Nike’s Social Media Marketing Strategy

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Launched in 1969, Nike is a publicly traded company that is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon in the US. The company is a globally recognized leader in the sportswear industry, where it designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide range of footwear, accessories, apparels and other service products. Though Nike is widely regarded as an innovative company from its product design and quality, the robust and aggressive marketing strategy at Nike has been the foundation of the company’s dominance in the sportswear industry (Hong & Johnson, 2016). With the changing dynamics in the role of technology in the social and economic aspects of society life, Nike has adopted a vibrant social media marketing strategy. This paper analyses the ways through which Nike uses social media platform Facebook to facilitate such functions as public relations, market research, internal communication and building an online community.


            Nike’s dominance in the sportswear industry is largely attributed to the company’s effective use of marketing strategies to market its product and promote its brand identity. Nike’s Facebook page, as of December 2018, had over 32,430,000 followers, with over 169,000 people signing in to have rated Nike (, 2018). Though Nike’s primary target is athletes, the presentation of the company’s Facebook page reveals that the company uses the social media platform not only for product promotion to target market but also for social engagement and customer relationship. Whereas the major reason for embarking on the robust Facebook marketing strategy is to expand the popularity of the company’s innovative products, the company has other reasons that focus on more than brand positioning and product marketing.

Public/Customer Relationships

            Between December 2017 and December 2018, Nike’s Facebook gained more than 3 million fans. It is noteworthy that the intense public relations focus by the company has led to the increase in fan numbers. The company uses the slogan “#Just Do It” on Facebook to relate to its customers. The company’s Facebook page features a number of celebrity sports personalities and athletes whose achievements are published on the page to portray the role that the company has played in steering these people to success. 

Market Research

            Every year, Nike launches a number of products that it uses to extend its brand portfolio. Facebook has emerged as one of the company’s main tool for market research, more so on the customer’s perceptions on the new products. For a company that uses value based pricing model, the perceptions of the customers on the value of the products and what the customer is willing to pay for the product provide essential insights that the company can use in its pricing strategy. In 2017, Nike published over 30 Facebook posts about new products, with 10 other posts on new store openings in different parts of the world. These are strategies through which the company uses to conduct market research on the views of the target customers.

Building an Online Community

            The concept of an online community is one that has grown due to the expanded role that social media plays in the society (Beig & Khan, 2018). Nike has managed to establish an online community by developing Facebook pages for specific sports enthusiasts, where these fans come together to form the community. For example, the Nike Football Facebook page has over 44 million fans, which is above the number of fans on the proper company’s page. Other online communities have been formed including the Nike Golf, Nike Tennis, Nike Basketball and Nike run club for athletics enthusiasts.

Internal communication

            For Nike, content marketing videos are a way through which the company facilitates internal communication on Facebook (Hong & Johnson, 2016). In 2017, the company posted the “Nike the Ride” video, which was a training camp around a line of Nike products. The video detailed the excitement and activities in the event and the features of the new product line that was to be shared internally with the employees at the company. This video communicated to the employees the importance that customer satisfaction plays on influencing the brand stability. Additionally, the company has posted links about its financial performance on its Facebook page to target the shareholders and managers.

Potential Risks

            Being a company that serves markets with consumers of diverse demographic characteristics, Nike is exposed to the risk of potential insensitivity to these diversities. While celebrating its 30th anniversary, Nike run a Twitter and Facebook campaign featuring controversial NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who struck controversy for kneeling when the US national anthem played as a way of raising awareness about police brutality against African Americans (Jones, 2018). This campaign was met by resentfulness among social media users who urged customers to boycott Nike. From this example, it is evident that the risk of social media backlash is eminent for the company. The company is equally exposed to the risk of cyber attacks. Cyber criminals could hack into the company’s Facebook account and publish false, inappropriate, unethical and incriminating information that could taint the image of the company.


            Social media marketing continues to revolutionize the marketing strategies adopted by companies (Voorveld, van Noort, Muntinga & Bronner, 2018). To capitalize on the advantages it already enjoys, Nike should consider having a rapid customer reply system that addresses the concerns of each customer on social media. Besides, the company should select with caution the themes of the campaigns in which it chooses to engage hence limit the controversies that may paint it as a company that stirs division among diverse populations. Lastly, Nike should invest in safeguarding the integrity of its social media networks. This is the most viable way that the company can mitigate the risk of cyber attacks.


Beig, F., & Khan, M. (2018). Impact of Social Media Marketing on Brand Experience: A Study of Select Apparel Brands on Facebook. Vision: The Journal Of Business Perspective,22(3), 264-275. DOI: 10.1177/0972262918785962 (2018). Nike. Retrieved from

Hong, S., & Johnson, E. (2016). Social Media as a Loudspeaker for Nike: Can Image Repair Communication on Facebook Impact Emotion and Responsibility Attribution? Public Relations Journal, 9(4), 1-12.

Jones, C. (2018). What did Nike just do? Kaepernick ad may gain more from Gen Z than it loses. Retrieved from

Voorveld, H., van Noort, G., Muntinga, D., & Bronner, F. (2018). Engagement with Social Media and Social Media Advertising: The Differentiating Role of Platform Type. Journal Of Advertising, 47(1), 38-54. DOI: 10.1080/00913367.2017.1405754

January 19, 2024



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