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NIKE Social Media Analysis By Sara Babb, Angelica Cervantes, and Sydney Richardson

University of Central Oklahoma Social Media and Mobile Technologies


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Nike is the most recognized sports brand in the world, with over 50 years of changing the sportswear industry, it was only a matter of time for the company to be the champion of social media marketing. The sportswear and equipment giant was previously known as Blue Ribbon Sports (RBS) founded in 1964 by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman (Mathew). Bowerman was a running coach to Knight and initially started the dream of improving training shoes for better runner success. Once Knight received his MBA in Finance from Stanford University, he himself decided to import shoes from Japan and sell them in his local area. Eventually, Knight and Bowerman became business patterns and created one of the most recognized brands in the world. The brand's memorable slogan to “Just Do It” and endorsement of professional athletes has increased Nike’s awareness and ultimately resulted in a multi-billion dollar industry. Today, Nike produces just about everything needed for athletic success for almost every sport. The range of what Nike supplies is endless, but they are highly recognized for their shoes. The traditional advertisement was very successful for the company, but Nike knew the endless opportunities the World Wide Web offered and took action. Nike began experimenting with digital platforms as early as 1996 when the brand launched Nike.com for the Atlanta Olympics, distributing assets and interviews to media around the world. This move was the basis for all further digital expansion (Swallow). In 2005, the company began their efforts with Social Media and began a partnership with Google to create Joga.com in support of 2006 World Cup. Social Media is a crucial part of brands and companies all over the world, including Nike. According to Nike's Global Digital Brand and Innovation Director Jesse Stollak (2011), “Social networks are tools that help build and leverage our relationship with the consumer. These networks serve as a platform to reach our athletes. However, the goal hasn't changed since the beginning of Nike — we want to connect with athletes to inspire and enable them to be better.


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The rise of social media provides new ways to do this. The future will have new tools and methods and Nike will continue to push the edges. This intersection between the physical and the digital is where we see the future and that intersection will be game-changing” (Swallow). To say that Nike Social Media presence is noteworthy would do it an injustice. With each individual affiliate, brand, and sport that Nike has under its wingspan, you can’t help but stop and admire each time they come across your timeline or pop up on your feed. According to Ryan Etter, Nike excels ahead of each of its competitors (Adidas, Under Armor etc.) in all social media platforms. During the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, where Adidas is an official partner of the games, Nike was mentioned in 26% of the conversations happening on social media, involving the World Cup, where Adidas was only mentioned 20%. Building their corner of the Social Media world, Nike began with each individual sport, brand, and affiliate, stretching across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Pinterest. On Twitter alone, Nike has no less than 16 different affiliates, brand or sports accounts associated with their name. That’s not including cities around the world that have their own Nike branded account. All of these accounts coming to play in between the years of 2007-2009. And the official Nike twitter joining a little later in 2011 along with other Social Media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. On Twitter, Nike primarily uses this platform to respond to consumers. According to David Moth, in 2013, the Nike.com Twitter account would reply to over 100 accounts each day. Giving tips on which products to use, links to the website someone was needing or simply to motivate. Some platforms such as Tumblr and Pinterest only have accounted for the Nike for Women brand because of the audiences that both of these sites possess. Due to the vast amount of coverage Nike has on all Social Media sites, it’s


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safe to say that their accounts are managed in-house and each of the derivatives has their own team of hands and eyes working diligently to continue to uphold the Nike Brand. Video streaming today, is a huge social media platform that can allow to reach consumers, worldwide a lot faster. When you watch a Nike YouTube video, it makes you want to get up and get moving. So, why does Nike have fewer YouTube subscribers than a beauty blogger? The answer might not be simple, because there are a lot of factors that go into a successful social media platform. YouTube registers Nike as first joining in 2006, and currently having over 650K subscribers. When you first search Nike their latest update will show up with their current campaign. Users can see current views and likes, but in the comments, Nike fails to engage with their followers. This is a huge missed opportunity from Nike, followers are offering their immediate feedback, and if they feel unheard they might turn to a competitor. Nike’s main channel does not seem as active, but there are other channels like Nike Football, Nike Basketball, Nike Golf, unfortunately, they also have a low following. The videos posted are short, sweet and to the point, but there are not up to date. There are many current events that Nike could capitalize on but for one reason or another, they have directed their focus elsewhere. They do an excellent job of endorsing athletes, celebrities, and public figures who will sell the product for them. But, there are huge opportunities being missed with millennials, who promote for free. Another social media platform for Nike is Pinterest. The site is primarily used by women which explains why the only verified Nike account is Nike Women. The page has a little over 200k followers and multiple boards. They are strong to market their different campaigns, individualizing them by different moods/goals. Each board comes with a purpose and under each picture, Nike adds a link that directs the user to their site. Nike could create additional Pinterest accounts boards because women also shop for their husbands, kids etc. When you search for


