Nike’s Instagram Strategy Focuses On It’s Audience

Nike’s tagline “Just Do It” is not merely an amalgamation of three words. Over the years it has become an anthem. With a reach that transcends languages, borders, and demography, the power of these three small words is larger than life on social media. What happens when a brand that has coined such a powerful slogan takes to a social platform that defines the #selfie generation? A quick look at TOTEMS (formerly Nitrogram), an analytics tool that tracks how brands are performing on Instagram, puts Nike on top of the table with 4,815,016 followers and 27, 920, 351 posts mentioning the hashtag #Nike. That all this has happened merely 2.5 years since Nike’s first post on Instagram, makes it an even more spectacular achievement. Similar instagram analytics can be done by 20/Twenty, the social listening platform from Circus Social.

Despite the phenomenal response on Instagram, average posts from Nike’s flagship Instagram account sit at less than one a day. In fact, so far in 2014, Nike’s average number of posts per month stands at 12.16. This raises a pertinent question. Do brands that have amassed a huge number of fans have the luxury of posting less? In other words, what is Nike doing that in spite of low number of posts, is leading the pack on Instagram.

Tips For Instagram A Solid Instagram Strategy

1. Mix It Up


Nike has mastered the art of creating a great content mix. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the brand has been posting photos of football being played by locals in countries whose games are coming up. But before the Croatia-Brazil game, Nike gave a twist to the usual post by sharing a photo of men playing Picigin, a popular beach sport played with a tennis ball in Croatia. Great piece of local trivia, it broke the monotony of the usual football posts. 190K hearts. A true winner.

2. Express Your Gratitude


In March 2013, Nike decided to celebrate one million followers on Instagram by thanking them and sharing the 10 best brand related photographs posted by its followers. Most of these photographs were simple, some of them comprising just of shoes. But genuine gratitude goes a long way. The posts cumulatively got more than 700K likes and almost 7K comments. There were no prizes, no incentives; just organic love from the fans in return for some appreciation.

3. Create Exciting Instagram Campaigns


Nike is among the few brands to design campaigns solely for Instagram. Nike PHOTOiD is an extension of NIKEiD, the brand’s customization platform, and was launched in 2013. The webapp invited Instagram users to apply their Instagram image’s colour palette to Nike shoes, subject to the available colour library for each footwear. Users could not only share their creation on social platforms, but also order their customized shoe. A customized campaign for Instagram users that brought together user engagement and innovation in one stroke.

4. Build Your Community


Over the years, the success of Nike has been carefully hinged on the communities it has created. From runners and footballers to basketball and tennis players, Nike has touched lives across the board by making ordinary people feel like athletes. The brand\’s Instagram account lives up to this promise. While, sub-accounts such as Nike Running and Nike Football exist on Instagram, the flagship account continues to cater to these passion communities through distinct posts.

Learnings From Nike\’s Instagram Strategy

1. Lesser Content Does Not Lead To Lesser Engagement

Many brands focus on churning out tens of posts each day. While more number of posts might work for some brands, its reverse is not always true. Nike proves that quality of posts supersedes the number of posts. Once brands have gathered a high number of followers, the focus must shift to pleasing the followers than garnering new ones. Happy followers will do the job of getting new followers by spreading the word.

2. Get Your Users Involved

Nike PHOTOiD and gratitude posts demonstrate that the key to a successful social media strategy is involving the user. A lot of brands shy away from this fearing low response from users and subsequent drop in engagement. But they forget that user involvement is central to a compelling social story. Nothing can compare to hitting  an emotional chord with the user.

3. Keep Your Content Topical


In March 2014, Nike posted just six times on Instagram whereas in June 2014, this figure has already hit 21 mainly because of the posts around FIFA World Cup. Creating and sharing topical content is among the most simple things a brand can do, yet few brands abide by this golden rule.

4. Share Content Beyond Your Product


Nike understands that its central product may not always make for engaging content. It is a hard truth to accept but brands who do it are able to leap ahead of others. If your Instagram strategy is just a regurgitation of your catalogue, you\’re doing it wrong!