Adidas Social Media Strategy: Sporting Online Traction Globally

Think of Adidas and you immediately picture their trademark three-stripes logo. This iconic footwear and sports apparel brand is well-known, no matter which part of the world you’re from. 

Adidas was always meant for great things, even going by their seemingly humble origins in 1920s Germany. Dassler brothers — Adolf and Rudolf — started a sports footwear business from their mother’s laundry. When they split, Adolf founded Adidas while Rudolf went on to found Puma. 

The rest is sporting history.

Today, one of Adidas’s most famous sponsors is Bayern Munich, the football club. But going beyond football, they have sponsorships with notable athletes, sports clubs, and national teams worldwide. Known for their active celebrity and athlete campaigns, it is no surprise Adidas has millions of followers across social media platforms.

Let’s plunge into Adidas’s social media strategy.

Analysis of Adidas’s social media accounts

Adidas is the leading sportswear and footwear brand in Europe, and the second largest worldwide (closely behind Nike). Correspondingly, they have a massive online following across their various social media accounts.

Here are the total followers Adidas has on their main accounts:

  • Instagram: 28.14 million
  • Facebook: 40.95 million
  • Twitter: 4.38 million
  • LinkedIn: 3.46 million
  • TikTok: 38.2 million
  • YouTube: 1.1 million

Their football-specific and apparel accounts also have millions of followers.

  • Adidas Football on Facebook: 26.71 million
  • Adidas Football on YouTube: 1.5 million
  • Adidas Football on Instagram: 33.7 million
  • Adidas Originals on Instagram: 34.4 million
  • Adidas Originals on Twitter: 4.1 million

The number of followers for Adidas Football is not surprising since they are one of the OG sports shoe manufacturers. 

But, it’s interesting to note Adidas Originals, their spinoff apparel venture, has more followers on Instagram than their main account. It shows how their social media marketing for Adidas Originals ties in with the current trends of athleisure wear.

What makes Adidas’s social media strategy successful?

While Adidas has a long and trendsetting history of manufacturing sports shoes, they do not rest on their laurels. They continue to innovate in the realms of sports and footwear. Adidas also actively seeks to expand interests to other fields, roping in diverse industry stalwarts to help their mission.

They go beyond collaborations, ensuring their content marketing strategy is tailored to their audiences. Adidas’s social media strategy includes the following effective methods:

1. Leveraging collaborations with celebrities and star athletes

For the 1936 Summer Olympics, Adolf Dassler and his brother drove from their hometown Bavaria to Berlin to convince sprinter Jesse Owens to use their handmade spiked shoes. Owens went on to win 4 golds, and the Dassler brothers saw their sales skyrocket. To this day, collaborations with big names are one of Adidas’s best plays for their marketing strategy.

For example, take their collaboration with singer Pharell Williams. This limited collection was promoted by Adidas on their Facebook, Instagram, and other social media pages. It also drew in Pharell Williams’ fans who follow his social media accounts.

2. Posting steady updates on products and campaigns

Any new product launch or update from Adidas is preceded by a lot of buzz on social media. Brand loyalists and potential new consumers are targeted with exciting new offers, countdowns to new stock, and updates on limited edition items. 

Along with updates on the new collections or lines, they also weave in beautiful narratives and themes, for example, in their Samba and Gazelle sneakers. Adidas’s social media strategy of prompt and unified updates leads to audiences being engaged and deeply invested in Adidas’s online accounts.

3. Curating online content for regional marketing

Currently, the biggest sports associated with Adidas might be baseball, basketball, football, and Olympic sports. These are wildly popular in Europe and have a substantial consumer base in the US and other markets. But Adidas has also ventured into other countries and sports. 

For example, in India, Adidas’s content marketing strategy revolves around sports such as cricket, boxing, and wrestling. One look at the Adidas India Instagram page will tell you all.

Adidas’s marketing strategy in India also includes roping in Bollywood celebrities such as Ranveer Singh and collaborating with boxers such as Zareen Nikhat and Lovlina Borgohain. They even roped in the Indian cricket team to wish actor Shah Rukh Khan on his birthday, drawing in Indian sports and film enthusiasts alike.

4. Creating content in different formats

They dabble in different content styles and formats offered by social media applications and platforms. Adidas’s content marketing strategy involves a dynamic mix of text-based and highly visual posts.

With multiple reels, stories, videos, highlights, carousels, static posts, retweets, and interactive polls, they keep online audiences hooked to their platforms.

5. Using social listening to stay on trending themes

Where Adidas’s social media strategy really shines is how they capitalize on trending themes and current topics using social listening. Especially if something has caught the fancy of younger audiences, such as a meme or a viral moment, Adidas finds a way to use this in their next social media post.

Take the ever-popular lingo ‘stan,’ for example. Way back in 2014, Adidas UK promoted their long-running Stan Smith line of shoes along with a clever campaign inviting users to share selfies with the #stansmith hashtag. They showed audiences online how much they ‘stan’ being a super-fan of somebody or something, starting with the audience.

6. Interacting and engaging with audiences 

The initiative described above is also a fine example of Adidas’s social media strategy of actively interacting with audiences. For those who submitted selfies with the #stansmith hashtag, Adidas made good on their promise to give them a personalized Stan Smith tongue logo.

Not only does Adidas constantly call on audiences to participate in such fun challenges, but also promptly replies to comments and reposts user-generated content, particularly on Twitter. 

7. Emphasizing social change and advocacy

A big part of Adidas’s content strategy involves raising awareness for social causes and advocating for important issues such as sustainability, climate change, waste generation, human rights, employee development, and women empowerment.

Take their ‘Move for the Planet’ initiative, which helped them raise funds for various global charities while encouraging people to move. Showing they care on social media helps them incentivize others to do the same and also appeals to conscientious people. 

8. Maintaining brand identity in online campaigns

Slogans such as ‘Adidas is all in’ and ‘Impossible is nothing’ are famous and iconic because of how closely Adidas’s marketing strategy keeps true to their branding message and identity. Just like how Adidas products have the distinct three-stripes logo, they also propagate this as a culture online. 

With consistent and cohesive messaging of ‘3 stripe life’, Adidas maintains an unshakeable position in the minds of audiences.

Overview of Adidas’s social media strategy 

Adidas has given us memorable ads, videos, and campaign slogans as part of their marketing strategy. It’s no wonder they’ve attracted millions of audiences from all walks of life, eager to view their posts and stories.

Let’s look at what those numbers mean in terms of actual engagement.

1. Adidas on Facebook

With 40 million likes on their official Facebook page, Adidas previously had an active presence on the platform. However, over the last couple of years, they’ve shifted focus away, prioritizing the more fitness and fashion-conscious audiences on younger platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. 

In fact, their last post on Facebook is from February this year, though it did generate 2K likes and hundreds of comments.

2. Adidas on Instagram

Adidas’s main account on Instagram might only have 6 posts in the last three months, but they’ve generated a whopping 466,669 engagements out of those posts. This goes to show how effective Adidas’s content strategy on Instagram is.

Carousels are, in fact, their most frequent type of post and unsurprisingly, their most engaging post type.

3. Adidas on YouTube

Adidas’s social media strategy on YouTube is a revelation. Even though they have only 1.1 million subscribers here, their videos have a total of 50.6 million views. In the last three months alone, they got 25.7 million views on the 27 videos they posted in that duration.

Clearly, Adidas’s YouTube strategies are robust. 

For example, Adidas’s content strategy of closely following cricket and tapping into those audiences paid off. Their India Cricket World Cup video has the most views at 22 million.

4. Adidas on Twitter

Adidas has tweeted 377 times in the past year, leading to 273,822 engagements. Their following on Twitter is small compared to Instagram and Facebook. But Adidas’s marketing strategy for Twitter includes active tweeting, replies, and carefully selected content format, which has a great impact.

Their tweet hailing Messi as the ‘GOAT’ (‘Greatest of all Time’, smart use of current lingo) is their top post with 116,919 engagements and 109,518 likes. The tweet includes a picture of Messi. This combo format has proved effective as tweets are their most engaging post type on Twitter, with photos being the most engaging media type.

Master the social media game with social listening and monitoring 

Adidas was officially founded 74 years ago, but their origins date back around 99 years. 

Amidst multiple world orders and national and international tensions, Adidas has kept their focus firmly on their footwear and sportswear innovations. Their transition to the age of digital presence and online marketing has been smooth and fruitful. Today, Adidas is a maestro in social media marketing.

The key tenets of Adidas’s social media strategy are:

  • Collaborations with celebrities and other big brands and labels such as Pharell Wiliams and Stella McCartney, leading to increased online appeal and promotions.
  • Active engagement and interaction with consumers, audiences, and influencers, keep people connected with the brand and its products.
  • Cashing in on viral moments, social media trends, and current topics using social listening and tracking to ensure their content strategy is always fresh and relevant.

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