Coke’s social media success makes a lot out of a little

Posted: 16/01/2012 in Marketing, PR & Ads, Social Networking/ Social Media
Tags: , ,

An article in USA Today lauds Coca-Cola for its success in social media. But let’s face it, Coke’s social media success is a microcosm of its global success.

With over 2 billion people drinking Coke worldwide, 36 million fans on Facebook is a drop in the ocean. If Coke was not a global powerhouse brand, it would not attract anything like that number of people to like it on Facebook, follow it on Twitter, or view its videos on YouTube.

Coke has done a great job of leveraging social media to engage fans and followers. Key to its success on Facebook was its decision to embrace an independent fan page, rather than try to shut it down or start an official one in competition. And its decision to allow fans to moderate posts themselves is equally wise.

And Coke recognizes this, that social media is about community not advertising, engagement more than acquisition, and loyalty more than sales. But would it be the biggest brand on Facebook if it was not already one of the biggest brands in the world? The answer is no. To suggest that other brands can emulate Coke’s success without first building a following is just deluded. The brands that succeed in social media are the ones that already have scale and stand for something meaningfully different. That is why Oreo, Red Bull, and Converse All Star rank in the social media top 10.

People respond best to brands that empower, enthuse or inspire them. Little known or bland brands get little love in social media. The solution lies in figuring out what the brand stands for and then promoting it across a variety of media, not just setting up a fan page and hoping people will stumble across it. For brands seeking to leverage the power of social media, the first question to ask is, “What can my brand do for its customers?” rather than fixating on what social media can do for the brand.

 

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