How to integrate social media with PR and communications — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Travis Kenney of Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

11:55 —'s Kurt Vanderah introduces The Coca-Cola Company's Natalie Johnson.

11:56 — Natalie talks about two different approaches: pull and push. The “pull” example involves their Surge product from 1996-2003. 

Natalie: We decided to bring the product back. Step 1: Know your audience. It was a big push for millennials for 90s nostalgia. On our Facebook page, we created “the Surge movement.” We also purchased a billboard near Coke's headquarters: “We can't buy surge so we bought this billboard ad.” We needed to do something that would resonate with millennials/our audience.

11:57 — Natalie: Step 2: Meet your audience where they already are. Most of the Surge conversation was online. We had 155K followers. We needed to do something risky so we launched Surge through Amazon. We decided to only sell the product online and we saw great success.

11:58 — Natalie: Step 3: Build off of existing momentum. The Surge movement took on a life of its own. Let's create another story about the people who created the Surge movement. It was about Sean, Evan, and Matt — not about the product. “Are you part of the Surge movement? Share your pictures here.” The product sold out in 24 hours.

12:02 — Next Natalie talks about the “Push approach” using the example of The Coca-Cola Journey.

12:03 — Natalie: Step 1. Know your audience. We wanted to target very specific groups that would see our journey message, and we wanted to know which network to use. We targeted North America, Europe, South America, and we wanted an educated, sustainable industry. We focused on LinkedIn.

12:05 — Natalie explains the three P's: Plan, Process, and Publish.

  • Plan: Run campaign for 6 weeks. How do we want each post to perform?  We looked at hashtags, and we looked at our creative assets.
  • Process: The person who planned the strategy needs to be closely aligned with the person implementing — need to be involved from the beginning.
  • Publish: Need to execute flawlessly. It's simple easy to use hashtags and links.

12:06 — Natalie: In the planning stage, we decided to go with a paid media strategy leveraging LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. We did a big push.

12:08 — Natalie: Step 3: Evaluate and course correct. Our headlines needed to be more specific and clear and tags needed to be shorter.

12:09 — Natalie shares some key takeaways:

  • Know which approach is appropriate
  • Know your intended audience and what will resonate with them
  • Know your desired message/positioning
  • Know when to plan and publish
  • Be nimble

Q & A

Q: What is the expression of interest score?

A: Natalie: We're looking at content that aligns with our story.  We use a weighted score that factors in likes, shares, and impressions.

Q: You talked about a widget you use. Can you elaborate on that?

A: Natalie: We use Outbrain which allows you to take headlines from ESPN, CNN and say for more content like this, click here, which links to our content.

Q: What is the purpose of Coca-Cola Journey site?

A: Natalie: Storyboards of what we're doing in the communities where we operate. We also talk about products we're rolling out. We have journalists on our team and we use them for content as well as an outside agency.