9 Lessons You Can Learn From Nike’s Instagram Strategy

Updated on: Jun 20, 2017

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There are 700 million monthly Instagram users and one billion Instagram posts liked every day. Instagram engagement levels are staggeringly high delivering 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. It’s no wonder that all the major brands want in on the action and have begun focusing their marketing efforts on this platform. In fact, Nike’s determined efforts on the platform have garnered it nearly thrice the number of followers on Instagram than on Facebook.

Nike Case Study

Nike is clearly at the top of its game when it comes to marketing on Instagram. After all, it is the 16th most followed account on Instagram! Excluding celebrities and Instagram itself, it is the 2nd most followed a brand after National Geographic. Instagram is a vital part of their Social Media Strategy

Let’s take a look at some statistics:


Followers: 73M

Posts: 900

Absolute Daily Growth: 851K

Growth rate: 1.2%


Analytics of the latest 20 posts:

Likes: 6.9M

Comments: 51K

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

So, what is it that Nike is doing right on Instagram that other brands can learn from?

Here are 9 lessons every brand – big and small – can learn from Nike’s Instagram Strategy:

  1. Share Stunning Content

Instagram is a visual storytelling platform. The best Instagrammers provide visually stunning stories that connect with the audience. Nike shares stunning content of athletes, inspirational stories and creative visualizations of their products that audiences enjoy.

Nike Case Study Share Stunning Content

Key Takeaway: It doesn’t matter whether you have the resources to create video masterpieces or simply have to make do with what you have, make sure your visuals captivate, intrigue and inspire your audience.

2. Inspire Action

Instagram inspires and motivates people to try new and different things – a cool recipe, a well-deserved holiday, a better lifestyle. Nike inspires their audience to get up and “Just Do It”. Learn from the inspiring stories of the biggest athletes and face their biggest enemy – themselves. Even their captions are highly motivational. The posts also inspire people to buy Nike products.

Key Takeaway: Focus on enriching the lives of your audience by inspiring them to take action.

3. Build a Community

Nike has built a global community of athletes through Instagram. It has handpicked the best athletes to become ambassadors as Nike Athletes and inspired the masses to look up to them, train with them and grow with them. The ambassadors also post pictures of their Nike merchandise thus becoming influencers for their followers.

Nike Case Study Build Community
Nike Case Study Key Takeaway

Key Takeaway: If you are building an aspirational community offline, get them online so they can inspire more people.

4. Quality beats Quantity

You will find various articles and blogs out there that will tell you to post 1-2 posts per day on Instagram. But they are only looking at one side of the coin. Sharing 2-3 high-quality and breath-taking posts per month will give you a much higher ROI in the long run than sharing 30-60 low-quality posts per month. Nike knows this and posts on average only 3 posts per month.

Key Takeaway: Invest your time in creating high-quality and beautiful posts that people will like to see.

5. Go Beyond and Behind the Product

Despite its range of products, that’s not all Nike talks about. The lifestyle, the grind, the hustle, the victory… Nike inspires people to get up and change their lives to become fitter than they were yesterday. However, when they do talk about the product, they give an interesting twist to it like a stunning product teaser or talking about the vision behind an innovative product.

Nike Case Study Go Beyond Product

Key Takeaway: Try to show what your audience will get after buying your product instead of just showing your product. If you are showing the product, be sure to give an interesting creative spin.

6. Get Topical

Nike banks on getting topical every time there is a big sports event. Football, marathon, basketball, tennis, any competition, you name it – they will cover it.

Nike Case Study Get Topical

Key Takeaway: Getting topical helps brands increase engagement and profit off the chatter that is taking place anyway online.

7. Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to increase impressions and become more discoverable on Instagram. The hashtags also increase brand and help create a community. Just like every other brand online, Nike uses hashtags too. Their most used hashtag is #justdoit (14%) followed by #nike (10.5%).

Nike Case Study Use Hashtags

Key Takeaway: Find hashtags your audience uses and use them in your posts. You can also create your own hashtag helping you create brand equity.

8. Segment and Target

Nike has different Instagram handles such as @nikewoman, @nikesportswear, @nikerunning, @niketraining, @nikenyc, @nikelosangeles, etc. This helps Nike categorise audiences according to their location, demographic, event preferences, sports preferences, etc. and show them posts that they prefer. A little of everything is posted on their main handle @nike.

Nike Case Study Segment and Target

Key Takeaway: Differentiate your key offering for different audiences so you can connect well with them. Note: This one only works well for big brands with huge offerings.

9. Avoid Duplication

Nike has a unique strategy for all its platforms thus ensuring maximum engagement on all of them. This avoids duplication and gives the followers something specific and new every time they see Nike on Instagram.

Nike Case Study Avoid Duplication

Key Takeaway: Don’t post the same things on all the platforms. If you want to excel on Instagram, create Instagram-specific and Instagram-worthy posts.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC


Instagram is a great tool to drive traffic to your website and increase your sales provided you use it correctly. So, use these key strategies from one of the best Instagram accounts on your account and watch how your follower count and revenue multiply!

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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