NFL Social Content Manager Jordan Dolbin on Building Athletes’ Social Presence

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As personal branding continues to create opportunities for professional athletes, leagues are creating programs to help players improve their social presence with greater resources and education. Jordan Dolbin is leading one such program at the National Football League.

A graduate of Baker University and the University of Minnesota, Dolbin is now the manager of social content with the NFL. Dolbin joined the NFL in 2015 after a number of internships within sports and a stint as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota.

Dolbin joins Shahbaz Khan on today’s episode to discuss her role managing the NFL’s player social marketing program.

Edited highlights appear below:

On what managing the player social marketing program entails (1:00)

“We help our players be successful and activate on social. Whether that’s just simply sharing content with them or actually working with them to help identify content creation opportunities, we help them actually execute that if they want to. I’m trying to help them showcase who they are on social. So it’s not entirely focused on football. It’s honestly everything about them. However they want to activate on social, we help them do that.”

On advice she gives to NFL rookies in regards to social media (16:49)

“We don’t focus a ton on the ‘don’ts’. We leave that to the clubs and to their player engagement departments…Generally, guys get that they shouldn’t lose it emotionally on social…We don’t focus too much on the nuance of the platforms and what you should do on this platform versus this platform. We take a bit of a more holistic approach and social is here for you to be able to own your story, own your narrative, own your brand, build your brand, connect with your fans. When we go into these presentations, I like to just focus on how players can build their brands and what’s important, who’s doing it well, how they can grow organically, because our focus is just organic content.”

Social on the Sidelines is Presented to You By:

On what players have established a quality social media presence (27:05)

“[JuJu Smith-Schuster] does a really good job of not only just being active. He’s active across platforms. He’s on Youtube, he’s on Instagram, he’s on Twitter, he’s on Facebook, he’s on everything and it’s all pretty authentic to him. He’s, he’s great at it. He’s a late adopter and it’s no surprise, but Tom Brady has been awesome and I think he’s done a good job of making himself relatable because three years ago, really the only off the field insight you got into his life was just his sponsored stuff and it was always like really expensive brands… I think Aaron Rogers has been able to do it the same. He’s active, but he’s another guy who kind of brought himself to a bit more of a relatable level. And then I think Russell Wilson does a really, really good job of showcasing what he’s doing off the field.”

Advice for growing within the social media side of the sports industry (36:34)

“My biggest piece of advice is finding somewhere that’s a good fit for you… For people who are in the hiring position…we get super caught up in our networks. Generally, your network oftentimes looks a lot like you and it takes effort to get a diverse network and we should be putting that effort in. And so if that means, you know, going to [conventions] or if that means dipping into a pool that you don’t usually dip into. There are resources outside of just posting something on Twitter. …You can reach out to a school and tell them you have a position if they have candidates. I think it takes effort to build a diverse network and people should put a bit of an emphasis on that.”

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