Coca-Cola & Social Media: A Complete Review and Evaluation

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With its new advancements in electronic technology progressing every day, its rising demand and popularity in society, and its constant, continued use within that society, social media has become the biggest platform for communication throughout the world. Although different purposes for using social media as well as different ways of usage fluctuate across the social media platform dependent upon the individual or group user, social media takes its most powerful form in the world of marketing and advertising, as businesses capitalize on this new and powerful opportunity to use the social media platform to efficiently and effectively promote their products and build communities of fans and consumers interested in not only the company’s products, but also interested in the company, itself.

The Coca-Cola Company is considered a founding father in this new social media marketing and advertising platform, paving the way for its own company and other companies following in its footsteps, having discovered and perfectly crafted the most effective an efficient ways to successfully execute a new social media plan. The Coca-Cola Company builds this community in the most efficient, effective, and easiest way so appealing as to attract its intended audience to execute its most crucial, simple task: spreading the Coca-Cola message.

The following paragraphs will explain in detail the ways in which Coca-Cola uses social media to efficiently, effectively, and easily portray its newest message to “Open Happiness” in an appealing way to its intended audience, while successfully establishing respectable communities not only through its home webpage, but also using the most popular social media platforms such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Flickr, showcasing why Coca-Cola has the most powerful and effective social media plan in the world.

Coca-Cola having the most powerful and effective social media plan in the world is validated by the Coca-Cola Company’s overall ranking of being the third most powerful brand in the world by Forbes Magazine, following only behind Apple and Microsoft, two technology companies. Coca-Cola has a brand value of $50.2 billion and brand revenue of $22.8 billion. With 3500 worldwide products available within the Coca-Cola brand being sold in over 200 countries, Coca-Cola spends over $3 million each year in brand advertising alone, with majority spent on social media (Coca-Colacompany.com, Forbes.com).

What sets the Coca-Cola Company ahead, in fluent strides, of any of the company’s competitors in the social media arena is how Coca-Cola portrays its products to its audience through social media. Coca-Cola does not only sell a product, but it also more importantly sells a particular attitude and way of life, causing the audience to emotionally connect with the product and brand. Coca-Cola’s newest slogan of “Open Happiness” is shared fluently and thoroughly throughout Coca-Cola’s social media plan and platforms, but takes its most popular presence on Coca-Cola’s most powerful social media platform—the Coca-Cola Company home page.

The Coca-Cola Company home page goes far beyond the point of just selling a beverage. With the site decorated with live animation, pictures, information, articles, stories and opinions, Coca-Cola takes its audience by full-force and completely immerses them in everything Coca-Cola, right down to the famously trademarked red and white colors. Aside from having various sections of entertainment, ranging from innovation and business across the spectrum to lifestyle and sports, Coca-Cola also offers a complete Company history, as well as the Company’s missions, values, and visions, the importance and value of the Company’s workers in the workplace, and a full list of the Coca-Cola Company leaders and their latest improvements within the Company made available to the public.

In fact, there is not much Coca-Cola excludes from its public. The Company also provides a complete year-to-year review of the Company, as well as the Company’s plans for the future. Coca-Cola provides this review by creating a presentation of pictures and information aesthetically pleasing and easily comprehensible to the viewing audience. By sharing this information publicly, Coca-Cola allows its intended audience to feel included in the quality and success of the brand, keeping them in the know about important products, stats, and information and assuring the trust and success of the brand in the future.

Coca-Cola also masters another social media technique by including articles, blog entries, opinions, and stories that do depict, but also don’t depict the Coca-Cola Company in a positive light right on its homepage. Coca-Cola allows for the chance of competitors and critics to openly display and share their opinions about the products and Company. Coca-Cola does not shy away from criticism and confrontation, but instead displays it in the heart and soul of the Company so as to improve it. This technique enables the audience to become aware of the backlash surrounding Coca-Cola, with the Company facing the backlash head on and working to improve conditions. This lets audience members know that Coca-Cola cares about how its audience feels and therefore strengthens the trust, connection, and relationship between the Coca-Cola Company and its audience.

Another important strength Coca-Cola plays upon on its home page is the sustainability of the Coca-Cola brand and product. Coca-Cola dedicates a thorough section to sustainability throughout the world, linking stories and articles to all the various causes and health and environmental issues in which Coca-Cola supports, finances and has complete involvement.

