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In the latest of our posts looking at how major brands use the four main social networks I’ve decided to turn the spotlight on Pepsi.

The drinks brand is forced to play second fiddle to Coca-Cola’s global dominance, and is unlikely to ever match its rival’s huge social following.

However it should still make an interesting case study, particularly with its long list of brand ambassadors. This post follows on from similar blogs looking at brands such as McDonald’s, Nike, Burberry and Walmart.

So without further ado, here is a quick overview of how Pepsi use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+...

Facebook

Pepsi’s Facebook page is a bit of a conundrum. It has some 17 million fans yet it hasn’t been updated since way back in July 2012.

In fact one of the most recent updates is a video of Fernando Torres when he had long blonde hair, which shows just how dated it really is.

On the face of it the page appears to be official as prior to going silent it posted almost daily updates promoting Pepsi’s ad campaigns and brand ambassadors.

The updates achieved almost zero interaction though, with very few achieving more than 50 comments and ‘likes’, which is also odd as although they’re extremely brand focused they aren’t much worse than a great deal of other corporate Facebook updates.

What’s perhaps most bizarre is that Pepsi recently created a ‘Like Machine’ that traded free samples in return for smartphone owners giving the brand the thumbs up on Facebook.

This is a fairly shameless way of scraping customer data if you’re not then going to make any effort to entertain them once they’ve been lured into becoming fans of the brand.

If you compare Pepsi’s silent page to Coca-Cola’s social efforts and the storming success it’s had just by writing random names on the side of cans then one would assume that Pepsi might soon be hiring a new Facebook page admin. 

Pepsi’s sub-brands do a far better job of posting fresh content and responding to fans comments.

For example, Pepsi Max posts new updates almost every day, most recently focusing around its sponsorship of cricket or featuring the magician Dynamo.

The updates featuring Dynamo’s bus levitation trick achieved a huge amount of interactions and were shared more than 120,000 times, however these were the exception rather than the norm.

In general Pepsi Max’s updates achieve just a few hundred ‘likes’ and comments despite having more than 1.1 million fans.

One noteworthy Pepsi Max promotion was its ICC Champions Trophy competition that offered people the chance to win tickets to the event.

To enter users had to upload a photo of themselves with a Pepsi at a Walkabout Bar either through a Facebook app, Twitter or on Instagram using the hashtag #MaxItToWin.

It seems like a good idea but unfortunately it looks like only about 30 people actually entered.

Pepsi NEXT’s updates and level of interactions are largely similar to Pepsi Max, however it also has to deal with a number of critical comments about the health risks of the drink.

Pepsi recently had to change the recipe of NEXT due to health risks associated with the artificial sweeteners it contained, however consumers clearly haven’t aren’t yet ready to forgive and forget.

Twitter

Pepsi is another brand with a confusingly broad range of Twitter feeds. There’s PepsiCo, Pepsi Max, Pepsi Max Crew, PepsiCo Deals, PepsiCo Jobs, Pepsi Next, as well as feeds for many of the countries in which the drink is sold.

As you’d expect most of the feeds have very few followers, however the main Pepsi account has managed to attract a following of 1.6 million people, some 600,000 more than Coca-Cola.

The social team tweets several times per day with the general focus being on the brand’s association with Beyoncé and its current ‘Live for Now’ campaign.

The idea is to promote Pepsi as an exciting, youthful brand that people associate with having a good time, so its feed is littered with hashtags such as #LiveForNow, #IconicSummer, #PoolParty and #duh.

It’s all rather corporate and dull in my opinion, but it does also throw in frequent ticket competitions for Beyoncé’s world tour, which is a good way of attracting more followers.

Pepsi Max UK also achieved decent results from a Promoted Tweet campaign for Beyoncé’s UK tour.

The ads offered some fans exclusive ‘meet and greet tickets’ with a ‘queue-jumping’ competition. After tweeting the hashtag ‘#MeetBeyonce’ fans could visit the Pepsi Max site and see where they were positioned in a virtual queue. 

At three random times during the day, the person at the front of the queue won the meet and greet tickets.

