How Nike Manages its online Community on Weibo


Sina Weibo has already become the biggest online platform. As introduced on Wikipedia, “Akin to a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook, it is one of the most popular sites in China, used by well over 30% of Internet users, with a similar market penetration that Twitter has established in the USA.

  • Weibo has more than 300 million registered users as of February 2012.
  • About 100 million messages are posted each day on Sina Weibo”

The market has also attracted many companies to create their presence on this platform.

According to “2012 Corporate Weibo White Paper” released by Sina Weibo and CIC, over 130,000 companies have opened their Weibo accounts.

As one of the earliest clothing company on Weibo, Nike is also ahead in the Weibo marketing.

1. Dividing the big online community

Unlike small companies, the target for Nike almost covers people from all ages, social level and places. So the first challenge for Nike is to focus on different groups of consumers. Most of these accounts own tens of thousands of fans respectively.
Nike’s solution is to create two different  groups of Weibo accounts to target on different people.
The first group of accounts target on different product users. In this group, there are Nike plus,

nike plus weibo acc
Nike plus weibo acconut

Nike woman,

Nike women account
Nike women account

Nike football,

Nike football account
Nike football account

Nike basketball.

Nike basketball account
Nike basketball account

The second group of accounts focuses more on local community management. In this group, Nike Shanghai and Nike Beijing are the best.

2. Management of the online community

For the two groups of accounts mentioned, different strategies are being taken.

a) The first group of accounts


The posts on those accounts focusing on specific Nike products are related to the products and news about products or the sports involved. Taking Nike football as an example, the posts put are more informative and valuable than advertising. These posts include

Post About How to Protect Ankle
Post About How to Protect Ankle

news of football players or clubs (especially those Nike sponsors);

News about Arsenal
News about Arsenal

and a few posts about Nike soccer equipment.

Post About Nike Football Equiment
Post About Nike Football Equiment

Very few reply and comment can be found on these types of accounts. But we can see they share a lot of contents from other accounts.

This kind of account is more professional. Although the interaction level is low, the accounts still atrracts tens of thousands fans respectively and each post can get 10-40 shares and comments.

b) The second group of accounts


Those accounts in the other group provide a quite different kind of content. These contents are closer to fans and makes accounts feel like a real person. On Nike Shanghai, the posts relates more to personal life like from keeping fit by doing sports

Keeping Fit by Doing Sports
Keeping Fit by Doing Sports

to wallet lost post.

Wallet Lost Post


We can see that Nike Shanghai interacts with few fans that comment or share its posts. However, Nike Shanghai searches and shares many posts involving Nike from others.
Although the contents and update speed is quite good, not so many fans add these accounts. The low lever of interactivity is most likely the cause of that. And each post can only get 0-5 shares and comments. For a company Weibo account of such a big company, it’s not satisfying.

3. Conclusion

Nike’s Weibo marketing strategy is to split the entire community into small parts and creating special accounts focusing on each part.
For a Weibo user, he who cannot even one direct AD from Nike’s accounts. And each of them has its own character, so Weibo users can find the information they want on certain accounts.
This strategy allows a big company to focus on several special groups of people. Compared with massive marketing strategy, this solution is closer to the concept of precision marketing.
On the other hand, it requires a company to build and manage several accounts at the same time rather than one. It is obvious that this solution costs more time and efforts.

see also publishing time and weibo marketing

Do you want to develop your company on weibo? Do you have a clear target market?

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  1. Interesting to know. Digital are the best way to connect people in each others. When Chinese manager does community management, they will use Chinese social media, especially Weibo and WeChat. I am very impressive by the new technologies which grow so fast in China. Your article are very relevant.

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