Repeat yourself: How Nike scores big on social media

Private sector companies have learned that marketing to a new generation of consumers means meeting them where they are: online. We take a look at one strategy Nike uses that schools can borrow to sell themselves in an ever-competitive market.

Through social media, brands like Nike are pushing out messaging in strategic and consistent ways to make sure existing customers are engaged and potential customers are paying attention. This, too, can work for schools.

#BeConsistent

Nike repeatedly uses its tagline, #JustDoIt, in posts to drive home the company’s branding and tie smaller stories to its overall message. Companies in the private sector understand that getting that message across means repeating themselves again and again. After all, with each post a company like Nike will only reach a fraction of its intended audience. Repetition, of course, has been an advertising technique for decades. But, through social media, companies and schools have the opportunity to use this old marketing trick in new, easily shareable ways.

With Nike, each post is an opportunity to paint the company’s vision. The brand attaches its #JustDoIt hashtag to inspiring athletes’ stories, keeping content fresh while maintaining the Nike brand and relating it back to the company’s core message of offering the perfect shoe for athletes. Depending on the sports season, Nike also shares updates about different athletes’ games and races as they correspond with the company’s messaging. Nike also crafts posts that are meant to inspire, thereby fitting into its overall branding narrative. The company inspires athletes to dream big, then provides them with the tools to help meet those goals.

Image: Two tweets by Nike highlighting a specific marathoner over several races, an example of how Nike tells longer stories over time that make their athletes' victories more exciting. Image: Examples of tweets by Nike, with the caption,

Post, Hashtag, Repeat

Like Nike, Star City School District in southeast Arkansas also works to inspire big dreams. This award-winning district puts students and teachers first and makes sure to show it on all their social media channels. On Twitter and Facebook, SCSD shares post after post of students and staff participating in classroom and extracurricular activities on each campus. And these posts always include the district’s #WhateverItTakes hashtag to tie them back to the district brand and message. This way, posts made by teachers and staff, or even students, can all be found under one hashtag, further strengthening the brand and painting a clearer picture of the district for the outside world to see.

Image: Examples of tweets by Nike, with the caption, Image: Examples of tweets by Nike, with the caption,

In California, Hesperia Unified School District leverages its Instagram account in a similar way. On the photo sharing app, the district shares school stories and connects them all through their unique hashtag: #IMPACTtheFutureHUSD—the same hashtag the district uses on Twitter. By being consistent and, yes, consistently repetitive with your messaging, you can ensure that as many people as possible will see your stories and learn about your schools. It works in the private sector and it’s already working in schools across the country. So, as Nike would say, just do it.

Key Takeaways for Schools:

  • Only a fraction of your audience will see each post, so repeat yourself to spread the message to every user.
  • Continually link each post to the school's vision; Nike accomplishes this goal with #JustDoIt.
  • Just as Nike shares stories about different sports, post student stories from a diversity of interests, relating those stories back to your school's values

school_ceo_logo3-3

SchoolCEO is free for K-12 school leaders. Subscribe below to have a digital copy of the most recent edition of SchoolCEO sent to your inbox.