Differentiation

Social media is really the up-and-coming preferred method for companies to showcase their products to customers or potential customers, engage them with interactive discussions, answer questions, provide inexpensive and quick customer support activity, and many other great opportunities! The company that chooses not to take advantage of the benefits of social media will probably grow to regret it later, once their competition takes away a large chunk of market-share from them! Two companies that we can look at in further depth are Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Both are very successful in the soft drink industry, and are without doubt the top two providers. Coke seems to have the upper hand when it comes to their social media efforts, with over 63 million Facebook fans compared to over 17 million for Pepsi. “For some reason Pepsi had not updated their main corporate Facebook page at all from July 2012 to at least July 2013!”

coke-pepsi-tweet

(Image from the website, http://wearesocial.net/blog/2009/07/coca-cola-social-media-case-study/)

(Econsultancy, “How Pepsi Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+”) Pepsi seems to have more stability with updating their sub-brands pages, many of them on a daily basis. “If you compare Pepsi’s silent page to Coca-Cola’s social efforts and the storming success it’s had just by writing random names on the side of cans, then one would assume that Pepsi might soon be hiring a new Facebook page admin.” (Econsultancy, “How Pepsi Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+”)

Pepsi seems to have more of a confused approach to their social media strategy, using many brands on Twitter instead of just the main corporate brand. They do utilize hashtags quite often, trying to bring in a more youthful crowd of supporters and customers and show them having a good time. Coke also has separate Twitter feeds for their many sub-brand of soft drinks, but their main brand name feed has over 700,000 followers and has tweeted more than 75,000 times, making it a very active brand! They also respond quite frequently to a huge number of mentions and requests every day, and are actively engaging their customers in order to utilize the social media platforms to their fullest. Even at that however, Coca-Cola could still provide more social media support staff to the effort in order to not miss any opportunities!

As far as Pinterest goes, Pepsi has had a slow start when compared with Coke. As of 2013, they have really only had the “Pepsi NEXT” brand listed with an official Pinterest account. Pepsi could really use a dedicated team intent on updating their Pinterest campaigns and understanding exactly what is needed to make that social media tool successful. As usual, Coke has had more success with Pinterest utilizing great photos which include images of Coke bottles and the like in them. They have 9 brand-related boards, and collate content posted from other sites as well.

More than ever, it is important for companies to be able to decide on their social media strategy based on their objectives and goals as a company, and then to ensure that the proper direction and leadership is provided. They can then begin to formulate and crank out numbers so they will be able to tell if they are meeting their expectations or not meeting them. Figuring out the ROI is very important, but it is not always the most important aspect of social media marketing. Some of the efforts just may not be trackable, but still very useful regardless. “By thinking about the problem purely in terms of financial returns—on what are usually relatively small investments to begin with — marketers shortchange the ultimate value of social and potentially miss out on opportunities to meet many different kinds of important business objectives.” (Hugeinc, “Measuring Success in Social Media”)

social-media-strategy-funnel

(Image from the website, http://www.viralblog.com/social-crm/coke-on-poe-ask-50m-fans-to-share-happiness/)

The clear winner in my mind in this head-to-head social media competition is Coca-Cola, as they seem to have formulated a creative strategy and also provided the resources and funding necessary to properly implement it. There is still much room for improvement, and staying the course and continuing to be creative will benefit them! Pepsi really needs to buckle down as a company and strategize on what it is they are trying to do with social media, and then find the necessary funding to make it happen. They probably need to expand their social media department to include experts among the many different social media platforms in order to continue to stay competitive with Coca-Cola! Follow the lead of the leaders, and you have a chance of becoming one yourself.

Please provide comments or suggestions below…

References:

Gibs, J. (2014, Jan. 15). Measuring Success in Social Media. Hugeinc. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from https://econsultancy.com/blog/62548-how-coca-cola-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google/.

Moth, D. (2013, April 17). How Coca-Cola Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Econsultancy. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from https://econsultancy.com/blog/62548-how-coca-cola-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google/.

Moth, D. (2013, July 15). How Pepsi Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Econsultancy. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from https://econsultancy.com/blog/63062-how-pepsi-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google/.

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