Interview with Lewis Howes, founder of Sportsnetworker.com and author of LinkedWorking

Lewis Howes took some time out from his busy schedule to answer some of my questions about Lewis, LinkedIn, Social Media and how we fair when it comes to Social Media here in the UK.

For those of you who have not come across Lewis Howes before (I dont think that will be many of you!), he is a previous two sport collegiate All-American, is also the NCAA All-Division Record Holder for the most receiving yards in a single football game (418 yards, the current unofficial World Record).

As an athlete, Lewis was featured on ESPN and in Sports Illustrated.  He graduated from Principia College with his degree in Sports Management and has been involved with the sports industry since his retirement from professional football. He founded the Sports Executives Association and SportsNetworker.com which helps him connect sports executives around the world both online and through events.  Lewis also represents sports companies and professional athletes with social media marketing and branding.

Lewis has successfully translated the mental and physical tools learned in sports to the business world.  In addition to Sports Networker, Lewis is the co-author of the LinkedIn success book, LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website.

Lewis on Lewis…..

Q – How much have you enjoyed your journey from being football player to becoming book writer, blogger, public speaker, inventor and social media guru?

I’ve really enjoyed the journey and continue to enjoy it. I’ve met a lot of really amazing people and that’s been a huge part of it. Actually, earlier this year I started blogging a series of posts about my journey to success, inspired by Chris Brogan’s Overnight Success Series on his blog.

Q – You are now writing your second book, which I believe involves interviewing athletes around the world.  What do you hope to achieve through the book and can you add anymore to what it is about?

I can’t give out too many details at this point, but it’s mostly about showing how the top athletes in the world think, and how you can tap into that same mindset for your business.

Q – You once listed your dreams as being;  public speaker, bestselling author, successful entrepreneur and  film documentary of your travels to the top 30 salsa clubs in 30 cities in 30 days.  You have managed to achieve the first 3, is the salsa dream still something you want to achieve?

Yes, it’s definitely still on my list. Working up to it, all about finding the time to make it happen now 🙂

Q – You have achieved much of what you have through LinkedIn.  What are your top 3 tips for people reading this to making the most from what the site has to offer?

Take the time to fill out your profile 100% of the way, constantly update and add new contacts. Also, consider utilizing features like the groups. By creating a new group for your niche market you are adding value by giving others the opportunity to connect and network.

Lewis on Social Media and the UK…..

Q – You are doing more events and speaking in the UK this year.  How is the UK viewed in terms of social media by people in the US?

I definitely can’t speak on behalf of other Americans, but in my personal experience there are a lot of great people doing great things with social media in the UK. I’ve had the chance to connect with some new contacts from the sports social media scene. I’ve enjoyed both attending and hosting networking events in the UK.

Q – What are the best examples of clubs/athletes using social media to engage fans and increase income in the US?

The White Sox, Phoenix Suns, New York Jets, among others are doing an amazing job using social media and engaging fans.

Q – What were the barriers faced by social media pioneers when convincing sports administrators on the benefits of social media?

If you aren’t online using social media and on a personal level it can be hard to envision how you can use the platforms for your organization or company.  I think becomes a barrier in convincing administrators with a more traditional approach in communications. It’s still a relatively new phenomenon and I think that rapid change scares some people.

Q – Clubs and associations here are starting to hire a Social Media Executive to run all their social media activity with no real strategy in mind.  Is this the best way forward to ensure they maximize benefits or are they missing the point?

Being careful who you hire is step one to ensure a positive outcome. I think it’s important for the person controlling the social media strategy to work closely with all teams. This person is giving your organization a voice/image online so you want to make sure that it’s the voice/image you want to share.

Q – A fear of loss of control and fans using Facebook to vent their anger over poor results are cited as reasons clubs are worried about becoming involved in social media.  What would you say to the decision makers at these clubs?

If people want to speak negatively about you online they are going to find an outlet for it. I would argue that it’s much better to have that discussion take place on your turf where you have the control. Give people a forum to voice their opinion so you can respond appropriately.

Q – Fan discontentment and a feeling of being ignored by the clubs they support, governing bodies of their sport and players they adulate.  These are common themes in sport in the UK at this time – how can social media help bring fans and teams/players closer together?

Those real time connections between fans and players are priceless. People crave authenticity in social media. That’s why the players that Tweet for themselves seem to do so well with social media. It’s a source of instant feedback for those fans who used to feel ignored.

 

Thanks to Lewis for taking the time out to speak to The UK Sports Network and we look forward to seeing him in the UK very soon.

About author

Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 820 posts

Dan is the Founder & CEO of Digital Sport. Can be found at sports industry events and heard every week on the Digital Sport Insider podcast. @DanielMcLaren

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