Once upon a time, companies registered domains for everything. One frozen food company registered a .com domain for every single product they sold. The idea back then seemed simple enough (relative to a limited understanding of the Internet): There were no useful search engines, so why not make it possible to type “[productname].com” into the web browser (typically that ugly POS known as Netscape) to pull it up?
Other companies used this approach to create a domain name for each advertising campaign.
The search engines came along and after a maturation process Google rammed their concept of “ site authority” down our throats. Having many domains weakens your online authority and that meant putting everything back on one domain’s site. Then you had to find a creative way of arranging all the information so search bots and (as an afterthought) people could find it.
I’m just glad there aren’t more wiki’s as a result.
Aside from search engine optimization woes, it’s just plain harder to get people to come to your site anymore. In case you didn’t get the memo, social media has the Internet by the nards and it’s not likely to let go any time soon.
So what’s a company like Coca-Cola to do?
If the people at Coke have any brains, they would abandon the old model of needing to own every web property with which they intended to market and get in the middle of the crowds of people who want what they have and like to talk about it too.
Apparently, the right people at Coca-Cola are in possession of said brains because that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Now maybe they didn’t come up with the idea to create their Facebook fan page first but at 4,134,849 fans and counting, they haven’t screwed it up either. Last time I checked, this fan page had just made news by crossing the 1 million fan mark. I don’t think that was too long ago so adding on another 3 million fans is pretty sweet.
What do people do on this page?
They talk about Coke, Coke Cookbooks, shirts, the museum, flavors, sweeteners, when the Stevia Coke is going to be available and when I CAN BUY IT HERE IN DC (hint hint) and all sorts of stuff I really doubt a marketing team would have ever come up with on their own.
In other words, Coca-Cola is connecting to people where they are (social media) and joining them in conversation.
I can’t wait to see how this shift impacts Coke in 2010. Some of the frontier is still unknown but if they can pull off authenticity and being “real” online, then anyone can.
How about you? Are you walking away from any of your marketing practices from the previous year and stepping into more social media/networking?