The “fans-first” strategy that made Coca-Cola the biggest brand on Facebook—with 36 million “likes”—didn’t begin with a huge marketing effort from the global soft drink behemoth.
Coca-Cola would have preferred to cultivate the 100-plus fan-created pages across the social platform, cross-pollinate content, and encourage a thousand pages to bloom.
Facebook changed all that four years ago when it demanded that Coke collapse all the micro-sites into mega-pages. The 125-year-old bottler has since concentrated its efforts on a single brand page, but it has never swayed from fans who show a missionary zeal in their devotion.
“Most brands have to figure out what to do with social platforms,” says Michael Donnelly, group director of worldwide interactive marketing for Coca-Cola. “In almost every single case, we didn’t necessarily have to figure it out, because people figured it out before us.”
The Facebook page was created by two Los Angeles fans who remain active brand ambassadors. From their efforts, Coke has developed a single page for multilingual communications worldwide.