Social Media Audits for Student Athlete Influencers

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Social Media Audits for Student Athlete Influencers

Jun 09, 2021

Our thirteenth minisode of the fourth season of “The Creative Influencer” podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere. In this minisode, Jon discusses the steps that student athletes should take now to clean up their social media so that they are ready for Brand deals as influencers. But this is also required listening (or reading here) for all influencers, as everyone should follow these rules of the road.


A transcript of the episode follows:

This is lucky Minisode number thirteen of the fourth season of the Creative Influencer Podcast. And today, we are going to talk about how to avoid being unlucky with your social media past.

It’s a constant of our social media age: that people post insensitive comments in the moment only to regret it later. Sometimes that regret is immediate—think “tweeting under the influence.” Other times, it can be a post from many years ago, which have aged like old milk.

Influencers are already keenly aware of the importance of keeping their social media channels positive and “on brand” by regularly auditing their social media accounts to remove old posts or videos that may be seen in a negative light.

And while this best practice of auditing your social media is applicable to anyone who cares about their personal brand, it is especially important for student athletes to start this clean-up process now, before they get ready to enter the limelight.

Of course, student athletes are already ambassadors for their school and athletic department and team. When Name Image and Likeness rules go into effect, we can add brands and sponsors to that list—both the athlete’s own brand and those they may work with as an influencer.

These considerations are compounded by the fact that most influencer Brand Deals require good behavior by the Influencer by way of what are called Morals Clauses.

The reason behind a morals clause is that the brand paying for the marketing services by the Influencer wants to protect itself from any sort of negative publicity from the actions of the Influencer.

A Typical Morals Clause is generally something like this:

No payment would be required if the Agreement is cancelled by the Brand prior to the Posting Date of the Video due to the Influencer having been or alleged to have been at any time, involved in any act or situation which, in Brand’s sole and good faith judgment:
(a) shocks, insults or offends the community,
(b) constitutes an act or offense involving moral turpitude under any federal, state or local law, or
(c) brings Influencer into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule.
If, in Brand’s sole and good faith judgment, posting the Video would reflect poorly on the Brand or Brand’s products or services, the Brand shall have the right to terminate the Agreement and no payment shall be required.

What’s important to point out here—and can even sound unfair at first—is that these clauses often just require the allegation of one of these offenses and are one-sided to the Brand.

Many Brands are also writing in specific “off topic subjects” that should not be in the posts made as part of an influencer marketing agreement.

All influencers should not post about any of the following “off topic subjects”:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal activities
  • Dangerous activities that may result in harm to oneself or others
  • Animal welfare
  • Overt sexual behavior, such as nude photos or sex tapes
  • Politics
  • Reproductive issues, such as abortion and contraception
  • Terrorism
  • War

While common sense, sometimes posts can verge on the boundaries of these topics. It is wise to just avoid them altogether.

Keeping in mind these off-limit topics, this is where an audit of past posts comes into play, especially those made when you may not have been even thinking about being an influencer or having others scrutinize your social media feed.

Starting with your oldest tweet, post or video, look back and remove any reference or anything that could be mistaken as a reference to any of the previously mentioned off-limit topics.

Practically speaking, take down all pictures that include a red cup, because even if it’s just a soda, it can be interpreted as promoting alcohol.

Take down all pictures where you are smoking, regardless of the substance being smoked!

And social justice posts are great, but think twice about partisan political posts (red or blue).

Lastly, as part of your audit, search on major search engines for your name, and add in terms related to these topics to make sure nothing comes up that could fall into an off-limits category.

The reason for a simple search as part of your audit is that when you search for a person’s name or an athlete’s team name plus a term like ‘racial slur’ or ‘insensitive,’ you will often find old posts or controversies that would become a problem for a Brand deal.

The list of examples of athletes and celebrities here is long. Add to this the countless list of “Social Media Fails.” Don’t be a cautionary tale.

The Creative Influencer is a bi-weekly podcast where we discuss all things creative with an emphasis on Influencers. It is hosted by Jon Pfeiffer, an entertainment attorney in Santa Monica, California. Jon interviews influencers, creatives and the professionals who work with them.

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