The ads were targeted at relevant keywords such as ‘Beyoncé’, ‘love Beyoncé’, ‘Jay Z’ and ‘Beyoncé tour’. Pepsi Max also used gender, geography and device targeting to specifically reach women located in the United Kingdom, on mobile.

Overall the campaign resulted in a 20.8% average engagement rate and more than 150,000 mentions.

Looking again at the main account, Pepsi’s social team also responds to occasional @mentions by other users, though not more than a handful each day and generally only to positive comments.

Many other brands have dedicated customer service channels on Twitter but Pepsi appears to largely ignore complaints, or it might be that it leaves them for local markets to deal with.

The PepsiCo feed appears to operate in much the same way. It responds to quite a few @mentions each day but it tends to be mainly positive comments.

Pinterest

As far as I can tell Pepsi NEXT is the only Pepsi brand that has an official Pinterest account. Despite being active for more than seven months it has pinned just 213 images across 14 boards, attracting a mere 1,078 followers.

One of the reasons for this could be that the boards are all slightly random. Many of the older boards tie into NEXT’s ‘Unbelievable’ campaign, so there are collections named ‘Unbelievable events’, ‘Unbelievable Places’ and ‘Unbelievable Party Parapernalia’. But then in among those there are other boards named ‘Homemade Holiday’ and ‘Sampling Events.’ 

The images themselves are quite interesting, but the social team has included too much text on the pins in my opinion. Also, the unbelievable lists are all taken from Buzzfeed advertorials.

The more recent boards are even worse and just include images and videos from Pepsi adverts that all link back to the product’s official website. Another one is called ‘Pepsi NEXT’ and just includes nine different product images.

It’s hardly the sort of thing that people are going to want to share in great numbers.

Pepsi NEXT is also another example of a brand that has used Pinterest to run a competition. Users had to create a board named ‘Unbelievable Pepsi Next Party’ and pin a branded Pepsi image as well as at least two images depicting their ultimate super bowl party.

It attracted several hundred entries, which isn’t actually that bad for this kind of competition.

Finally, there is an account that purports to be for PepsiCo, however it doesn’t have the official Pinterest tick.

It has created 12 boards for topics such as ‘Innovate Globally’ and ‘Sustainability’ but many of them have only a couple of pins. In general the content is fairly dull and corporate, so it’s unsurprising that it has just 600 followers.

Google+

Pepsi is another brand that puts very little effort into its G+ page and generally posts just one or two updates per month. Even so, it has managed to attract just over 700,000 followers.

The posts tend to be images or videos of Beyoncé or other musicians, and rarely achieve more than a few hundred interactions.

Pepsi’s apparent indifference to G+ is by no means unusual and I’ve previously highlighted 10 major brands with dreadful Google+ pages. As far as I can tell, Pepsi’s other brands haven’t bothered with G+ at all.

However there is a G+ page for PepsiCo Jobs that is updated on an almost daily basis. 

The content is all based around PepsiCo product launches and marketing campaigns, as well as occasional updates on the company’s interns. It’s not particularly interesting and only has around 1,000 followers.

David Moth

Published 15 July, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1690 more posts from this author

Comments (15)

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Cliff

I think Pepsi is not putting too much effort in social media because it's hard to measure the success of social media. It's hard to measure customer satisfaction and the effect of branding over social media, and most companies likes to get objective results.

over 3 years ago

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Gloria Buono-Daly

Very interesting and intrigueing article. One common thread throughout Pepsi's social media campaigns is the fact that it is lacking in excitement and motivation -- e.g., FB page has 17 million fans but latest activity is over 1 year ago, random first 3 selections all the time, hype is highly dependent on their stars, only pays attention to the positives but rarely (or never) heeds to solving solutions to the negative feedback. Econsultancy to the rescue!

over 3 years ago

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Cameron

I think you are looking at their old FB page. The new one is here:

https://www.facebook.com/PepsiUS?brand_redir=1

It should Redirect you from the old one you are looking at:

https://www.facebook.com/pepsi?brandloc=DISABLE

Does that work for you?

over 3 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Cameron, thanks for pointing that out. Oddly the old page is top of the search listings on Facebook and I don't get redirected to the US page.

over 3 years ago

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chris

I'm wondering when the first half of this article will be updated based on the author's error with regards to the correct Facebook page and his criticism of the activity and engagement...

