You would think with 79,886,388 followers on Facebook that Coca-Cola would be a healthy brand but you would be mistaken. Last week, the company reported declining sales of soda in the critical North American market along with disappointing sales growth globally, alarming investors. Shares fell over 4 percent on the news, the most in seven months. So far this year, Coke shares have dropped nearly 7 percent, which is cataclysmic by Coca-Cola standards. So why are “experts” touting Coke’s Facebook page as successful if the brand is in trouble?
Coca-Cola has reigned for years as the world’s No. 1 brand, but last year, both Apple and Google overtook it in Interbrand’s annual ranking.
Coke’s social media strategy has been heralded as a lesson in effective social media marketing, but I would like to argue that the people pointing this out are the ones who promote vanity metrics instead of business objectives.
We know that younger demographics tend to skew towards social media and Facebook, but young people themselves are turning to alternatives to Coke like energy drinks. So what are the key lessons here?
1ne: Never equate followers with a successful social media marketing strategy because even though they are following you they may not be purchasing your product or could already be your customers (superconsumers).
2wo: Social media compliments your overall brand strategy. If it’s off-target or you don’t innovate social media alone is not enough to stop the sinking ship.
3hree: Understand that, no matter the number of followers, if your sales are declining you need to re-evaluate your social media strategy.
4our: If the person doing your branded social media strategy is in himself getting a lot of self promotional trade press then something is wrong. The person in charge of Coke’s social media marketing is often seen as a superstar but is he really?
This is a great lesson on how social media,alone, is not going to save your brand.