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April 7, 2011 / assembled

Analyzing Coca Cola’s Social Media Strategy

With 24,299,808 Facebook fans, 244,233 Twitter followers, and 18,709,427 Youtube video upload views, Coca Cola is a best in class example of how brands can effectively use social media to drive engagement and loyalty. According to a recent report from socialmediatoday.com, Coca Cola has cut its ad spending by 6.6% in order to invest more in social media, citing that Facebook and Youtube are increasingly important advertising platforms for them.

In addition to thoughtful, engaging, and entertaining branded social media pages, Coca Cola has also launched Coke Zone, a microsite for Coca Cola fans in Ireland and Great Britain that has original content and rewards. Coca Cola has done a great job of using social media to not just launch or support a campaign, or even to create buzz around a new product, but to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with Coca Cola consumers around the world.

Coca Cola is also staying relevant by aligning their brand with current events, such as March Madness. According to this ABC News report from earlier this month, Coke spent more than 20% of its March Madness advertising budget on social media- a huge increase in comparison to last year’s 2%. The report further cites that Coke created a virtual “gathering place” called the Coke Zero Social Arena, (embedded within the NCAA official online site) which gave fans a space where they could talk about the games, and find fellow fans with whom they could root on their favorite teams. Coke also took Tweets from the game and segmented them according to team, and kept all of these in one centralized location.

So does all of this time and money spent on social media drive sales? Diet Coke recently took Pepsi’s spot as the second biggest cola brand in the U.S. Coca Cola holds the number one spot, much to Pepsi’s chagrin. Referencing a blog post I did about Social Media Week, I might argue that Coca Cola needs to shift from using social media to just inform, engage and entertain consumers and actually adopt a process whereby they can use the insights from their social channels to better understand their consumers, their wants, and their needs. I argue in my earlier post that national brands with local audiences need to create a continual feedback loop that uses consumer insights from social channels to make decisions at the corporate level. This is a process that needs to be refined and perfected, and I am convinced that the business that gets this right will be the one that sits at the top.

Image: Coca-Cola by DeusXFlorida

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One Comment

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  1. Stacia / Apr 9 2011 8:46 pm

    Your blog post reminded me of Ground Swells POST method, for people, objectives, strategy and technology. I mentioned POST because your blog highlighted how Coca Cola engages consumer in social media, but you suggest that they should collect information to understand consumers. I agree that it is not enough to entertain customers with exciting content. People want to be heard online. The social media platforms offer brands an exceptional opportunity to ask questions and collect data. I think it ultimately depends on the brand’s objectives. However, I do agree that brands who truly want to provide quality products and services will strategically approach social media.

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