Listen, I am quite sure Coke marketing knows what they’re doing. My business partner, Ben Risinger, always says “I’ll have a Coke and a smile” when he orders the popular beverage, and the logo and branded red and white colors are some of the most recognized pieces of Americana history.
So when Coca-Cola announced the results of their social media study, when they concluded that short-term “buzz” did not equal sales, why were many of us so quick to think Coke was dissing social media and doesn’t get its purpose?
In fact, social media managers should thank them for effectively quantifying a point we have been trying to make for years. Social media is a relationship and community builder, not a sales pitch.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for sales.
I once posed a question to some of my friends, that if “The Office” were truly a reality show, and the company was actually in existence, would you buy paper from them? The overwhelming majority said yes, some said yes even if they didn’t actually have any need for mass quantities of paper.
Same principle rings true with other “reality” shows like “Duck Dynasty” and “Pawn Stars.” They have never actually pitched any sales through their tv shows, but I can guarantee both those companies are set for life now.
Why? Because they are doing what good social media strategies should be doing. Offering insights and looks into their business, humanizing it, and giving it a personality the average consumer enjoys and relates to. If we were to walk into any of those establishments it would feel like we have already been there, and that we already have a personal relationship with the staff.
Senior Marketing Manager of Coca-Cola Eric Schmidt said it right, when talking about the brand’s strategy for social media, “Our social strategy is focused on building great relationships with our consumers.”
That’s what social media is all about. Relationship building and community cultivating. It’s not, like some other big brands suggest, taking an Instagram picture of your product, attaching a clever quote to it and then spending $10,000 on ads to get it into the Facebook news stream of thousands of people who don’t want to see your sponsored post. It, social media, is not a quick hit sales pitch. Social media is long-term, strategy-based part of a greater marketing plan.
Coca-Cola just proved that with their study, that’s all. They didn’t blast social media, or declare it a failure. They just solidified the fact that relationships are what social media is all about. And, on behalf of all the social media managers out there trying to sell this idea for years, thank you.