How Nike’s social media engagement reflects consumer expectations

Nike's social media engagement is consistently in the millions. And this has only grown over the last year. As Q1 comes to a close, the doors of retail are all set to open on April 12th across much of the UK. For the last three months it fell to social media to keep us engaged and entertained as the country continued to both work and play indoors. 

Businesses must tap into the very human need for inspiration, purpose and connection. Over the last few months retailers like Nike, have continued to lead the way in demonstrating how social media can be used for these purposes.

Here we show just how the sportswear giant has captured the mood of the public on a global stage and driven Nike's social media engagement high.

Nike just says it

Over the last year, Nike has continued to push boundaries by making its product and its marketing more diverse and inclusive. The best post from a retailer throughout March came from the brand's Mothers' Day content celebrating mothers who raise athletes, and the athletes who themselves are mothers. At a time when women in sport continue to fight for an equal spot on the world stage, equal pay, and prize money; Nike just says it.

It follows suit with its content that references the Black Lives Matter movement, its activewear collections for female athletes that choose to wear the hijab, and its representation of diverse body types. Nike's social media engagement is driven by the very real world issues facing us all, and that consumers expect brands to be facing into.


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What does Nike's social media engagement tell us about consumer expectations?

The importance of brand purpose and serving the greater good coupled with a strong social media presence has been a notable driver in how gen Z make purchase decisions.

We profiled 180 retailers' social media posts in late 2020 to find the best post from a business for the whole of 2020. Here’s what we learned.

Nike’s Black Lives Matter content on May 20th was the most engaging post of 2020.

Where the Coronavirus pandemic may have been the biggest concern for retailers, Nike's content and Nike's social media engagement reflects that consumers concerns and expectations reflect an even bigger and wider concern for social issues and social justice, and that the onus is on businesses to take action.


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Now more than ever it is important to remember that customers are people first, and so they care about people first and foremost. That’s why Nike is telling these purposeful stories. But, it is not enough to talk the talk, and consumers see right through inauthenticity, and click bait. Just ask Burger King. Comments on Nike's content while mostly positive, also suggest consumers expect the brand to do more.

Key takeaways

Nike has always been a social media front runner. Its content is as innovative and inspiring as its product are,  but the brand is also setting out to make a real difference in the world. As consumers continue to opt for brands who prioritise challenging the status quo, Nike is putting its money where its mouth is and setting about leading by example. Its social media engagement follows because its messages are crafted with resonance, empathy, and accurately reflect the sentiment and expectations of today's consumers.

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