3:24 pm March 20, 2013, by Christopher Seward
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You’d think with nearly 62 million Facebook and 687,000 Twitter followers, Coca-Cola would be primed to capitalize on “buzz” about new beverages coming on line, but the Atlanta-based company says not really.
Social media chatter about its products does little to influence purchases, Coca-Cola research shows, according to Ad Age and businessinsider.com reports on comments a Coke executive made this week at an advertising conference.
“We didn’t see any statistically significant relationship between our buzz and our short-term sales,” Eric Schmidt, senior manager for corporate market strategy and insight, was quoted as saying.
Schmidt cautioned listeners not to put too much stock in the finding since the Atlanta-based beverage giant only looked at buzz and not other aspects of social media engagement, such as sharing and video views.
In a statement following the buzz Schmidt’s comments created, Coke said, “Our social strategy is focused on building great relationships with our consumers. We’re always looking at ways to make our social programs more effective, and this presentation covered just one of the many factors that we consider.”
As businessinsider.com noted, “Brands spend significant sums of money both cultivating and engaging their online following. This internal study by a major company might cause brands to rethink that strategy.”
The study could also give Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites pause as they try to use their huge following to attract advertisers. Blake Bos, a consumer goods/industrials analyst for The Motley Fool, advised nervous investors of Facebook, whose stock was down Wednesday, not to read too much into the Coke study because of its limited scope.
In reporting on the Coke study, Yahoo! Finance asked its visitors whether social media influenced their purchases. The website said 87 percent of responders said “never.”
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