What To Learn … and NOT Learn … from Coke

Here’s another look at what a huge online brand is doing with social media.  Coca-Cola, of course, is more than just an online brand.  Still, they have an enormous online presence, and their Facebook followers number in the tens of millions.

Coke has something to teach radio brands.  At the same time … you don’t want to go copying them, because they’re in a very different spot from most radio stations.

Here’s what to do:  pay attention to the style they write in.  It’s a strong match for the feeling that fans get from the Coke brand.  If you look at their advertising and marketing … or if you spend any time at their website … you see that the word “Smile,” and a sense of fun, is their whole message.

Coke is like perfume; they promote the feeling you get from it, not the product itself.  They never do a radio-style positioner, like “The best variety of sweet fizzy brown liquid and caffeine.”

Also, they are everywhere.  Sure, the Coca-Cola brand is popular in the USA.  But overseas?  They’re absolutely beloved in many places, and viewed as one of the best things to ever come out of America.  So, they’re in a position where they probably move truckloads of their product just from putting on a commercial about the word “Smile.”  Coke is probably playing the biggest defensive marketing strategy on the planet!

You, however, are not in that position.  You still need to consciously tempt most of your fans to go to your website or listen to your broadcast.

With that, let’s look at a few posts.

And this means …. what?  Clearly, it doesn’t matter what I think it means, because tens of thousands of people “like” it, and another couple of thousand had something to say about it!  Click the post above to see some of the responses.  When you get this big, you can post silly, fun stuff like this that makes you smile.

HOWEVER … think about what your personal Facebook “News Feed” page looks like.  Think about the sort of posts you see when you scan your way down that page.  No one reads sequentially online; your first hurdle is just getting noticed, and getting reacted to.  Thinking about the sort of posts YOU usually see on Facebook, you can see this is the sort of thing that can just flat-out get some attention.

I’ve suggested you not use typical DJ language in your social media posts, because it’s just too wordy and trite to really get a social media response.  When you start a post with, “Hey, Facebook Fans” … it’s a cue to everyone to ignore whatever else you have to say.

What you can learn from Coke is that it’s worth a try adapting this style to your goal to get more listening and more webhits.  Instead of making another wordy post about a station appearance, why not go with “A day with Portland’s Oldies is like … yesterday,” followed by a link to your online stream?

If you click this post, you’ll see the video about these characters … they’re supposed to be the Coke guys who started the Coke Facebook page.  This is more brand-oriented than the first post, but it’s still fun and light, and has very little about actually consuming a can of Coke, or putting up an end-aisle display in the grocery store.

What if you took this attitude, however, and did a daily “The Show After The Show” video from your morning crew?  No more than a minute or two in length, kiddingly putting together what they would talk about the next day on the air.  Do as Coke does … keep all those videos at your brand’s YouTube page, and post each day’s in social media and on your website.  You never once have to say, “So listen tomorrow morning starting at 5:30,” although you could post your logo at the end.  It’s easy-to-produce brand-based content, which is something a lot of us are struggling with.

This is just a great branding-plus-lifestyle-plus-product-placement promotion.  If you click the above post, it’ll link you to the page at the American Idol website where the information about this lives.

Pepsi sure as hell can’t do the “Perfect Harmony” promotion.  And not every international brand gets someone of multi-ethnic, multinational appeal like a Taio Cruz to be involved … especially on American Idol.

I offer this mostly as inspiration for a great promotion you could work to emulate.  Not everyone is Coke, so maybe you can’t get on the finale of American Idol.  Still … what would make a big splash in your market?

Final thought about this post:  This is actually a pretty complicated promotion.  Notice that they don’t try to sum it all up on Facebook.  They posted a link to go find out more, once you’re enticed by the copy they posted.


So how’s your social media workin’ for ya, bud?  Listen, I’m happy to look at and talk with you about what you’re doing, and whether or not it’s helping your brands.  You might learn something!  Click my name to learn how to get in touch with me:

Chris Miller


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