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additional Nike products outside of those offered for women, Pinterest directs you to other sites like footwear. Their last post was over 3 months ago, making them appear inactive. The product descriptions are vague and only offer a link to shop their website. Lululemon, also an athletic merchant, has over 2 million followers on Pinterest. Lululemon does not only post their products, they also post stories, events, and moods. They do an excellent job making the consumer feel heard and part of the brand. On the contrast, Nike’s posts are more “model” pictures, nothing natural or in the moment. Consumers don’t want to be sold, they want to be heard. Similar to Pinterest, Nike only has a Tumblr account for the Nike for Women brand. This prohibits Tumblr’s users from getting a full impact of all that Nike has to offer. A recommendation for this platform for Nike is to create an official account for Tumblr, just so those users know that there is more to Nike than women workout clothing. Not having each of the affiliates, sports and brands on the platform, makes sense because of the type of audience that is on Tumblr might not be their specific target market, but simply having the official account could add another following and have another outlet that this company can definitely utilize and profit off of. Nike [has] their largest and longest standing following on Facebook, with just under 22 million followers. Their Facebook page functions as a bit of a hub for Nike’s online activity, as their multi-purpose account not only works as a normal fan page, it also has customized tabs that link followers directly to their Instagram account and Nike Support page. In addition to this there is also a ‘Shop Now’ button that redirects users to their online store (Sundberg). There are multiple Nike accounts on Facebook, some of them include pages such as Nike Football, Nike Women, Nike Golf, and Nike Basketball. The company uses Facebook to share both video and


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photos of products, as well as athletes and events they sponsor. Nike makes it a point to share content from each of their official pages to get more views and activity from their audience. On Instagram, Nike has 7.4 million followers which is more than double their competitors Under Armor. Posts generally receive between 300k and 400k likes and dozens of comments from followers, mainly of people sharing the content with their friends. They have developed a number of brand hashtags, including their trademark #justdoit, as well as #nikewomen to support their ongoing campaign to empower women in sport and others specific to products or events, such as #airmaxday (Sundberg). There is more photo content than video content, however there is little content advertising the average consumer. It’s very important that Nike looks into relating with their audience by posting their products in everyday use, even if it’s one out of twenty posts. Other platforms such as snapchat have placed great importance on raw and real content, if Nike doesn’t conform they risk losing a portion of their audience and consumers. Nike’s activity on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube tends to represent a flighting media schedule, which means they run advertisements for set periods of time and alternate with periods which no ads run. During the research conducted, on each of the platforms that the official Nike brand holds accounts, include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Nike seems to use the same content on each. Their voice is the same across the board. With that being said, their voice is so unique, no matter what site that you’re on when you see the Nike swoosh you know what to expect and feel the same way you would if you saw it on another account. Their existence on social media isn’t to make you laugh or cheer you up but to feel motivated and empowered. As they often post their slogan “Just Do It” this gives an insight to the kind of motivational and investing messages that they put forth.


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A recommendation for Nike will be to utilize their social media accounts more. Throughout Twitter, Facebook or even Pinterest, Nike just retweets or reposts others user’s content. Nike could capitalize their brand by show more activity, more interaction and less brand. As previously stated customers do not want to be “sold� they want to be a part of the brand. Consumers are offering their immediate feedback, asking to be heard, and Nike is taking advantage of the opportunity.


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Works Cited:

Mathew, A. (n.d.). Nike, Inc. Success Story. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://successstory.com/companies/nike-inc R. (2015, July 07). Impulse Buying: Are You Guilty? Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/rent/2015/07/07/impulse-buying-are-youguilty/4/#6e56f3ca137f Swallow, E. (2011, September 22). How Nike Outruns the Social Media Competition. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/nike-socialmedia/#b2UfmKyZM5qD Sundberg, J. (2016, February 16). How Nike Uses Social Media [CASE STUDY]. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from http://linkhumans.com/blog/nike Econsultancy, D. M. (2013, March 27). How Nike uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://econsultancy.com/blog/62412-how-nike-usesfacebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google

Social Media Analysis: Nike  

Group Paper by Sara Babb and classmates

Social Media Analysis: Nike  

Group Paper by Sara Babb and classmates

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