RANCHO MIRAGE, CA - What to post, when to post and how much? Those are the questions that come with trying to strike a balance between the ever-growing demands of social media and thriving on Tour.
When So Yeon Ryu arrives in a new city, her first stop is the grocery store. It’s a trip she makes weekly with her mom and regularly shares on social media. It’s become a favorite post for Ryu’s fans.
My favorite time of the day! Grocery shopping with mommy❣내가 진짜 좋아하는 시간! 엄마랑 장보는 시간🍅🥑🍎… https://t.co/nCgF5cn3z6— Soyeon Ryu (@1soyeonryu) March 27, 2017
“First of all I’m Korean, so I have a lot of fans in Korea. I keep in communication with them. I think that’s one of the biggest reason why I keep very active on Instagram or Twitter,” Ryu told LPGA.com. “They really want to know how we prepare for the tournament, how are we swinging and what’s our hobby, what we want to eat.”
Social media has paved the way for professional athletes and sports organization to have conversations with their fans. It’s an opportunity to share their message and build a passionate and invested fan base. Through social media, fans can not only connect with the LPGA but also become part of the story.
During Ryu’s rookie season, she attended a media training session held by the LPGA and said she learned some valuable tips.
“It’s better not to share where you are currently, it is better to tag where you were after you’ve left. Better to upload something in English and Korean, better not to say some political or religious thing,” said Ryu. “It was really fun, and I basically control all my accounts based on their teachings.”
For Ryu, finding a balance is important.
“When I uploaded something very frequently someone will say ‘oh you should focus on golf instead of doing something.' It’s like do I really need to think about other people’s thinking? At the same time that does distract me, so if something is not super special I try not to upload something,” said Ryu. “This week I have my coach beside me so this week I work a lot, so I didn’t really have much time.”
Like Ryu, Lexi Thompson uses social media to stay connected with her fans and inspire the next generation. Thompson often uses Twitter and Instagram to post photos of her fitness and workout routines.
“I do believe strong is beautiful. A lot of people say muscles are not attractive and lifting weights makes women bulky, but I believe it's the total opposite. Strong is beautiful now, and I want that to show,” said Thompson.
“A lot of people that follow me on Instagram want to see my personal life and what do I do to train, practice or what do I do off the golf course, just to enjoy life. I'm happy to be able to show them; give a little insight on the real Lexi Thompson, not just the pro golfer.”
While some players go dark during the weekend of Tournaments or a major championship like this week’s ANA Inspiration, Thompson doesn’t shy away from posting.
“I interact on social media with pictures, with how I'm prepping for the major,” Thompson told LPGA.com. “Usually once the tournament starts, I kind of tone it down and don't really look at any comments because then people are involved with your scores and everything. I try to stay off it, just focus on being around my family and enjoying the week.”
Rookie Mel Reid isn’t as active as Thompson and knows she should probably do a little more on social media each week but says, “my life is pretty boring without my dogs, but it’s boring with my dogs as well. During a major I kind of try and stay off it in case something doesn’t go quite as planned, I’m still on social media, but I try and switch it off a bit in a major week.”
Reid tends to post more on Instagram because she likes pictures although she said she hadn't mastered the art of taking selfies and admits to wanting to learn how to do social media properly because she thinks it would be beneficial.
Each approach social media differently throughout a tournament week but they all understand the impact social media has in today’s society.