Social Media Secrets of Big Brands: Coca-Cola

Last week we talked about the huge success YouTube is having on Facebook. Today, we’re discussing Coca-Cola, the second largest fan page on Facebook.

While YouTube’s strategy appears to be largely focused on using techniques to generate user involvement, Coca-Cola has taken a decidedly different approach. In fact, they call their approach to social media: “Fans First.” According to a slideshow posted by iStrategy, Coca-Cola aims to “be everywhere our consumers are in an authentic ‘member of the community – non BIG brand way.’”

So, what does this look like?

Here’s the breakdown:

Welcome Page

Although Coca-Cola implements a “fans first” philosophy to social media, the first page you see on their fan page is a welcome page asking for likes. Below the giant appeal for likes is information new fans might find interesting, such as photos posted by other fans, information about how the page was created, a push for their Live Positively campaign and a quick link for asking questions and getting product information.



Upon viewing Coca-Cola’s wall, you immediately notice something strange—Coca-Cola’s voice is nowhere to be found! Well, not entirely. If you scan through hundreds of wall posts, you will find a few wall posts by Coca-Cola and a few responses to fans’ wall posts. For us, we scanned through a week’s worth of wall posts (no easy chore, mind you…there were 90 new messages posted from fans today…and it was only 10:15am) and only found two posts from Coca-Cola:

  • “Enjoy now and get excited about later too.” (Posted 01/31. Generated 685 comments and 10,381 likes at the time of our viewing)
  • “Advertising changes, but Coca-Cola stays the same.” (Posted 01/26. Generated 515 comments and 7,899 likes)

Interestingly, these posts are not asking fans to engage, but they generate significant feedback.

The comments fans are posting include everything from recommendations, reviews and requests for information to praise, pictures and Pepsi slamming…with a few complaints sprinkled here and there. Coca-Cola allows critical voices to be heard and doesn’t often respond to naysayers.

Many of the comments show fans’ deep love for the Coca-Cola brand. They love to share their stories and how Coca-Cola impacts their life on a daily basis. For some, the page seems to be a bit of a support group. For example, one fan posted “I won’t drink anything but Coke. I was a Pepsi freak till one day all there was , was a coke been that way for 55yrs now!!!!!!! [sic]”


Concluding Thoughts

Coca-Cola is definitely allowing their fans to shape the conversation about their brand. But can all small businesses do this? Probably not in the same way Coca-Cola does.

Unlike most small businesses, Coca-Cola has significant brand recognition and loyalty; it’s so deep that Coca-Cola is not just a ubiquitous brand, but an integral component of many people’s identity. In this sense, getting such a following to engage with the brand is not difficult.

But there are lessons small businesses can learn from Coke, including:

  • Don’t be afraid of negative reviews.
  • Engage fans…don’t just shoot messages (or blatant advertising) at them.
  • Encourage fans to make the page their own by posting comments and photos.
  • Don’t run a huge campaign to generate interaction on your Facebook page if you’re not going to maintain those relationships and keep people engaged with your page.
  • Be authentic with your fans.

 Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at the third largest fan page on Facebook, Starbucks.