Nike Gains New Customers Through Instagram

5 Min Read. |

About Nike:


Nike, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area. It is one of the world’s largest suppliers of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment, with revenue in excess of US$24.1 billion in its fiscal year 2012 (ending May 31, 2012). As of 2012, it employed more than 44,000 people worldwide. In 2014 the brand alone was valued at $19 billion, making it the most valuable brand among sports businesses.

The company was founded on January 25, 1964, as Blue Ribbon Sports, by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight,and officially became Nike, Inc. on May 30, 1971. The company takes its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Nike markets its products under its own brand, as well as Nike Golf, Nike Pro, Nike+, Air Jordan, Nike Blazers, Air Force 1, Nike Dunk, Air Max, Foamposite, Nike Skateboarding, and subsidiaries including Brand Jordan, Hurley International and Converse. Nike also owned Bauer Hockey (later renamed Nike Bauer) between 1995 and 2008, and previously owned Cole Haan and Umbro. In addition to manufacturing sportswear and equipment, the company operates retail stores under the Niketown name. Nike sponsors many high-profile athletes and sports teams around the world, with the highly recognized trademarks of “Just Do It” and the Swoosh logo.

The Challenge:

Nike wanted to create a marketing campaign that adds value and advertises their brand, based on a number of key trends currently driving audience behaviors and one which includes creative self-promotion.

The Solution:

With over 10 million followers, Nike capitalized on their Instagram following, by turning them into customers. In 2013, Nike launched one of the most successful campaigns called the Nike #PHOTOiD campaign, which gave their community the unique opportunity to create custom Nike trainer shoes based on the colors in their favorite Instagram photos. Participants could upload photos to a Nike PHOTOiD landing page and there will be a tool that would automatically design their very own custom shoes based on the colors featured in their Instagram photo. Once customized, the shoe design can be shared on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+, and most importantly customers can then simply click-through to Nike’s mobile store to buy their new personalized trainers.

The Results:

  • Over 100,000 shoes created in the first week
  • Over 600 shoes created per hour at peak
  • 8% clicked through to buy shoes on Nike ID
  • Zero media spend
  • Nike ID’s online community is estimated to be 15 million strong with revenue of the fiscal year 2013 exceeding $100 million.


Campaigns like these are great examples of Nike’s focus on their audience and the ways they bring them into the content creation to inspire action with the brand.

The reason for Nike’s popularity on the image sharing site is down to the fact that Nike has an in-depth understanding of how the platform works. Nike’s Instagram images are beautifully shot images of people using their products.

The Nike Instagram account is a great example of marketing to where your audience looks.

  • Focus on your audience:


Adding a personal interaction with customers is one of the best ways to KEEP these customers coming back. Look for campaign opportunities that bring your audience front and center and incorporate their passion with your products. This focus on their audience is something that Nike is clearly committed to. They do a great job with their content of focusing on their community and encouraging them to participate in the sharing. Nike regularly gives shout-outs to members of its community to highlight their sharing and inspire the rest of the community to share. They also thank their audience for this participation and bring their community together by inviting the members of their community to follow each other. By focusing on their audience, Nike is highlighting their overall lifestyle rather than just promoting their products.

  • Don’t just sell but inspire your action in your customers:


Even with this audience focus, you’ll still occasionally see product shots in Nike’s feed. But always in ways that fit their visual storytelling on Instagram. The use of the shoes and Nike products in their feed serves the purpose of inspiring action from their community and getting them involved in the fitness experience that Nike creates. Instagram helps brands evolve past self-promotion to being a visual storyteller that shares equally with their community. Nike is a great example of this. The content they’re sharing on Instagram highlights the lifestyle that Nike represents and improves their overall branding. Focus your Instagram efforts on lifestyle branding.

  • Sharing Stunning Content is the key:


Most importantly, Nike shares great content. All of the work that Nike puts into Instagram is effective because the content they’re sharing is smart and stunning. It’s difficult to build a community when there isn’t good content for that community to view and interact with. Nike shares their products in unique views and captures the moments that are significant to the athletes in their community. Share content that authentically shows your lifestyle in stunning ways.

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