This social media technique allows the audience to see Coca-Cola and all Coca-Cola products in an environmentally friendly and helpful portrayal. Coca-Cola becomes part of the mission to save and heal the world and put an end to negative issues taking place in the world, with its products only helping, not causing. Just some of these causes include recycling tips, Coca-Cola’s carbon footprint, Coca-Cola taking steps to preserve farmlands and coral reefs, Coca-Cola improving entrepreneurship for women across the world, and Coca-Cola creating opportunities for struggling youth in Africa. Coca-Cola also lists every one of its partners and big time companies involved in these efforts, linking them to each individual partner company page, which also increases outside traffic to its partnering pages and further extends the Coca-Cola message to “Open Happiness.”

But the most powerful aspect of the Coca-Cola Company home page is its linking to every other social media platform Coca-Cola encompasses right on its website. Coca-Cola pulls in feeds from every other account active in the social media market to display right on its own page, granting the luxury of easy access and manageability to the audience without the audience having to transfer to different platforms in order to stay up-to-date with the latest activities and trends within the social media world.

By allowing for this luxury, Coca-Cola makes its homepage the center hub for everything on the web, granting its audience the simple navigation to search for whatever the audience wants with one click of the mouse. By using this effective technique, the Coca-Cola audience saves time searching, while Coca-Cola eliminates the possibility of losing potential audience members due to complications of workings of the web page and every other Coca-Cola social media platform. Audience members are more likely to stay on the page longer, providing more traffic for the page and more clicks for revenue, while also obtaining more knowledge about Coca-Cola and also formulating a view of the Coca-Cola products and Company.

Coca-Cola provides even furthers knowledge of its products and company through its second social media platform in the presence of blog entries and articles, which the Company’s audience can access directly through the Coca-Cola homepage. “Coca-Cola Unbottled” is Coca-Cola’s official blog, with the intended purpose of looking beyond what’s in the bottle, featuring globally important and topical community and behind-the-scenes Company stories that spark conversations (Coca-Cola Unbottled). “Coca-Cola Unbottled” provides a wide variety of topics easily sparking and maintaining conversations, including the brands, themselves, entertainment, business, sports, and health. By offering more topics available for discussion, Coca-Cola draws in a wider audience interested in ranges of different aspects of Coca-Cola and worldly issues and topics.

In addition to “Coca-Cola Unbottled” featuring globally important and topical community issues and behind-the-scenes Company stories sparking conversation, the blog also stabilizes frequency and normal fluctuation of visitors because of the constant numbers of blog entries being published. Coca-Cola publishes new articles every single day, sometimes ranging up to three articles per day. This technique increases conversation and interest between the Company and its audience. Coca-Cola also offers a complete follow-up section, where readers can continue with updates on a particular story that was of interest to them, making it easy for readers to pick up where they may have had to leave off reading.

And most importantly, Coca-Cola also includes a conversation area for audience members only, where the audience can write in and share their own stories and opinions. Coca-Cola leaves opportunity for readers to comment, opening up the gateways of communication between the company and its readers. Even further, Coca-Cola also answers back. By responding to current reader’s ideas and opinions, Coca-Cola strengthens the communication between the two and further strengthens the relationship and bond between Coca-Cola and its audience.

While the Coca-Cola Company uses its homepage and blogs to subtly promote brand products through its message to “Open Happiness,” Coca-Cola uses its Facebook page to promote brand awareness, image and new Coca-Cola advertising campaigns. The about section on the page describes Coca-Cola’s involvement as such: The Coca-Cola Facebook Page is a collection of your stories showing how people from around the world have helped make Coke into what it is today. This strategy includes involving the rapidly growing Coca-Cola audience members in every aspect of the Company, making them believe to be important to the brand, and therefore increasing the chances of purchasing Coca-Cola products. And Coca-Cola does this without promoting a single product.

And rapidly growing, it is. Coca-Cola has over 63 million likes on Facebook, with over 600,000 people talking about its brand and products. And the Coca-Cola Company supplies the conversation starters. Its page is multifaceted, with pictures of the products and also consumers enjoying Coca-Cola products and videos of Coca-Cola commercials, consumers enjoying Coca-Cola products, and consumer feedback. Although Coca-Cola does not upload these pictures and videos as frequently as daily, conversation still flows due to the heavy influx of Facebook fans who keep the conversations going, themselves. But when Coca-Cola does post, each post ranks in thousands of likes and hundreds of comments respectively. Coca-Cola also further enhances its Facebook channel by providing details and information on certain, specific upcoming Coca-Cola events and events sponsored by Coca-Cola.

