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[Case Study] How The Sports Apparel Brands Are Using Micro-Communities On Instagram

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[Case Study] How The Sports Apparel Brands Are Using Micro-Communities On Instagram

According to Statista, the sports industry is one of the largest and most profitable industries, followed by beauty and fashion.

When it comes to the sports brands, having the best logo and slogans are hugely important if you want to leave a mark in this sector. Besides this, remaining present on social media is essential these days, especially on Instagram.

  • Why that πŸ€”

Because 60% of Instagram users (that’s 600+ million people) seek out and discover new products on Instagram. 😱 Impressive, right?

In the last years, Instagram has become a powerful marketing tool across all industries, including the sports industry.

Whether you’re selling sports equipment or promoting a fitness service, the sports industry is packed of visual potential.

Based on these insights, we wanted to understand how the sports apparel brands are managing to create engaged micro-communities around their brand on Instagram.

  • Why micro-communities πŸ€”

In search of meaningful content, consumers are now slowly moving away from the principal feeds of major brands toward smaller, more intimate and engaged micro-communities.

Using the power of micro-communities is a straightforward way to find your target consumer group.

Today I'm going to show you how the sports apparel brands are using micro-communities to promote their products on Instagram.

Let's dive in!

Please note!

We analyzed 1,520 Instagram posts by selecting the top 5 apparel brands and their communities.
We analyzed the official accounts, and the micro-communities accounts created for the female audience for Nike, Puma, Adidas, New Balance, and Reebok with the help of Socialinsider.
Data range for this analysis: May 2018 - May 2019.

How To Create Micro-Communities On Instagram Around Your Brand

How To Create Micro-Communities On Instagram Around Your Brand

Key findings

  1. Create Instagram specific accounts with tailored posts
  2. Create a community hashtag
  3. Keep the same posting pattern used across all Instagram communities
  4. Promote your micro-communities on the official channel
  5. Define specific Instagram KPIs
  6. Tips for the sports brands on Instagram

1. Create Instagram specific accounts with tailored posts

Have you considered creating custom feeds to raise your audience interest?

According to Forbes, Nike is one of the world’s most valuable sports brands.

With more than 83 million followers on Instagram across the globe, Nike shares stunning content with their audience. Athletes, inspirational stories, nice outfits for your gym hours, lifestyle tips, and more.

As one of the largest and most recognizable brands on the planet, Nike has different Instagram handles such as @nikewoman, @nikesportswear, @nikerunning, @niketraining, @nikenyc, and @nikelosangeles.

Having all these handles, Nike can categorize their audiences according to their location, demographic, event preferences, sport preferences, and show them the posts that they prefer - a great way to increase engagement.

Let's take a look at Nike's official account for example. Searching through this account, you'll find general content about their products, motivational quotes, and a global community of athletes that inspire people to get up and change their lives to become fitter than they were yesterday.

View this post on Instagram

Whenever. Wherever. However. #justdoit

A post shared by nike (@nike) on

Nike created a micro-community on Instagram for women.

If you want to find out a new outfit for gym time for women, you don't have to search through all the posts from the official account, you can follow @nikewomen, and, in short time, you'll find tailored and relevant content for the women niche.

One important thing at Nike is that they don't sell their product through their accounts, they promote a lifestyle associated with their products.

Consumers who identify with the lifestyle they present through a mix of stop-motion animation, video, and photography identify with the brand by association, and in the end, they will buy their products.

2. Create a community hashtag

Hashtags are an essential part of the discovery on Instagram, allowing brands to gain exposure to groups and specific areas of interest.

If you want to promote your business, creating a branded hashtag that represent your brand name or values brings more benefits like an increased engagement rate and brand awareness.

This is precisely what @pumaforwomen does.

One of the world’s leading sports brands, designing, developing, selling, and marketing footwear, Puma has created a micro-community dedicated to women, and a branded hashtag to increase visibility - #PUMAWomen.

Instagram hashtags is how Instagrammers discover new and relevant content.

Creating a unique and relevant tag for your brand and encouraging your followers to use it whenever they post content related to your product, increases your engagement.

