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Coca-Cola, Facebook execs talk social media at NACDS Marketplace

Social media is about engaging the consumer

DENVER — Executives from Coca-Cola and Facebook on Monday morning shared social media best practices and strategies here at NACDS Marketplace 2012.

Social media is about engaging the end-consumer in an interactive dialogue, more than it is about accumulating “likes.”

“The most valuable channel to engage the consumer is the news feed,” suggested Mike Haines, director of market solutions for Facebook. “Don’t think about your page as a destination … but as a launching point for the news feed.” Facebook is the power of word-of-mouth unleashed, Haines added.

That’s in part because social media is about telling a brand story. “Stories are the most powerful ways to share ideas,” noted JD Doughney, senior social marketing manager for Coca-Cola. “They’re also the most sticky way to retain information.” Social media also is ubiquitous.

“How far is the average person in the United States away from [his or her] smartphone? It’s literally 3 ft.,” commented John Carroll, VP drug and value channel for Coca-Cola. According to Carroll, 1-in-5 shopping trips start on Google, as many as 40% of 18 to 34 year olds use handheld devices to search for coupons, and half of all consumers use social media to learn about deals.

However, social media also should be a contributory revenue stream, not another cost center. For example, Haines noted, Walmart is using Facebook to help augment its relationship with shoppers at the community level. Shoppers who “like” Walmart’s page are asked to identify with a particular store, Haines said, which enables Walmart to target ad campaigns at the actual store level.

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