The Coca-Cola Facebook Page dominates interactivity between its Company and its audience by including a section called “WWHSN.” Where Will Happiness Strike Next encourages viewers to watch videos to see how Coca-Cola delivers happiness all over the world. Coca-Cola includes specific examples caught on video of Coca-Cola surprising various people scattered throughout the world by supplying Coca-Cola products at random. Coca-Cola invites audience members to guess where Coca-Cola will randomly strike next. The Coca-Cola intent is to put smiles on the faces of its audience—the smiles being from the free Coca-Cola—because Coca-Cola cares about smiles.

Coca-Cola’s Facebook Page also runs a photo challenge called the Coca-Cola Ahh Giver. The Ahh Giver encourages Facebook users to share the happiness of Coca-Cola with friends by uploading pictures, with the premise being sending fun messages to friends and giving them a coupon for a free Coca-Cola. By creating a light-hearted, fun atmosphere between audience members, Coca-Cola creates a positive brand association with those audience members. And although Coca-Cola offers free coupons for free products, this also increases purchases of Coca-Cola products despite the Company’s giveaway. A coupon forces consumers to go into a store to receive their Coca-Cola, which ultimately has a powerful influence on the consumer purchasing additional Coca-Cola products.

But the most-attention grabbing aspect of The Coca-Cola Company’s Facebook Page, aside from its heavy audience connection, relationship and interactivity, is the section Coca-Cola provides that is dedicated entirely to the creators of Coca-Cola’s Facebook Page. These creators, however, are a little different than the executives and board members heading the Coca-Cola enterprise. These creators are fans of Coca-Cola who created the page because they liked the Coca-Cola Company that much and wanted to justify the high quality of its products with an equally high quality Facebook page. Including this section lets audience members know that Coca-Cola thrives fully on fan and audience support.

The strategy used by the Coca-Cola Company to interact and connect with its audience on Facebook is successfully executed effectively and efficiently because Coca-Cola does not aim to sell its products through the fan page. Coca-Cola clearly clarifies that the Facebook platform is created by the fans and is for the fans. Period. Coca-Cola keeps fans up-to-date with the latest Coca-Cola news and happenings, mixed in the forms of pictures, videos, free giveaways, contests, and more. It is for pure entertainment purposes without Coca-Cola continually promoting its products outright. Without the audience knowing, Coca-Cola is successfully able to subliminally promote its products by building relationships with its fans and making its audience feel important.

The Coca-Cola Company also builds and maintains its relationships with its audience on the second biggest social media platform Twitter. Not only does Coca-Cola have one Twitter account, the Company has a total of seven Twitter accounts, each one representing a different branch of the company, some of which including: Coca-Cola, The World of Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, Coca-Cola Racing, Coca-Cola Atlanta, and Coca-Cola GB, representing the Coca-Cola team in the United Kingdom.

All of the Coca-Cola Twitter accounts have thousands upon thousands of followers, drawing in huge numbers of people and potential audience members. From Coca-Cola having over 700,000 followers, to the Coca-Cola Company’s more than 60,000, to Coca-Cola Racing’s over 40,000 followers, the Coca-Cola twitter platform reaches numbers so high as to create unmatchable numbers of followings when compared to any other brand or company on Twitter and frequently using the platform.

Each Twitter account in the Coca-Cola Twitter platform tweets on a regular basis, ranging from up to four tweets per day on varieties of different topics relatable to any Twitter follower. This normal frequency keeps followers up-to-date on latest information of any branch of the company they want to follow. This also creates a stable channel of communication between the Coca-Cola Company and its followers, and not only does Coca-Cola initiate conversation, Coca-Cola also engages in conversation, using hash tags and tweeting back at followers who tweet them first. By tweeting back, Coca-Cola shows that its Company cares about its fans and audience.

Coca-Cola also initiates great volumes of buzz and communication through various campaigns on Twitter. Examples of this include one specific instance where Coca-Cola used Twitter to allow its followers to create personalized confetti for an Argentinean soccer game. Each individual tweet incorporating the intended Coca-Cola hash tag was turned into confetti with the tweet printed on it and was then launched as confetti over the stadium crowd. Another example of the Coca-Cola Company using Twitter for hands-on interactive audience involvement is the Company’s 2011 Christmas Twitter Campaign, where Twitter followers were asked to tweet their Christmas wishes to the Coca-Cola Company’s Twitter page, where those tweets were then broadcasted for display on the Coca-Cola webpage and Coca-Cola billboards and marquees throughout the world.

And even furthermore contributing to the immense presence the Coca-Cola Company gathers on Twitter, Coca-Cola also uses the advertising tactic of promoting tweets atop the worldwide trending list on Twitter during peak activity times. One specific example that worked effectively was Coca-Cola’s trending of #WC2010, a hash tag used during the World Cup matches with the intended purpose of tweeting the hash tag to congratulate both the England and the United States teams on their hard work, dedication, and success. Coca-Cola took its Twitter campaign to another level by then linking the tweets to its YouTube channel, where audience members could watch the celebratory and success videos. Coca-Cola then invited audience members to share their own success stories with the Coca-Cola Company, because once again, the Coca-Cola Company cares about its fans and audience.

And this technique did yield positive, effective results. According to the article “Coca-Cola Promoted Trend Nets 86 Million Impressions on Twitter” on Mashable.com, in just the first 24 hours alone, Coca-Cola’s first promoted trend garnered 86 million impressions and an engagement rate of 6%. And even though the cost for the ad was relatively expensive, compared to other Coca-Cola ad expenses, the cost was nothing when analyzed with the pleasing results received by Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola’s collective 150,000-member following on all six of the Coca-Cola Company’s national and international YouTube channels are also pleasing. All of the Coca-Cola Company YouTube channels work both efficiently and effectively. Coca-Cola posts videos up to four and five times per day. Each video is rather short, easily understood, draws sensation, and racks up thousands of views alone, some even up to 500,000 views.

Coca-Cola also links each video to other videos, and it also suggests videos to viewers based on previous viewing history, allowing Coca-Cola to serve its fan and audience need to supply what its fans and audience want. Also, Coca-Cola allows for the function of commenting on videos, with hundreds of comments pouring in on each video. And to keep conversations flowing, Coca-Cola even comments back.

But aside from impressive YouTube statistics on capacity and productivity, it’s the videos that Coca-Cola shares that have the greatest impact on its audience and the message Coca-Cola spreads that makes Coca-Cola so successful on YouTube. Coca-Cola posts a variety of videos, from interviews to commercials to songs to experiences to experiments to missions to explorations all around the world, in all different languages.

The Coca-Cola Company spreads it’s message to “Open Happiness” through these videos by streaming personal experiences users have with Coca-Cola products in order to indirectly sell its products. By doing this, Coca-Cola connects with its audience and maintains its relationship with its audience. The audience feels as if it is not being sold anything, but being included in a message so vastly spread, important, and life changing that the message needs to be carried on to others.

And if any of the Coca-Cola Company audience wishes to be not only included in a message so vastly spread, important, and life changing, but also contributing to spreading that message, these audience members have the option to do so in large part to the Coca-Cola Company’s more than ten LinkedIn pages.

The Coca-Cola Company’s LinkedIn pages are very clear and concise. With the signature message “Open Happiness” displayed clearly as the header of the page, Coca-Cola leaves nothing to the imagination as to what the Company stands for and as to what type of work employees for the Company perform. Coca-Cola explains its values and reviews more in depth by providing constant updates on the Company’s annual reports, the Company’s latest news and advancements, and also the Company’s charity work and values at least two times per day.

With a network of over 50,000 employees on different subsections under the Coca-Cola LinkedIn experience, Coca-Cola keeps the audience informed with the Company through its subsections of career opportunities, products, and insights.  Coca-Cola informs LinkedIn members of possible career opportunities with the Company as well as granting potential employees access to inside information daily about the Company and it’s staff. Coca-Cola’s LinkedIn networks also extend the connection between current employees and future employees by displaying its network of workers and giving the workers and the audience the chance to communicate and connect, themselves, and not entirely through the Coca-Cola Company.

Through LinkedIn, Coca-Cola also posts open jobs regularly in all areas in every part of the world where Coca-Cola has a presence. Coca-Cola also has various groups for involvement depending on certain areas and branches of which the connectors wish to be a part as well as active discussion boards for its networks and LinkedIn connections for interaction on specific, important topics. Coca-Cola also sends daily email notifications updating any LinkedIn network connection of all new job posts and discussion topics and ultimately keeping its network informed and up-to-date at all times.

Although the Coca-Cola Company LinkedIn networks are strictly for professional purposes only, Coca-Cola showcases more of its carefree, playful side on its last social media platform Flickr. Coca-Cola’s purpose for using Flickr is simple, and Coca-Cola asks one thing of its audience on the platform: snap it, tag it, and share why it made you happy. Coca-Cola uses Flickr to create a place on the platform where audience members can share pictures of anything the audience wants Coca-Cola to see and be a part. Coca-Cola asks its audience to capture little moments of happiness and post them on the site, alluding to the idea that Coca-Cola makes its audience happy. Because of this message, the Coca-Cola audience subliminally associates Coca-Cola products with happiness.

Although Coca-Cola’s Flickr’s purpose is for pure entertainment purposes, it is because of its purpose that Coca-Cola has more than 3,000 group members who actively post new pictures every day, creating a collaborative, giant picture collage of every day life involving the Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company group on Flickr also holds active discussions for its audience members, with new topics formulating every day open for new discussions.

And discussions are what the Coca-Cola Company uses to interact with all of its audiences efficiently and effectively on all social media platforms with its new social media plan. Successfully establishing and maintaining conversations across the digital realm with potential and continual fans and audience members is the main tactic Coca-Cola uses to create such an effective and efficient plan.

The Coca-Cola Company’s main goal with its social media plan is to spread its Company’s message to “Open Happiness” in an appealing way to its intended audience, while successfully establishing respectable communities not only through its home webpage, but also using the most popular social media platforms such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Flickr, showcasing why Coca-Cola has the most powerful and effective social media plan in the world.

By establishing immense and vastly growing communities on all of these platforms, actively posting pictures, articles, videos, campaigns, giveaways, etc., and opening the gateways of communication with its audience, Coca-Cola takes the social media platform by storm by establishing the Company as a founding father in this new social media marketing and advertising platform, paving the way for its own company and other companies following in its footsteps, having discovered and perfectly crafted the most effective an efficient ways to successfully execute a new social media plan.

What sets the Coca-Cola Company ahead, in fluent strides, of any of the company’s competitors in the social media arena is how Coca-Cola portrays its products to its audience through social media. Coca-Cola does not only sell a product, but it also more importantly sells a particular attitude and way of life, causing the audience to emotionally connect with the product and brand. Coca-Cola’s newest slogan of “Open Happiness” is shared fluently and thoroughly throughout Coca-Cola’s social media plan and platforms, and beyond social media, is the shared unanimously with the entire Coca-Cola brand.

The Coca-Cola Company has made its message perfectly clear that the success of the Company thrives on its audience happiness, not only with Coca-Cola products, but audience happiness in life, in general. It is because of Coca-Cola projecting its message of happiness and care for its audience and for the world that makes its audience connect, trust, and rely on the Company and its products. It is this strong bond, connection, and relationship that will continue to drive and thrive the Coca-Cola Company’s success not only on social media, but also in all areas of the Company’s overall involvement.

Sources:

The Coca-Cola Company Homepage. http://www.coca-colacompany.com/

“The World’s Most Powerful Brands.” Forbes.com. http://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/list/

“Coca-Cola Promoted Trend Nets 86 Million Impressions on Twitter.” Van Grove, Jennifer. 25, June 2010. Mashable.com. http://mashable.com/2010/06/25/coca-cola-promoted-trend/

Coca-Cola Unbottled. http://www.coca-colacompany.com/coca-cola-unbottled/

The Coca-Cola Company Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/cocacola

The Coca-Cola Company Twitter Page. https://twitter.com/CocaCola

The Coca-Cola Company YouTube Channel. http://www.youtube.com/user/cocacola

The Coca-Cola Company LinkedIn Page. http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company

The Coca-Cola Company Flickr page. http://www.flickr.com/groups/thecoca-colaco/

The Coca-Cola Company 2011 Christmas Twitter Campaign Picture. http://www.dailydooh.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/New-Piccadilly-Dec-2011.jpg

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