Understanding how to use social media to your best advantage requires not only a big investment in time, but lots of reading, watching and testing.
As social media marketers, we’re naturally always looking for who is doing things right…considering how new social media is, finding the big success stories and seeing how you can apply those to your business is, in a way, more important than all the articles, webinars, white papers and so on.
Sifting through these resources can cause us to overlook the lessons of others, especially those of a well-established company such as Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola is one company who has seen tremendous success with its social media marketing strategy. In their view, content and media is paid, earned, owned and shared according to Wendy Clark, SVP for Integrated Marketing and Communication at Coca-Cola.
See this graphical representation to better understand the breakdown of media and content.
Another important fact regarding Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy – engagement is much more valuable than actual followers.
We’ve explored this concept before vis-à-vis Twitter but it’s a universal principle that Coke has really gone with. The numbers of followers isn’t so important – it’s the time people spent looking, sharing and commenting on your content.
In Coke’s mind, advocacy trumps loyalty as well. Many businesses in the past have viewed loyalty as the top of the ladder.
According to Coke’s Chief Marketing Officer Joe Tripodi – “Awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level. I used to think that loyalty was the highest rung on the consumer pyramid until I became the CMO of Allstate Insurance. There, I saw clearly that so much business was driven through personal referrals and advocacy by individuals for their agent.”
Lastly, Coca-Cola has spent much time considering how they can create an emotional relationship with their brand, which is referred to by Clark as ‘extrinsic’ or ‘brand love’ messaging. An example of this methodology can be found in Coke’s Happiness Machine video, which went viral on YouTube with no advertising and on to become a successful (…and economic) TV ad for the company.
‘Brand love’ though must be balanced with ‘brand value’ messaging, which basically refers to intrinsic value, or ‘functioning relationship.’ This concept is more closely aligned with traditional marketing and includes tangible things like coupons or some other means of driving a direct purchase.
Check out this write up on Search Engine Watch for more insights into Coca-Cola’s social media marketing strategies. While they probably have a much larger marketing budget, these concepts can certainly be applied to the smallest of firms.