Tag Archives: brands

Behind the Scenes at the Biggest Brand on Facebook: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Facebook pageTaking the business mantra of  “think global, act local” to its maximum, Coca-Cola’s Facebook page is tailored to its 36 million fans around the world. While nearly all those fans access it through a single page, what they see differs based on where they are.

Coke micro-targets different messages in different languages daily to people in more than 100 countries – sometimes even to particular cities − according to a recent post on Ragan.com.  Thus, what people in the United States see on the Coca-Cola Facebook page will differ from what fans in most other countries see.

The page is managed by a team of seven at the company headquarters in Atlanta. But Coke employees in more than 200 countries help decide what should appear on the page, generally selecting options from approved content provided from HQ.

But they’ve got to manage everything in realtime. That’s because the world is full of critics, activists and cyber-graffiti artists who delight in posting petitions, political polemics, and pornography on the site.

Coca-Cola has hired a listening partner, which it won’t identify, to help watch the site and protect against vandalism. But the company won’t remove critical remarks or even shout-outs to competitors as long as they abide by the “house rules” posted on the site that prohibit material that can defame, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate the rights of others.

On the contrary, Coke encourages its fans to post material on its site. And when it comes across something elsewhere online that it finds relevant and amusing, it often will reach out and ask permission to share that on its own Facebook page.

For example, on a recent visit to the Coca-Cola Facebook page, visitors could click to view fan photos of a Coke can balanced at a 45-degree angle, a heart shape formed from more than seven dozen cans or a wind chime made from a Coke can. No one has ever refused Coca-Cola permission to post their online content, according to Michael Donnelly, group director of worldwide interactive marketing for the brand.

It’s rather recent that the company actually took over direction of its wildly popular Facebook page. Originally, it was created by two Los Angeles friends, Dusty and Michael, when they couldn’t find an official Coca-Cola Fan Page on Facebook. Others followed and at one time there were more than 100 fan-created pages. That ended four years ago, when Facebook demanded that Coke collapse all the micro-sites into mega-pages.

Despite the change, Coca-Cola continues to encourage fans to interact on the page, rather than focusing on pushing the product or boosting sales. The company also retained Dusty and Michael as brand ambassadors, linking to their Facebook page from its own. As Donnelly says, the Coca-Cola page is “very, very fancentric.”

Twitter Advertising Tryouts: How Four Brands Fared

Magnum Ice Cream in Twitter Promoted TweetRadio Shack, Unilever, Country Music Television and Zuji Australia are some of the more than 600 companies that Twitter says it has partnered with in its rapidly growing advertising business. In a recent report for eMarketer, social media analyst Kimberly Maul examined how those four brands fared with some of their test marketing efforts.

The bottom line: All four companies reported increases in followers, mentions and retweets. Maul says these results demonstrate that buying a promoted tweet can increase social media engagement by connecting with fans, spreading brand awareness and tying a brand to a specific topic of conversation. But these campaigns have not yet proven that the efforts will result in sales increases or higher TV ratings, for instance.

In her report, which she summarized in a post on AdAge Digital, Maul says “there is still a big gap” when it comes to connecting business goals with increased social media engagement. Here is a quick look at the four case studies.

As part of a years-long effort to connect the brand with its Team RadioShack cycling team, the electronics retailer incorporated Twitter Promoted Products in its marketing campaign around last May’s Amgen Tour of California. It purchased the trend #BackTheShack and several other promoted tweets throughout the week of the race to keep the conversation front and center. According to @adrianparker (the company’s social media director who spoke at Realtime NY11 this year), RadioShack gained 1,200 followers during the week of the campaign and there were more than 16,700 mentions of the #BackTheShack hashtag.

The company launched its Magnum ice cream brand in the United States this past March and part of the kickoff was a Twitter marketing campaign using its @MagnumIceCream handle. It wanted to tie the brand with fashion, technology and pop culture that appeal to its target audience, so it purchased a promoted trend ad using the hashtag #RoyalWedding. According to the company, Magnum received 89 million impressions on April 29 that were related to that hashtag with 83,000 clicks on the links it posted, more than 1,000 retweets and 270 replies, mentions or direct messages. 

Country Music Television
A week before its 2011 CMT Music Awards on June 8, the cable TV network began using promoted tweets and a promoted account. The ads announced new performers, led people to online voting, included videos and encouraged tune-in to the show. That helped its @FollowCMT Twitter account gain 4,000 new followers in the week it advertised the CMT Music Awards on Twitter. In addition, the hashtag #CMTawards was mentioned more than 30,000 times during the night of the show. 

Zuji Australia
The online travel agent, part of Travelocity, started using promoted tweets and accounts at the end of May 2011. It purchases promoted tweets for search terms and non-promoted hashtags that relate to travel, Australia and other issues where Zuji could contribute. The company says it already has more than doubled its follower base in the two months since it started using Twitter ads.