It might also be worth calling out that "PepsiCo" is the parent company of "Pepsi" and lumping social activity from both into a single article about the Pepsi brand creates a less than accurate depiction of what the Pepsi team is doing in the space. (the result is the same as throwing in the @RealCapnCrunch twitter account or the Mountain Dew facebook page in this article about Pepsi - both brands are under PepsiCo but run by different teams/divisions and with different objectives and/or audiences.)

~~
disclaimer: PepsiCo employee

over 3 years ago

Shane Jones

Shane Jones, Director of Earned Media at WebpageFX

Fernando Torres!! - In the pepsi video. Didn't expect to see a Liverpool FC legend on here!

over 3 years ago

Shoplet Promos

Shoplet Promos, Digital Marketing at Shoplet Promos

The Facebook issue aside - this article demonstrates a couple of interesting things.

1. a company as powerful as Pepsi can afford to move slow with unproven tools like Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

2. when you're a branded house like Pepsi and you have a TON of brands to manage, it's not easy. PepsiCo, Pepsi Max, Pepsi Max Crew, PepsiCo Deals, PepsiCo Jobs, Pepsi Next - that's just a sample of the brands they need to manage.

over 3 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@chris, thanks for your comment and your point about PepsiCo, which is a good one.

But to be honest I don't see it as my error in regards to the correct Facebook page. If I search for 'Pepsi' using Graph Search then the top listing is the one I've described and even when I scroll quite far down through the listings the 'correct' Facebook page never appears.

It may be something to do with my UK IP address? Either way, it's not my error that the Pepsi Facebook page I'm shown is an out of date version. Either Facebook or Pepsi needs to try and fix it.

over 3 years ago

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chris

Thanks for responding, David.
It's a valid point.

But the article still warrants an edit in my humble (and perhaps biased) opinion if only because you, the author, are aware of the issue and don't know if it sits with PEP, FB or something wacky in a browser or ISP that prevents the appropriate redirect. Leaving the callout buried in the comments while only showing a review of the knowingly incorrect page is a bit misleading and doesn't seem to be in anyone's best interest... readers, PEP, FB, eConsultancy, etc.

~~
disclaimer: PepsiCo employee

over 3 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

That's also true. I'll update the article in the morning with a note clearing up the issue.

I don't think I'll go as far as reviewing the other Facebook page though, as I assume that other UK users will see the same outdated Facebook page as me. So to all intents and purposes I've honestly reviewed Pepsi's Facebook strategy as UK consumers will see it, even if that's not the page Pepsi intends us to see.

over 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

I'm also seeing the old Pepsi page through Google, as will plenty of UK users, so there is clearly an issue that needs to be fixed here.

over 3 years ago

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Barrett

Ummmm, am I missing something? Because I see tons of content on their FB page over the last few months: https://www.facebook.com/PepsiUS

over 3 years ago

Shane Jones

Shane Jones, Director of Earned Media at WebpageFX

@Barrett the comments above should explain. Pretty sure its a UK IP thing.

over 3 years ago

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Carl

I also get the old page and I live in the netherlands. only when I entered the URL given in the comment did I get to the new one.

if nothing else, shouldn't pepsi update the old page saying "please visit..."??

over 3 years ago

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Shane Gibson

They have 17 million fans and it's updated many times per week. I will say that FACEBOOK seems to be the issue. I'm sure it's a frustration at Pepsi with all of the crazy redirects and Facebook trying to do the thinking for us (picking the regional page)... why not provide a complete list of Pepsi pages in search and let us choose?

They really have a good handle on their audience. When you calculate engagement on a per million fan basis Pepsi is actually more engaged than coke (per million fans) - so with their existing fan base they are at least at par with coke.

I watched Pepsi marketing execs present their #livefornow campaign case study in New York at a conference over a year ago. It resulted in a 150% increase in site traffic - PERMANENTLY.

The concept as they described it was about "amplifying the moment" with the #livefornow meme. I'm sure if you looked over their last 20 contests overall you would see a success. Maybe take a step back and look for more data?

over 3 years ago

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