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Lessons from Coca-Cola’s Social Media Strategy: Cohesive Campaigns and Creative Content

5 Keys to Cross-Channel Social Analysis

Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. There’s a good chance that just by reading the name, you’re picturing a red Coca-Cola can with their signature font printed up the side. It’s an iconic symbol. So iconic, in fact, that Interbrand ranks them as the third largest global brand in the world.

CokeWhen you’re working with an established brand, building an audience isn’t an issue. The challenge comes from understanding how each of your social channels work in concert with one another, and the way your fans interact with different content on different networks. Coca-Cola has over 86 million followers and Fans across their main brand channels, complimenting them with local pages for different regions and countries, or brand pages for subsidiary products like Diet Coke that fall under the Coca-Cola umbrella.

So how does the massive beverage brand market to its audience? It uses different tactics on each of channel, but maintains a cohesive brand message. As Coca-Cola gears up for the 2014 World Cup, this has never been more apparent. An official partner of The World Cup, Coca-Cola has donned each of its social profiles with World Cup headers, content, and campaigns.

Coca-Cola World cup banner

Amidst all this soccer ruckus, the brand also has to maintain the relationship with a broader audience than soccer fans. Let’s take a look at the tactics it’s using to find success on each network.

Coca-Cola on Twitter

On Twitter, Coca-Cola has 2.4 million followers worldwide, and they’re paying close attention. Over the last month, @cocacola has Tweeted 1,994 times. That’s over 60 Tweets a day, which has generated 81,925 engagements that created over 1 BILLION potential impressions during the last 30 days.

Coca-Cola Twitter engagement megaphoneCoca-Cola employs a variety of tactics to achieve this type of engagement.

Crowd-Sourced Content

Coca-Cola runs campaigns to engage its  audience and generate content that they can share. This is one of my favorite social tactics. Not only are you engaging your current audience and making them a very real part of your brand experience, you’re creating a collection of advocates. I’d bet good money that every single person in this video will Retweet/share/mention this video to their audience, who may not follow Coca-Cola yet.

Direct Engagement

One of the biggest challenges for any large brand is keeping up with the volume of mentions. Coca-Cola is one of the best I’ve seen at this.

83% of Coca-Cola’s Tweets in the last month were direct @Replies.

This tactic is employed both as a customer-service method, and to show some love for fans that show love to the brand: This tactic has proven very successful for the brand, which channels issues to country-specific customer service hotlines. With an audience the size of Coca-Cola’s, this attention to detail is a big responsibility, and one of the reasons for its success on Twitter.

Influencer Involvement

As a way to encourage its crowd-sourcing tactics, Coca-Cola engages influencers like Ryan Seacrest. This campaign – a lead-up to the World Cup in Brasil – has used several influencers as a way to get users to add their own selfies to their massive project.

Their entire presence on Twitter is a message of inclusion, and it’s one that’s working well for the brand.

Coca-Cola on Tumblr

In a recent presentation, Marissa Mayer highlighted Coca-Cola as one of the best storytelling brands on Tumblr. She wasn’t lying, the beverage brand’s Tumblr blog is taglined “Where Happiness Lives Online” and it’s a hard one to ignore.

Animated .gifs of high-fives, puppies in sweaters, and cartoon polar bears dancing on tropical islands make the page a really fun place to browse.

Mixed Messages

Coca-Cola does a seamless job of balancing product placement with random images that are meant to keep things light and fun. This concept is essential to social content. No one wants a sales pitch 24/7. Give them something to enjoy, and they’ll appreciate your brand that much more for it.
This tactic makes Coca-Cola’s Tumblr blog a destination page, and it’s paying off.
Graph of Coca-Cola's tumblr metrics Over the past month, Coca-Cola has posted 15 times on Tumblr (all photos or animated .gifs), but it’s seen 35K reblogs across its entire suite of Tumblr posts. This is the biggest value of the network, in my opinion. The longevity of a Tumblr post is much greater than on other networks. This is something that Coca-Cola has benefited from. Over 14% of its reblogs come after a post is s old.

Cola-Cola's reblog activity graph

Coca-Cola on Instagram

Coca-Cola’s networks don’t live in a vacuum. The social team shares content in order to bolster its audience on every network, like this Instagram post, which was shared on Tumblr:

Embracing Video

Coca-Cola has embraced video more than most brands on Instagram. Four of its last 15 posts have been videos, and it’s working. These four videos have averaged 5.5K likes and 90 comments each.

Coca-Cola on Facebook

Coca-Cola’s biggest fanbase is on Facebook. 82 Million fans like the brand’s page. Coca-Cola uses this space to promote the same brand initiatives and campaigns as it does on other channels.

Staying Cohesive

Coca-Cola’s dedication to seamless content is apparent when you visit its Facebook page, Instagram photos, images seen on Tumblr, and influencer videos like this that are also shared in their Twitter feed.

For large brands, Facebook’s ability to generate huge audiences makes it the perfect “hub” for content from across the board, and Coca-Cola is doing a great job of capitalizing on this.

What Can Brands Learn From Their Strategy?

1. Build Central Campaigns: Coca-Cola has built its recent social strategy around The World Cup in a way that anyone can get involved in – soccer fan or not. This type of large scale marketing campaign should be apparent across your social networks.
2. Crowd-Source: Coca-Cola does this as seamlessly as any brand I’ve seen. If you have the audience, engage them. People love to be involved in your creative process, and they’ll become strong brand advocates if you let them.
3. Interact Directly: Coca-Cola has done a great job of responding to followers on Twitter, and maintaining a 2-way conversation.
4. Embrace New Mediums: Coca-Cola hasn’t been afraid to dive into new types of content. On Tumblr, its creates content that gets results, which is different than its Instagram or Facebook strategies. Know what your audience wants, and cater to them.
5. Measure success: Coca-Cola’s social presence is carefully crafted. Its strategy is developed based on audience wants. Make sure you’re constantly measuring and gut-checking your tactics.

Download our Guide: Five essentials of cross-channel social media measurement

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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