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Tracking Coke on Social Media

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

While doing research for the best practices article yesterday, I noticed that Starbucks had pushed Coke out of first place in one of the listings—engagement, I think. I don’t pay much attention to the “who’s on first” kind of lists; I’m interested in looking for strategy. Coke, though, seems even less amenable to online social media than Starbucks, although I did write about an experiment they did in Second Life quite awhile ago. In any event, I checked it out.

The first thing I found was that there are over 1,000 Coke pages on Facebook. Lovely for them, but I was looking for their official fan page. I found it, and it’s impressive in design and content; clearly not a DIY effort! They have 4,107,432 fans, which sounds like a pretty good second place! More interesting is the integration of customer effort into their Facebook presence. Coke marketing people were paying attention to what customers were saying—and the rest is history. Check out this video for what they did and how they did it!

Again, lovely for them for co-opting their customers into their own marketing, but I looked a little further. It didn’t take much effort to find that they have a year-long promotion, launched in Madrid on New Year’s day. The three winning adventurers are already off on Expedition 206. The header pretty much says it all; the mission is to seek and share stories of happiness.

It’s worth spending some time on this site. The three young people are delightful and seem to be having a wonderful time 3 days into their excellent adventure. I was especially interested in the ways to follow it. The last similar thing I followed was a National Geographic deep sea project; those reports came to me by email, which suits my lifestyle. No email here that I can see. You can download the widget, which looks like fun. You can get posts on 4 of the major social networks; MySpace and Twitter are obvious; don’t know where Yahoo! puts it, although the link took me to my account sign-in. If you’re not a fan of Facebook Connect, you should click on the Facebook link and see what it tells you. See how fan pages can get a lot of fans quickly?

There should be a word on Facebook privacy (or lack thereof), which has once again been in the news recently. Facebook Connect brings in all your friends. When I went directly to Coke’s Facebook fan page, I got an interesting privacy notice from it. By clicking through to the page I gave Coke permission to access my Facebook information. Ok, but I do appreciate being made aware.

You have no privacy on Facebook; “get over it.” As individuals, be aware of what information you are putting out there for the world to see. As marketers be aware of what you are asking your customers to do—and be transparent about it! As long as you don’t put data or content out there that you wouldn’t be happy for your mother—or your best customer—to see, this is good fun!

Ok, so most of us aren’t Coke, and we can’t do a 206-day global promotion (actually, most of us probably don’t need to!). Is your business doing something that you’d like for people to know about and to follow—a green project is a good candidate these days. So is an event you sponsor. As is a cause you partner with.

On a smaller scale, I’m willing to bet that most of us have things we should be sharing with our customers—good things, innovative things—things that build our brand, whether it’s global or local!
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