Marketers from these brands mentioned benefits from their Twitter advertising campaigns:

  • gaining a ‘tech-savvy reputation’
  • integrating ads ‘seamlessly’ into social media content
  • providing real-time interaction
  • giving added value to ‘already buzz-worthy events’

As for bottom-line results?  The jury is still out….but more companies are testing the waters with advertising on Twitter.  Just 150 companies did so at the end of 2010, but as of June 2011, 600 companies have now been involved in some type of Twitter advertising campaign.





How Facebook Helps Burt’s Bees Create Buzz

Burt’s Bees has relied on word-of-mouth marketing for growth since its founding more than 25 years ago. Most early consumers were introduced to the company’s products by friends sharing their experiences. So social media is an obvious way to move forward for a beauty products company – and it’s proving successful.

Since July 2010, the brand’s Facebook fan base has grown from 98,000 to more than 562,000 by creating compelling content that consumers want to interact with and discuss.  In an interview with eMarketer, Burt’s Bees Content and Social Media Manager Melissa Sowry and Manager of Public Relations Gabrielle Prohn said that quizzes, video, sampling offers and behind-the-scenes access into the world of Burt’s Bees is helping extend brand loyalty and generate strong online viral engagement.

Historically, women talk to other women they know and trust to find out what works with beauty products. With Facebook, that now can happen online. Burt’s Bees uses social media and in particular Facebook to build relationships. One great way is to offer samples and it recently succeeded with a sampling program on Facebook for its relaunched body lotions and a new tinted lip balm.

Burt’s Bees monitors a number of social media metrics such as how much traffic it drives from its Facebook site to the ecommerce section of its website. But it’s difficult to give actual ROI, such as whether the sampling tab on Facebook is responsible for increased sales, fan growth or positive sentiment about the brand. Even so, Sowry and Prohn believe that the consumer trust and access to information it offers on Facebook is driving people to make purchases.

Burt’s Bees has a “Shop & Share” feature on Facebook where brand fans can ask their friends about a purchase, but you can’t order products here yet. Burt’s Bees is watching Shop & Share closely to see if it should be expanded and offer the ability to complete transactions within Facebook.

Facebook Posts Receive 50% of ‘Likes’ Within First Hour and 20 Minutes


A new study released by social analytics firm Visibli reveals that a Facebook post goes ‘stale’ after about 1 hour and 2o minutes.  While this may seem short, it’s at least better than Twitter, where “95% of re-tweets happen in an hour” as reported by AdAge.

Visibli looked at the behavior of 200 million Facebook users — approximately one-third of Facebook’s total membership. By tracking the number of “likes” and “comments” that each post received over time, Visibli determined the ‘resiliency’ of each post. Facebook posts receive:

  • 50% of their Likes in the first 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • 80% in the first 7 hours
  • 95% within 22 hours

AdAge reports that PepsiCo‘s head of digital, Shiv Singh, said this is in keeping with PepsiCo’s research, and there is a “sharp drop-off in engagement with a post after 12 hours.”  Mr. Singh, who will be speaking at Realtime NY 11 on June 6,  said PepsiCo has also done research on the best days of the week and the best time of day for Facebook messages, but the company remains more focused on the number of impressions, likes, and comments that each post receives rather than how long it ‘lasts’.


Additional highlights from the Visibli report:


  • Audi’s Facebook Page has the most engaged fans, beating Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.  Visibli reviewed pages with over 100,000 Likes, and although brands overall performed poorly compared to artists and media organizations, Audi was a significant exception, receiving over 225 Likes (per 100k fans) for each Facebook post.
  • On average, artists’ posts receive 92 Likes per post, almost twice the number of Likes for media organizations and brands.
  • Media organizations receive 2.5x as many Comments on their Facebook posts as artists, and 5x as many as brands.
  • For brands and media organizations, Pages with fewer fans have greater engagement on a per capita basis than Pages with a higher number of fans. As the number of fans on a Page increases, engagement levels decrease.
  • The opposite was true for artists: as the number of fans on an artist’s Page increased, fan engagement also increased.

Engagement With Brands on Facebook is 20% Higher Outside of Regular Business Hours

New research from Buddy Media determines that while 60% of brand posts on Facebook are published between 10am and 4pm, Facebook users are 20% more likely to engage with posts outside of normal business hours. Engagement was measured by analyzing comments and ‘likes’, and factored in fanbase size for each brand.

Some other great findings:

  • Posts between 1 and 80 characters had a 27% higher engagement rate (on average) than posts with over 80 characters; however, they accounted for only 19% of all posts
  • Engagement rates are 3x higher for posts that use a full-length URL, as opposed to a URL shortener
  • Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursday and Friday than the other days of the week
  • Posts that end with a question have a 15% higher engagement rate

Lessons for brands from this data:

Post your content when consumers are using Facebook. Many Facebook users prefer to log on before or after work, and their engagement with company posts is higher during those times.  Get to the top of consumer News Feeds while they are on the site.  See the full report to determine the best days for your industry to post updates.

Choose the right content. The study found that certain words increase engagement, particularly simple instructions such as “like,” “post,” “take” and “comment,” as reported by eMarketer.

