Should Bodybuilders Talk Politics?

by Christian Duque

The idea for all bodybuilders and fitness-minded people on social media is to become influencers. I don’t care if you’re a top level pro athlete or you have a great physique and a boatload of paying sponsors. Anyone who lifts weights and creates content for Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube, is looking to grow their audience. The more people they reach, the better. The more people who engage with their posts, the better case they can make for more money and better treatment from sponsors.

At the end of the day, everyone strives to be an influencer in the truest sense of the term. And what is an influencer? Well, it’s someone who has a say in consumers’ decisionmaking process. They may also have a say in terms of lifestyle choices, morality, and shaping perspectives, but cash-paying sponsors don’t really care too much about all that other stuff. Influencers can do that on their own time. Saving the world and making a difference is fine and dandy, but it doesn’t keep the lights on. When companies put money in the pockets of influencers, all they want to know is what kind return on investment (ROI) are they going to get. Goodwill is secondarily important, but money talks and bullshit walks.

Put in the simplest possible terms it’s all about money out versus money in. If the money they give the influencer isn’t doubled or tripled in return, then that’s a bad business deal and it’s not to be repeated again. Therefore, influencers must strive to grow their audiences as best as possible. And this is the perfect spot to discuss divisive topics that undermine an influencer’s ability to grow the largest, most robust audience possible.

The key for any sponsored athlete or fitness influencer should be to grow an audience as quickly and efficiently as possible. This does not mean buying likes or much less buying followers. In order to achieve this, it’s very important that the content that is published, be positive, insightful, and thought-provoking.

Politics is one of the most divisive things that can be posted on social media because it pins one group of people against another. Whether you want to think in terms of right or left, liberal or conservative, it really doesn’t matter. Political issues tend to polarize audiences, and that is the antithesis of developing an audience where the influencer’s opinion will be instrumental in the consumer’s ultimate decision-making process.

While there is a school of thought that teaches that any reaction is a good reaction that is not conducive for what an influencer is trying to do in the fitness industry. Instead of having an audience full of supporters that influencer could easily have an audience that’s comprised half of haters and half of supporters. The supporters may turn into consumers, while the haters may counteract the influencer’s efforts and even badmouth the influencer’s sponsors. It’s a recipe for disaster is what it is. And if you think I’m exaggerating, let me assure you I’m not.

Someone may go to an influencer’s page because they like his physique or they like his training style, but if all of a sudden they start seeing a lot of political posts that they don’t agree with at all, their support can easily turn into resentment. This is why it is often said that you should never discuss politics, religion, or favorite sports teams amongst friends. It usually winds up in some sort of an argument, and sometimes things are said, that cannot be taken back.

So should social media platforms be scrutinized? Should influencers sugarcoat certain topics and walk on eggshells for others? Where is the edginess there? Where is the unfiltered speech?

The reality of the matter is top influencers may seem like they do and say whatever they want, but that’s part of the image. Don’t be fooled for a second! Everything they post is carefully studied before it goes out. They may seem to not care, but believe you me, they do. And one thing you will never see on a top influencer’s platforms are political points. There could be a nuclear war going on, but the most famous influencers will never opine. There’s nothing there for them, except losing influence, losing followers, and not making any money. The top influencers think in terms of dollars and cents.

As I said earlier in this article, companies that sponsor athletes don’t care if you want to save the world. And if you do want to save the world, do it on your own time, not theirs.

Political speech is just bad for business so my advice to you is, if you want to be a successful influencer in the fitness industry, avoid it at all costs. And don’t feel like you’ve sold out or like you don’t have any rights. You’re free to say whatever you want, just don’t do it on the clock. Don’t do it while you’re representing your sponsors and don’t do it on the page that you use in the fitness industry. Believe me, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. It’s a lose lose all around.

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