These high-octane brands have some of the biggest social media presences around.

The common thread? An ability to deliver consistently thrilling content.

Let’s take a look at how these brands are taking social media from 0 to 100, and what you can learn from all of them

How Top Action Brands Create Exhilarating Social Media Content

Nike: Mastering the art of storytelling

Nike is one of the – if not the single – most successful brand on social media, period. Take its Instagram profile for example. With an astounding 29 million followers, it has by far the largest following of any brand in any industry. And that’s just their flagship account; their niche accounts (nikewomen, nikerunning, nikebasketball etc.) each have millions of followers of their own. So what is it about Nike’s Instagram that has caught so many people’s attention?

When you think of Nike’s marketing, one word immediately springs to mind: storytelling. Every bit of content they put out tells a story. They don’t promote products; they promote experiences. It allows audiences to connect with the brand in a way that pictures of shoes just don’t do. This is especially true in all of their video advertisements, but in the case of their Instagram they tell stories primarily using photos.

The picture here is an excellent example of how Nike is able to tell a compelling story within a single frame. The man pictured is clasping his head. He’s exhausted. Who knows how far he’s already run? The stairs in front of him are a formidable challenge. Will he make it?

It’s a narrative that everyone can relate to, summed up perfectly in one beautiful photo. Nike has long engaged audiences with its stories about overcoming adversity and they’ve done it again here, with 460,000 likes to show for it.

The post’s caption: “You can quit. Or you can quit complaining.”

GoPro: Displaying diverse imagery and user-generated content

GoPro’s average engagement rate on Instagram over the past two weeks is through the roof at 3.44%, and it’s not hard to see why. Their profile is, quite simply, a smorgasbord of delicious imagery. It’s seriously impressive. There are no pictures of GoPro cameras here, just wonderfully executed images that they have captured.

At the end of the day, their aim is to showcase the capabilities of the GoPro and they have done so with flying colors.

One way that they’ve done this is by selecting a user-generated Photo of the Day, like the one pictured below. This sends the message that you don’t have to be a professional to produce incredible images with a GoPro – anyone can do it.

They also manage to surprise with the diversity of their content. With their reputation as a top-notch action sports camera, you might expect their Instagram to be comprised entirely of pictures of windsurfers, motocross racers, parkour practitioners and the like. Of course it has those in droves, but it also contains equally impressive pictures of dogs, musical events, and architecture that really show off the camera’s versatility.

Red Bull: Using Facebook native video and jaw-dropping headlines

When it comes to Facebook profiles, Red Bull is king. With over 44 million likes, it has more than Nike’s flagship page and GoPro combined.

The profile is packed with content that is truly awe-inspiring, a potent mixture of incredible videos and links that beg to be clicked.

It’s no secret that Facebook rewards pages for using their native video feature – Facebook native videos reach 67% more followers than videos linked from Youtube, and have a staggering 97% higher engagement. Red Bull uses this to their advantage by posting a stream of killer videos, which goes hand-in-hand with their action and adventure branding. Over the past two weeks, they have racked up more than 500,000 engagements across their videos. The video below has single-handedly pulled in over 67,000 engagements.

In addition to videos, the Red Bull page is also loaded with links to articles from their website. They read like Buzzfeed headlines with an adventure twist: “This Man Lived Underwater for an Entire Month”, “Four Years, 46,000 Miles, 1 Bike Ride”, “8 of the World’s Scariest Roads” and so on.

They make for some engaging reading and also attach an element of storytelling to the brand, while directing consumers to their website.

UFC: Capturing emotion and humanizing the people behind the action

The UFC’s Instagram page is unlike any of the others we’ve discussed so far. The images are nowhere near as slickly produced as GoPro or Nike’s, and the visual style doesn’t feel very unified. But what the company manages to do with great success is capture the extremes of emotion that the sport elicits in both its fighters and its fans.

It uses Instagram to humanize its fighters in a way that transcends the sometimes unpalatably violent nature of the sport. Behind the blood and sweat, after all, are real people with real emotions.

Pictured here – the new UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm seconds after defeating Ronda Rousey in one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s history.

A significant portion of their content is reposted from the athletes themselves, containing anything from heartfelt messages to their fans, videos with their families, to just clips of them goofing around. It all feels very honest and human. And the fact that some of the images are rather underproduced only makes this sentiment even stronger.

Gatorade: Hinting at future innovations

Gatorade turned heads with the video below, which hints at some intriguing new technology they’re working on for athletes. Go ahead and watch it. The teaser isn’t revealed until right at the end. We’ll wait.

Interesting stuff, right? That video pulled in more than 50,000 engagements and nearly 7 million views. By the way, note the use of Facebook native video – a must for anyone using video on the platform.

The fast-paced onslaught of celebrity appearances keeps your attention right up until the end, where they reveal the product behind the commercial – in this case, an exciting new energy drink system. It’s even hinted at in their cover photo. The comment section is full of users asking about the new technology, and Gatorade has done a good job of responding. Though they can’t reveal too much, they let users know that something big is coming.

Social media is the perfect platform to drum up excitement for future products, and Gatorade has definitely achieved that here.

Key Takeaways:

Action sports brands get a lot of love on social media, but anyone can do it successfully. Here are a few pointers from the best in the business:

Tell a story that consumers can relate to
Be diverse and draw on consumer-generated content
Facebook native videos – a must!
Emphasize emotion and humanize the people behind your brand
Use social media to build excitement for new innovations

So now you’re telling stories with user-generated native Facebook videos that humanize your brand and hint at future innovations. Awesome! The next step is to look at the data. An analytics tool like Locowise gives you all the charts and figures you need, complete with beautiful and customized reports. Sign up for a free trial and see what Locowise can do for your brand.