With #PUMAWomen, Puma is letting its followers to contribute to their content and create engaging conversations around the brand.

3. Keep the same posting pattern used across all Instagram communities

Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers. A frequently changing brand personality just doesn't fit. That’s why it’s so essential to create a posting pattern, especially when it comes to social media.

A good example here is @adidas's official Instagram account and their micro-community @adidaswoman.

Adidas Instagram accounts are used to generate awareness around the brand and products. Their great visual content on the channel helps drive more enthusiasm and thirst from the user to get Adidas products.

Adidas do get a huge amount of engagement on Instagram, that’s a fact, but the real question is β€˜How they manage?’ πŸ€”

To get a better understanding of how Adidas official account, and their micro-community - @adidaswoman is keeping the high engagement on Instagram, we've studied what type of content are they posting, and how often they post across these two accounts.

Take a look at these graphics πŸ“Š

Post type distribution for Adidas and Adidaswomen on Instagram

If you take a look at this pie charts, you can see that for this time range, they are keeping the same posting pattern both for the official account and for the micro-community dedicated to women.

For @adidas and @adidaswomen the focus is on videos, followed by photos, and carousel.

Using Socialinsider, we found out that this is one of the most engaging videos of Adidas on Instagram.

We also wanted to know the frequency of postings of the brand on their Instagram communities.

  • The posting frequency per week for Adidas vs. Adidaswomen

Average posts per week for Adidas and it's micro-community

As you can see, Adidas posts on the official account two times per week, while on the micro-community publishes one post per week.

Even if they don't publish the same number of posts per week, Adidas keeps the same pattern when it comes to the type of content.

4. Promote your micro-communities on the official channel

As I said earlier, social media is an excellent place to engage with your existing followers and attract new ones.

You should know that incorporating micro-communities into your social media strategy is a smart move for your brand, because you can reach more and more audience every day.

New Balance, an American footwear manufacturing company is promoting their Instagram micro-community dedicated to women, on the official channel with any chance they have.

If you want to get inspired and looking for some CTA ideas, here are some CTA ideas used by the @nbwomen:

  • Link in bio @newbalace
  • Click to buy @newbalance
  • Follow @newbalance
  • Tap to shop @newbalace
  • Find out more @newbalance

5. Define specific Instagram KPIs

To measure social media KPIs such as brand exposure across social media platforms, the best practice is to investigate social media metrics such as organic impressions, audience growth, and audience demographics.

Analyzing these metrics, Reebok has created a handle to the original Instagram account, called @reebokwomen, in an attempt to create more relevant content for the female audience.

This account aims to inspire women to be better, stronger, more determined, forming the fitness generation that enjoys to be challenged.

From athletes to everyday women, @reebokwomen wants to motivate the female audience to stay fit and keep trying to #pushyourlimits.

With this community, the brand focus more on awareness. Brand awareness is that important first step in the sales funnel.

Here's where the official @reebok Instagram account comes with a direct focus on sales:

6. Tips for the sports brands on Instagram

If you're wondering how you can promote your sports products on Instagram, here are some ideas:

  • Have a clear strategy
  • Come up with your own hashtags and stick to them
  • Use micro-communities for higher engagement. Make sure that your content within these micro-communities accounts is authentic
  • Use influencers to promote your products
  • Measure success with analytics
  • Engage with your audience through captions and comments
  • Use Stories

πŸ‘‰ Conclusion

If you want your brand to thrive on Instagram in 2019, then you need to start acting like a local business. This means all your marketing efforts should target the local market as opposed to the international market.

Focus more on micro-communities, create branded hashtags, cross-promote the accounts on Instagram and publish tailored content to these communities.

How do you promote your brand on Instagram?

I'd love to hear your thoughts here and how micro-communities help you increase brand awareness and drive sales.

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Maria Ganta

Maria Ganta

Online Marketing Expert @ Socialinsider

I'm a longtime fan of everything social; I love digging into data and showing brands how to use data to boost social media engagement. I can talk for hours about social media.

[Case Study] How The Sports Apparel Brands Are Using Micro-Communities On Instagram
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