How not to use Facebook


l8336965364_4887 Shame on you Coca Cola. As a brand you are second to none but when the Register alerted me to your facebook presence I had to have a look at what they were laughing at and I can truly understand why.

The point of Facebook and other social media platforms is to engage in conversation, talk the language that your audience talks and have fun whilst you are doing it.

So why on earth did Coca Cola decide to put this little beauty up to explain what it is that they do:

The Coca-Cola Company engages in the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups worldwide. The company offers nonalcoholic beverages, principally carbonated soft drinks, as well as noncarbonated beverages. Its beverage products comprise bottled and canned soft drinks and beverages products. The company’s products also include beverage concentrates, such as flavoring ingredients and sweeteners; syrups, the beverage ingredients produced by combining concentrates, sweeteners, and added water; and fountain syrups that use equipment for mixing the syrups with carbonated or noncarbonated water for immediate consumption, and are sold to fountain retailers, such as restaurants. The Coca-Cola Company also produces and markets noncarbonated beverages, including waters and flavored waters, juice and juice drinks, energy and sports drinks, teas, and coffees. The company markets its nonalcoholic beverages under various brand names, including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, and Sprite. It sells its finished beverage products primarily to distributors. The company sells its beverage concentrates and syrups to bottling and canning operators, distributors, fountain wholesalers, and fountain retailers. The Coca-Cola Company was founded in 1886 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia

Factually perfect. Right for Facebook – no way.

Looking at an example of a company that does this well – I recommend that you check out Fox


Lots of companies are trying to figure out how to engage in social media. Some are doing it well and some need to up the ante. What is certain is that we are going to see far more experimenting over the next few months and I look forward to seeing how it develops.


Edit (28 Nov) – it seems that this post has caused a few reactions (e.g. Web Strategy by Jeremiah) but perhaps the most surprising was a group setup on Facebook to deal directly with Coca-Cola’s profile (see below). I will be keeping an eye on any developments.




Side but related note – recommend you read this excellent post on Why You Can’t Buy a Heineken in Second Life.


9 Responses to “How not to use Facebook”

  1. You hit the nail on the head. Coke has been doing some interesting things in Second Life engaging the community with its Virtual Thirst campaign; so it’s surprising to me that they’d create a Facebook profile that offers such starkly different voice and image. As you say, they’ve got all the facts here about the company but where’s the engagement; where’s the human voice?

    I joined Facebook as a college student when it first started. It served as a virtual extension of dorm life. It was the medium my friends and I used to stay in touch, stay current on each other’s lives and meet new people at our school. When companies enter this space, they have to understand that the digital natives who make up the core community need interaction that is reflective of the personal engagement that encouraged us to sign up in the first place. I’m sure that a lot of my friends and classmates who love Coke would appreciate a page that allows them to see the people and personalities behind this brand.

  2. Great post. This probably started out as a good idea at Coke but went through the corporate grinder before it was finally implemented.

  3. Thanks Amanda and John for your comments.

    I am more shocked than anything else that a great brand such as coke could make suck a silly mistake.

  4. The central point here is to build conversational hubs vs. destinations. Reach out to your consumers (advocates and nay sayers) and give them a conduit by which to communicate with you.

    More fleshed out thoughts here:

    Love to hear everyone’s thoughts.



  5. Hey, thanks for the screenshot and the link. Part of the inspiration for starting that group was your post pointing out how stiff Coke sounded.

    I really wasn’t planning to be a ‘fan’ of any major brands. But Coke really needed the help. In fact, I need to get back over there and type up a few more ideas.

  1. 1 Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: Nov 21, 2007
  2. 2 Facebook advertising: the good, the bad. | loudhail
  3. 3 loudhail » Facebook advertising: the good, the bad.
  4. 4 Facebook advertising: the good, the bad. « loudhail

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: