Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Coca Cola "Rules" Social Media

Coca-Cola ranked as the world’s top brand, with a following on Facebook of 34 million fans, growing at a monthly rate of nearly three percent, posting seven times a month, each garnering more than 235 comments and nearly 1,750 “likes,” according to Covario.

The top 100 leading brands on Facebook includes Hyundai, Disney, Bayer, HP, Victoria’s Secret, Best Buy, Samsung Mobile, Dr. Pepper and Macy’s among the top 10 brands using Facebook effectively.

Perhaps significantly, 35 percent of respondents say “driving sales” is the number one priority for social media programs, but 47 percent see the goal as driving engagement and driving brand awareness, and another 14 percent say they are “driving friends.”

Overall,  65 percent are using their social media programs, and their Facebook pages, to drive “soft” conversions, not explicit sales. Those results point up the fact that social media programs can have multiple goals. But the findings also illustrate the tension posed by social media. To the extent that the purpose is “community” or “socializing” or “fun,” does lead generation interfere with those purposes? If not, how can lead generation be reconciled with the other values? 

The study also has other implications. Traditionally, media efforts by brands have come in clear buckets: paid media (advertising), earned media (public relations, media relations, press relations) and owned media (brands acting as publishers and content creators on their own sites). 

The Covario study suggests top brands fund social media programs partly out of advertising budgets, partly out of PR budgets and partly out of new budgets. Both in terms of practice and internal thinking and budgets, social media is a new mix of outbound communications, marketing and sales promotion.

In many ways social media is a replacement for traditional advertising, public relations and marketing. In other ways it is a new blend of tactics. The rather clear implication is that competencies and skills also will have to change, both on the part of brands and other practitioners in the ecosystem.

At one level, the changes are "merely" about the ways brands spend money. At another level, the changes also reflect and contribute to a change in our understanding and practice of media. 

Historically, the growth of media has been fueled by advertising. If advertising support changes, so will media. In simplest terms, if traditional media has been supported by advertising, and advertising spending shifts to social media, there will be less traditional media and more social media.

Facebook users are “active” users, or using the application  more than four times per week. Less than 40 percent of Twitter users are considered active users, by way of comparison.

Facebook counts nearly 50 percent of its user base as power users (use the site at least once per day). A study done by comScore last year showed that Facebook occupies nearly 10 percent of the user time online globally. Users were spending an average of 450 minutes per month on the platform, compared to 230 minutes on Google, for example.

Facebook users number 800 million as of the time of the writing, more than any other social media platform. Twitter is estimated at 245 million users and LinkedIn, the key professional social platform, 120 million users.

Facebook tips for brands

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