Question: Which sports star has created the most-positive buzz on social media since 2011?

(Some hints: He is an author, plays in the New York Mets organization at the AAA level, was an outstanding college football star, played with success briefly in the NFL, but teams won’t hire him. Instead, he has worked for ESPN as an analyst for the SEC Network.)

Answer: Tim Tebow, and the author of “This is the Day.”

With about 4.77 million highly devoted Twitter followers, he’s a great case study in creating buzz. That’s ironic since he’s no longer known for winning games. He does great deeds through his charitable foundation,

Think back to 2010 and the furor over the CBS decision to allow a certain commercial in its 2010 Super Bowl broadcast. The commercial featured then-college football star Tebow and his mother for an organization called the Focus on the Family in an anti-abortion appeal.

Mr. Tebow’s awards included the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top football player, the Davey O’Brien Award as the best quarterback in the U.S., and the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete in any sport.

But many advertising professionals questioned the feasibility of giving him endorsement opportunities.

In response to an article at about whether such an endorsement would hurt Mr. Tebow’s potential for getting future endorsements as a pro, I wrote:

“…it will largely depend on his success on and off the field. The Tiger Woods’ situation has created a void in this sector. If he stays true to his values in words, deeds and play on the field, he’ll be in demand.”

Perhaps relatively few in the abortion-rights groups are likely to watch football or buy products preferred by fans. But religious conservatives usually do.

Identify with a winner

More importantly, most people identify with a winner. And Mr. Tebow was the architect of a half-dozen 4th-quarter victories for the Denver Broncos guiding them unexpectedly to the playoffs in 2011. But he was deemed expendable when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning, and it wasn’t a right situation for him for either the New York Jets or the New England Patriots.

Mr. Tebow is ostensibly a very special young man in that he knows he is and for what he stands – and a great football player with a winning smile. In the main, core values and acting with conviction are what ultimately matter to mainstream Americans.”

A Tebow testimonial might not work for you. It’s important to pick the right people to be your centers of influence to create an online buzz.

OK, so you don’t own a large company and can’t afford to pay a pro football star to record videos to endorse your products. So what can you do?

Two adages

Two adages come to mind.

Firstly, start with a famous quote by the nation’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt:  “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

In other words, focus on making the most of your assets.

Secondly, there’s another old saying I learned from a family friend and employer, Andy Andrews, as a kid growing up in Palm Springs. He hired me as a bus boy at the Palm Springs Tennis Club.  He also used to treat us to tickets to spring training games to watch the then-California Angels.

In one game, I was stunned to see Willie Mays drop three fly balls in the high desert sky – meaning it was very bright sunshine and hard to spot fly balls. It was quite an event for me as an impressionable young man because the centerfielder was at his peak. Baseball fans continually argued whether he was as good or better than Mickey Mantle.

And I couldn’t wait to tell friends at school about I saw. That was probably buzz the Say-Hey kid could do without. During the excitement, Mr. Andrews said to me: “It isn’t what you know that counts, it’s who you know.”

For generating business, it was an admonition I never forgot. Sports figures have traditionally been in demand as spokespersons. And we certainly know Mr. Tebow, who creates more buzz than any other sports star. And Addidas seems to think so with a multi-year deal.


So what if you don’t know a Tim Tebow to provide the most influence for you? Who can be a candidate to be your advocate for creating buzz in a word-of-mouth campaign?

In keeping with President Roosevelt’s advice look for a popular but respected blogger to be your advocate.

If you have salespeople, consider what Best Buy pioneered in doing. The chain encourages its customer service people to blog about products after trying them out. You can do this in your company by providing incentives, such as a 15 percent discount on products.

Also, look for prominent people in your community to provide testimonials. You’d be surprised if you just approach them and ask.

Loyal customers often will gladly provide word-of-mouth testimonials.

On your Web site you can enable social networking platforms.

Oh, and remember the Federal Trade Commission requirement for bloggers to disclose whether they’ve received an financial benefit for their blogs.

This is not a substitute for paid marketing but it’s a valuable, inexpensive option to create buzz.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more tips:

UCLA Psychologists Tell What Triggers People to Share on Social Media — Buzz. Marketers, senior managers, business owners, and consultants crave it for revenue. Career-minded individuals engaged in self-promotion also want it. Another term for buzz is the “salesperson effect.” For the first time, we learn how ideas are spread, what messages go viral on social media, and how to predict it. 

A Lesson in Great E-mail Marketing Using Social Media, Videos — Dog lovers would love a promotion by Orvis. Actually, you don’t have to own a dog to appreciate the digital marketing by the firm. Orvis is a nationwide high-end purveyor of men’s and women’s clothing, products for the home and travel, and of course you can buy gifts for your dog. 

8 Tips to Optimize Sales with Social Media, But Beware of a Red Flag — How and why social media should be part of your marketing and human-resources recruiting mix. Here are eight tips, but they come with a caveat.   It’s time-consuming, but social media should be part of your marketing and human-resources recruiting mix. 

How to Best Profit: Word-of-Mouth Advertising, Customer Service –To increase your sales revenue with word-of-mouth advertising, here are 10 tips.

“While it may be true that the best advertising is word-of-mouth, never lose sight of the fact it also can be the worst advertising.”

-Jef I. Richards


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.