Pepsi vs. Coke: who wore it better?

In the modern media world of expanding one’s brand social media is imperative in reaching out and connecting with people. How well a particular company can do use social media will have a significant impact of the success and longevity of their brand.

The purpose of this blog update is to showcase and compare the social media presence of two organizations: Pepsi and Coca-Cola. For this, it is important to try and examine how successfully the company can use the major social media platforms and integrate content among platforms.

Out of the top social media platforms Pepsi and Coca-Cola only seemed to have any presence on four of the six with Snapchat and Pinterest not having a company controlled account. Snapchat makes it very difficult to try and find an organization if it is not listed on the main page. Pinterest has a similar problem where a brand presence is made mostly by individuals linking to the organization.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola both have some form of representation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Looking at their LinkedIn presence it is easy to tell which one updates their page and which has never touched it.


Coca-Cola has what would be expected of a company’s LinkedIn page with messages about different promotions and campaigns the company is using. Above is Pepsi’s profile, they created a page with some basic information about the company, but that is clearly all they have done.

The other three social media platforms are where both companies do an effective job for expanding their brand. First of all, the presence on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is largely the same, but major differences will be noted.

Facebook is the most widely used social media platform and therefore has the most impact, but it also means the bulk of the promotion is done through Facebook. In the cases Pepsi and Coca-Cola, they use Facebook for the most explanation of the video or photo and then the Twitter and Instagram accounts have the same visual element with less text.

Pepsi seems to have several campaigns they are running as well as trying to keep up with current events.

Here is a basic summery of the themes Pepsi uses: Mature appeal, seasonal, sports and current events.

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The goals of Pepsi of social media seem to be around the idea of capturing the core demographic young to middle aged adults by staying timely with things they might be interested in. When it is time to vote, Pepsi will remain people and then associate that event with Pepsi in their mind. Pepsi tries to do this with sports, music, holidays and what is trending.

When going to look at Instagram and Twitter, it is obvious they are pandering toward a younger demographic. For example: “TFW your teams breaks a 108 year dry spell #BreakOutThePepsi” or “Straight Outta Coffin. Vamps, aliens, and so much more c/o @stellasensel #PepsiHalloween.”

Coca-Cola on the other hand has the benefit of being an internationally known brand and don’t need to associate their brand with other events as much as Pepsi would have to. Whereas Pepsi would have fairly different social media presences, Coke tries to keep their message simple. Coca-Cola has a one clear message: if you are eating some type of food, have a Coke. This doesn’t seem to change across their platforms as well, with nearly the exact same thing at the same time on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Here are some examples of what to expect on any social media platform for Coca-Cola.

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To get a basic grasp of how effective these companies are perceived, the comments showed a clear difference between their likability. Pepsi has their comment sections riddled with disdain for what the company stands for and the quality of the product, these comments are also often the highest rated comments. Pepsi doesn’t seem to respond to people in their comment sections, likely due to the level of toxicity. Coca-Cola is full people talking about how much joy having a Coke brings them and the page will usually respond something back to those comments.

These two articles share important tenets what is important connection with people on social media and will be used as part of the evaluation criteria for Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

The Social Media Hat

Social Media Examiner
Pepsi runs a seemingly effective strategy for social media promotion. The three social media platforms Pepsi uses tries to appeal to the people using that platform, which results in the most successful integration out of the two companies.

Pepsi uses their Facebook page as a primary hub for posting all of their promotional material to appeal to the wide audience, on Instagram they appeal to young folks and on Twitter they engage in live-tweeting events.

Pepsi also does an adequate job of staying on top of what is trending for the types of groups they are appealing to. They promote art, concerts and detailed sports coverage for a drink company. They will also stay on top of Halloween, the general election and other seasonal events.

Pepsi uses Twitter the most effectively of the two. Pepsi actively posts on their Twitter, typically about American sports and comes off as human in their approach with giving comments and opinions about how the team or players are doing.

Pepsi comes with a variety of problems, while they do engage on Twitter, they avoid engagement on Facebook. It makes sense since the comments are toxic, but typically constructive or clever engagement can turn around a negative conversation.

There is a lack of focus with what Pepsi promotes and it seems they only post about the organizations the sponsor. Pepsi should try to use more broad appeal to make the argument for “why Pepsi?” and the share that among all of their social media accounts.

Pepsi needs to build a centralized LinkedIn page with the six that exist posting about the company very little. Promotion across multiple platforms reaches more people. This is primary step every company should take for their social media face.
Coke does the best at sharing their brand identity across multiple social media platforms. Coca-Cola stays consistent with their promotional material across every platform. Since they have an established name internationally their goal is to get their idea out there for “why Coke?”

Coca-Cola does a great job of cultivating a community around their product with the page leaving a lot of comments that are clever and seem to make people laugh and thus get a lot more positive comments and shares than Pepsi does.

Coca-Cola follows every step for a successful social media presence, this comes from a light, playful approach with the brand at the center while keeping it fun and engaging with the page commentators.

Aside from their LinkedIn page Coca-Cola fails to change up their promotion across the different platforms and this shows a lack of understanding the audience demographics of each platform.

Coca-Cola doesn’t take itself seriously and tries to keep it light, but by doing that they don’t engage with the real world and don’t connect with the audience. Keeping an audience engaged with some current topic, interactive photos and live events is necessary for keeping someone on their page for more than a few minutes.

The final critique is similar to the last one, but important to point out. Coca-Cola doesn’t use much in the way of video besides their basic promotional advertising. Tailoring some video unique to social media in general would go a long way in better keeping that audience.

Overall, Pepsi and Coca-Cola are at different stages in their organizations, while Pepsi is trying to get people to think of their product at all, Coke just has to remind people about their established product. As a result it is tough to say which organization is more effective, since they have different goals, but clearly there are some improvements that can be made.

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