A whole new world for college sports began Thursday when laws in Alabama and several other states took effect allowing athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness.
The NCAA still prohibits players from being financially induced to attend or remain at a particular school, but now those players can, for instance, reach deals with companies to endorse products — with some restrictions.
Social media is a powerful marketing force in 2021, and Tide athletes with the largest social media followings stand to benefit the most from potential sponsorship revenue. The university recognized that when it announced a brand management program that would help its athletes “maximizing personal social media platforms.”
With money now on the table, Alabama athletes in recent weeks have posted messages to their social media accounts inviting contact about business deals.
But which have the most followers and the most leverage for potential income?
That list begins not with a football player but with junior men’s basketball guard Jahvon Quinerly, who appears to top Tide athletes in both Instagram followers (450,000) and Twitter followers (38,600). That is more than five times the Instagram followers of any Alabama football player and double the top football player’s followers on Twitter.
Part of Quinerly’s social media following dates to high school, when he was part of the “Jelly Fam” that made a particular type of finger-roll basket go viral online. Quinerly wrote on Twitter in March, “This is a movement that has the potential to not only put ourselves in better positions financially but our families as well.”
Incoming freshman guard JD Davison — a former five-star recruit, like Quinerly — is another potential marketing force on Instagram, boasting almost 350,000 followers. And guard Nimari Burnett, a former McDonald’s All-American who transferred this offseason from Texas Tech, has more than 58,000 followers on that platform. That is more than all but three football players.
Alabama’s top returning softball star also bests any football player in Instagram and Twitter followers. Pitcher Montana Fouts, whose stardom exploded with a perfect game in the Women’s College World Series last month, has 112,000 followers on Instagram and 26,000 on Twitter in addition to more than 129,000 fans on TikTok. Softball teammate Jenna Johnson has a sizable Instagram following of 34,900.
Some Tide gymnasts have followings that exceed most football players’. Emily Gaskins has 31,600 followers on Instagram, while Shallon Olsen boasts 18,700 and Lexi Graber has accumulated 17,100. Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday that an LSU gymnast with 1.1 million Instagram followers, Olivia Dunne, is expected to earn more from loosened NIL rules than any other college athlete.
With bona fide stars such as DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Mac Jones and Najee Harris gone to the NFL, the football program has fewer established brands entering the fall season. Predictably, quarterback Bryce Young — a five-star recruit who played sparingly as a freshman last season — is at or near the top of the lists with his social media presence.
Other players with large followings tend to fall into at least one of three categories: (1) former top recruits, (2) local ties to Alabama, and (3) skill position players.
Wide receivers in particular are well-followed, with presumptive starting wideouts John Metchie and Slade Bolden high on the lists along with several of the Tide’s highly-rated receiver prospects the past two recruiting cycles.
Offensive and defensive linemen could be at a disadvantage in earning social media marketing income. Left tackle Evan Neal, widely projected as a top 10 NFL draft pick next spring, does not rank within the top 20 in Instagram or Twitter followers among Tide football players.
Tuscaloosa native and likely starting running back Brian Robinson is Alabama’s second-most followed player on Twitter, while defensive backs in Pinson Valley’s Kool-Aid McKinstry and Hewitt-Trussville’s Malachi Moore and Pierce Quick are also popular follows.
Backup quarterback Paul Tyson, who has not attempted a pass in two seasons at Alabama, is among the top 20 in Instagram followers and top 10 in Twitter followers. The great-grandson of Bear Bryant’s path to playing time remains unclear behind Young and, beginning next season, five-star prospect Ty Simpson — but his opportunity to earn money at Alabama is real.
Freshman linebacker Kendrick Blackshire, a four-star recruit from Texas, will also be among the most followed Alabama players on social media when he arrives on campus this summer.
Most Instagram followers, Alabama football players:
- QB Bryce Young — 82,300
- ILB Kendrick Blackshire — 69,600
- WR John Metchie — 64,000
- CB Kool-Aid McKinstry — 52,400
- DB Malachi Moore — 45,800
- WR Agiye Hall — 42,500
- RB Trey Sanders — 32,200
- WR Slade Bolden — 29,100
- WR Traeshon Holden — 28,600
- WR Javon Baker — 28,600
- RB Brian Robinson, Jr. — 27,400
- WR Jameson Williams — 25,500
- ILB Henry To’oto’o — 23,100
- ILB Christian Harris — 22,200
- S Jordan Battle — 19,700
- S Daniel Wright — 18,600
- WR Ja’Corey Brooks — 17,600
- WR Xavier Williams — 17,500
- QB Paul Tyson — 16,200
- CB Josh Jobe — 15,800
Most Twitter followers, Alabama football players:
- ILB Henry To’oto’o — 17,200
- RB Brian Robinson, Jr. — 17,100
- QB Bryce Young — 16,000
- RB Trey Sanders — 15,300
- DB Malachi Moore — 14,300
- WR John Metchie — 13,300
- CB Kool-Aid McKinstry — 13,200
- QB Paul Tyson — 11,700
- WR Slade Bolden — 10,600
- S Jordan Battle — 10,400
- DL LaBryan Ray — 10,400
- ILB Kendrick Blackshire — 10,300
- ILB Christian Harris — 9,789
- CB Josh Jobe — 9,000
- OL Chris Owens — 8,565
- OL Pierce Quick — 8,435
- OLB Christopher Allen — 8,343
- DL Phidarian Mathis — 7,979
- S Terrion Arnold — 7,876
- WR Agiye Hall — 7,725
Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.
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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.
You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).
You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.
While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.
We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.
Credit: buffer / app store
Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.
Credit: preview / app store
Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.
Credit: content office / app store
An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: plann / apple store
You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…
Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.
Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters
From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.
It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.
TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.
I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones
More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.
People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.
A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.
Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.
“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.
“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?
Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.
But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.
It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.
Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.
And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.
Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.
For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews
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