCR content delivery software platform helps clients like Kentucky football distribute their internally curated content into personalized galleries on each of the mobile devices of their athletes, coaches and other brand ambassadors, for them to access and share via their personal social-media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. Clients like Kentucky can then use their INFLCR dashboard and usage reports to track their “audience lift” via the much larger collective audience of those brand ambassadors.

Allen began the 2018 season with about 6,700 followers on Instagram. But with the help of some coaching from a new relationship he struck with INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale — one of the nation’s leading experts on personal branding — and access to great content produced by Kentucky via the INFLCR mobile app, Allen ended his senior season with more than 34,600 followers on Instagram — an increase of 416 percent.

“I love the INFLCR app,” Allen said. “Before INFLCR, you might have to wait two weeks to get a picture. But with the INFLCR app, all the pictures are right there. You never have to ask for your pictures. Having everything at the tip of your fingers instead of having to ask someone is awesome.”

Teammate Benny Snell also saw a dramatic rise in his personal brand as he became Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher on the field and increased his Instagram following off the field from 25,200 to 90,400 during the course of the season.

“It is clear from our metrics that delivering content to the student-athletes via the INFLCR app helps them grow their personal brands,” Cavale said. “But the important thing to remember is that this is happening within the context of the team brand. Empowering your athletes to tell their stories on social media, using the great content the team is already investing significant time and money to create, is a win-win ‘rising tides lift all boats’ situation for the athlete and the team.”

Sharing content with its student-athletes and other brand ambassadors paid off in big ways for the team, too. Programs like Kentucky reached millions of additional viewers on social media by delivering content to their student-athletes.

It was clearly a mutually beneficial relationship.

On average, Kentucky student-athletes saw their personal Instagram followings grow by 38 percent during the course of the season, and overall athlete brand growth grew by an astounding 57 percent. But Kentucky wasn’t the only INFLCR client to see its student-athletes experience significant personal-brand growth while enjoying easy access to team content.

INFLCR looked at the Instagram numbers for five clients during the season: Auburn and Kentucky from the SEC, Miami from the ACC, UAB from Conference USA and Troy from the Sun Belt. All five saw their student-athletes grow their following substantially while sharing content produced by the school. The clients then could measure the additional audience they reached through this activity via INFLCR’s dashboards and regular client success reports.

Miami, for example, reached more than 2.8 million additional social media viewers with content shared by its student-athletes to their personal accounts via INFLCR during the season. On average, Miami student-athlete Instagram accounts grew by 28 percent during the season, while Auburn came in at 27 percent. UAB student-athlete accounts grew followings by 18 percent, while Troy check in at a 12-percent increase.

Miami senior defensive back Jaquan Johnson grew his Instagram audience more than 15 percent, topping 22,600 followers on the platform.

“I love to give out my story,” Johnson told INFLCR at the Senior Bowl, where he was one of more than 80 participating athletes who accessed content produced by the All-Star Game and shared via INFLCR through an innovative partnership. “I love to post inspirational quotes and the things I live by. With the INFLCR app, it’s easy to access pictures and get them out to the media.”

Johnson was a big fan of how easy INFLCR made it to tell his story using content produced and distributed by Miami’s creative staff.

“As soon as we get into the locker room, you can see the entire team going to the app looking for good-looking pictures that we can post. I was able to access pictures immediately, right away, pictures that I didn’t think I would have access to. With the app I was able to post immediately and show the fans my life.”