Back in December I read an article about Coca-Cola and the success of its social media activities only to realize I had never ‘liked’ or followed any beverage brand. So I sought out Coke and Pepsi online.
The story behind the Coca-Cola fan page is quite interesting and speaks to the social media age. For some time Coca-Cola worked with hundreds of unique fan-pages on Facebook, many started with dedicated fans across the world. According to the article I read, four years ago Facebook demanded that Coca-Cola collapse its 100+ micro-sites and take ownership of just one corporate fan-page. The diversity of those micro-sites made each visit unique based on geography, so combining that experience wasn’t easy.
So Coca-Cola created proprietary algorithm tools to make each user experience unique. Visitors to the Facebook page in the U.S. will find a different look than visitors in Singapore. And while the page is supervised by a team of 7 within the U.S., employees in more than 200 countries decide on how the page will appear in their region.
The effort seems to have worked and the Coca-Cola fan page has reached over 36 million ‘likes.’ Pepsi pales in comparison with just under 7 million Facebook followers. Coca-Cola also makes a point of keeping its content focused on those fans who love Coke. With constant interaction and open discussions, it doesn’t shy away from most controversy, though it keeps a clear policy on the site called House Rules. Because of the large following, it is constantly watchful for attacks or cyber graffiti, too.
Coca-Cola’s success continues with its focus on light-hearted, fan-focused dialogue and primarily on letting its fans speak for it. Just being online as a corporation is not a guarantee of success in the Facebook world. We can all learn from Coca-Cola’s example.