Ask a question, the right way. Posts that ended with a question also received high levels of engagement – give consumers something to respond to, and make it personal whenever possible.  Words such as “where” “when” “would” and “should” drive the highest engagement rates, while questions with “why” had the lowest ‘like’ and ‘comment’ rates.

Download the full research from Buddy Media here: “Strategies For Effective Facebook Wall Posts: A Statistical Review.” The report analyzed the Facebook posts and engagement rates for more than 200 clients from January 30-February 12, 2011.

Brands be Warned: 94% of Users Age 12-17 Don’t Want To Be Your Friend on Facebook

A new report from Forrester Research analyzes the digital behavior of young consumers and their relationships with brands via social media.  For those who are focused on getting more young consumers to click the ‘Like’ button, AdWeek breaks the ‘bad news’ to brands:  “Young people don’t want to be friends with you.”

While almost three-quarters of 12- to 17-year-olds are on Facebook, only 6% of this demographic using the web want to be friends with a brand on Facebook. According to Forrester, “Almost half of 12- to 17-year-olds don’t think brands should have a presence using social tools at all.”

Double that amount (12%) of online 18-24 year-olds are willing to befriend brands, but that still means 88% don’t want to be friends with brands on Facebook.

How important is the 12- to 17-year-old demographic?

  • 32% go on the Internet about once a day
  • Almost half are online multiple times a day, the most of any age bracket
  • Close to three-quarters of 12- to 17-year-olds have an account on Facebook
  • 66% report that they update their status at least weekly
  • 17% read posts on Twitter (up four percentage points from 2009); Forrester attributes this rise to the popularity of celebrity tweeters
  • At 67%, they are more likely than any age group to be ‘Conversationalists’ – regularly sharing updates on sites such as Facebook and Twitter

What do 12- to 17-year-olds expect from companies on social media?

  • Only 16% of young consumers expect brands to interact with them via social media
  • More than half are using social networks to stay in touch with friends (not with brands) – Forrester likens putting up a Facebook page for your brand to ‘trying to force yourself into their social circles’
  • Only one-quarter trust social networking sites, ranking 2nd to last in terms of the outlets that they trust

So how can brands reach this demographic through social channels, without relying on the ‘like’ button?

  • 28% expect brands to listen to what they say on social sites and get back to them; brands can earn trust by responding whenever young consumers have a question, concern, or problem
  • 74% percent of 12- to 17-year-olds tell friends about products that interest them – if that conversation is online, it’s usually on a social network
  • 12- to 17-year-olds shared their reviews about a product or service on Twitter and Facebook more than twice as many times as they posted on an online site with ratings and reviews – brands can listen and respond to what they’re already saying
  • 64% of 12- to 17-year-olds express their opinions about music, more than any other age group, presenting an opportunity for brands to collaborate with artists and find a more ‘authentic’ way to enter the social conversation with younger consumers
  • More than half of 12- to 17-year-olds talk about video games, and more than 1 in 5 play games on social networking sites – brands can look to creatively integrate advertising into games or the conversation around them.

To arrive at these conclusions, Forrester surveyed 4,681 Americans aged 12-17 on the Web in September of last year.  Read the full report from Forrester here: Understanding The Intricate Digital Behaviors Of Young Consumers




How Orabrush Became as Popular as Apple on YouTube

Can a small company use social media to compete with much bigger brands?

Take a look at Orabrush, Inc., a company of 15 employees that makes a brush/scraper to remove bacteria from your tongue –- not exactly a ‘sexy’ product. By creating a funny and informative YouTube campaign, combined with a Facebook and Twitter presence, Orabrush now has:

  • Over 40 YouTube videos on a channel that has received 35 million+ YouTube views, and over 118,000 subscribers
  • Over 270,000 fans on Facebook
  • Nearly 4,000 followers on Twitter
  • An active collaboration with Google Inc. (YouTube’s owner offered to place a widget on the Orabrush YouTube page that lets viewers buy the tongue brush directly from the video page)
  • Shipped more than $1 million worth of tongue brushes to 114 countries, and is now at ‘break-even’ Continue reading

55% of Facebook Users Have 'Unliked' Brands

A recent study by ExactTarget and CoTweet reveals why Facebook and Twitter users “unlike” or “unfollow” brands, and how the expectations around brand communications differ between the two social media platforms.  Marketing Profs reported the results, and below we’ve laid out a comparison of how Facebook and Twitter users engage with brands.

55% of Facebook users say they have “liked” and later “unliked” a brand on Facebook, while only 41% of Twitter users have “followed” and later “unfollowed” a brand. Continue reading

Want a New Facebook Fan for Your Brand? That'll be $1.07, please.

A Webtrends study of over 11,000 Facebook ad campaigns in the U.S. revealed that when brands advertise via Facebook, the cost to gain one ‘fan’ is $1.07 and climbing. Acquiring fans on Facebook gives brands the ability to reach users in two ways: through each user’s homepage news feed (for free), and through (paid) ads that target users on Facebook.com.

Here are some highlights from the Webtrends whitepaper, which focused on Facebook campaigns geared toward fan acquisition: Continue reading