The purpose of this assignment is to explore the way these companies use and manage their social media accounts. By assessing the strategies used by big companies on social media, we can make conclusions about their brand and social management.
I chose to critique the social media accounts of Coca-Cola and Pepsi for a few reasons. For one, I love both of their products and I’m not particularly biased towards either. Some people are die-hard for one or the other (my grandma might as well be the poster child for Pepsi). Two, I knew that these companies have a worldwide presence, which would give me a lot to analyze and evaluate. Coke and Pepsi have always been in major competition, so that added an edge as well. I wanted to take it upon myself to see what techniques they each use online.
I can start off by saying that each company was very easy to find on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. I’m unsure if Coke or Pepsi have Snapchat accounts. I couldn’t find a verified account for either one. If they do have a Snapchat, the accessibility of the accounts is compromised and time consuming. I became slightly frustrated that it wasn’t as easy to find them on Snapchat as it was on the other platforms.
As I took the time to explore the different accounts for each company, I noticed some similarities right away. Both companies post consistently and frequently on their social media accounts. It appears that they each try to make at least one post a day. I saw that both companies replied to negative and positive feedback with their fans/customers on Facebook and Twitter. Coke and Pepsi barely use GIFS or hashtags. I also noticed that both brands were more active around the holidays, attempting to get their audience excited about upcoming festivities. Pinterest and LinkedIn were very similar.
It appears as though the main goal was marketing, which is fairly obvious. I think they could try to be more creative in a way that it doesn’t always feel like an ad. Even though it is obvious that marketing and engagement are the main strategies used in this situation, Pepsi and Coke still do a good job at using the elements from the article 8 Essential Elements of a Social Media Marketing Strategy. They could work on narrowing who they want their ideal customers to be because it seems as though the target market is broad.
Although these two companies were similar in many ways, I was also able to identify some differences. The first huge difference I noticed was that Coke has a much larger following on all platforms, except LinkedIn. For example, on Facebook Coke has around 99.6 million likes, while Pepsi has 35.8 million likes. This could be due to the fact that maybe people like Coke better, or maybe Pepsi’s current strategies are not meeting their audience needs. With that being said, Pepsi needs to step their game up. I think several concepts in this article could be taken into consideration for them. It would be a good idea for them to look at their competition and note the main differences to gain insight on what users like.
Both Coke and Pepsi respond to their audience, but Coke also responds in Spanish to their bilingual consumers! I thought that was pretty awesome. That definitely gave them a leg up on Pepsi. Furthermore, Pepsi responds frequently in a generic, impersonal way…many times it was identical to a previous response with a different customer. This caught my attention because our guest speakers Jessica and Charlie warned against this. They said that it is not satisfying enough for the customer when you respond like you are Siri. You must make it personal to avoid losing business.
Pepsi appeared to have some celebrity endorsements (atheletes, pop stars) on their pages. I didn’t come across a celeb appearance with Coke. Coke used more humor in their posts than Pepsi did. Anna Rader noted that her audience likes it when she is playful and humorous, yet remaining professional.
3 ways that Coke is using social media in an effective way:
- Coke engages with their audience on a more personal level. They ask fans what their favorite food to pair with Coke is.
- Coke uses many pictures and videos to catch their audience’s attention.
- Coke makes a good attempt at appealing to all walks of life. My advice to them would be to make more posts that aren’t just video (quotes, promotions, hashtags), add more emotion to the posts (inflict feelings), and to invent new products to keep people interested.
3 ways that Pepsi is using social media in an effective way:
- Involving celebrities so that fans feel they are familiar with the brand.
- Always promoting new or limited-time products and reinventing old ones (staying current and relevant) to avoid monotony.
- Being an advocate for career opportunities and encouraging fans to look into working for them.
My advice for Pepsi includes also adding more emotion to their posts, responding in a heartfelt way rather that impersonal (add Spanish to that) and working on some of the social media management tips to gain a more even following with their competitor.
Overall, I would say that Coca-Cola’s social management team is doing a bit better than Pepsi. I think it has a lot to do with customer interaction. Either way, I still love both!
*sounds of me cracking open a fresh can of soda*