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Andy’s Answers: How PepsiCo is jumping into social media

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Brands & Campaigns

My company, GasPedal, recently hosted BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media in San Francisco — a fantastic event featuring eight case studies on corporate social media from some of the biggest companies in the world. As we gear up for our next BlogWell in Minneapolis on Aug. 13 — featuring case studies from McDonald’s, H&R Block, Wal-Mart, CME Group, General Mills, and Progressive — I’m sharing some key lessons from San Francisco.

Here’s what we learned from Josh Karpf, PepsiCo’s manager of digital communications, who discussed how the iconic brand is making its first moves into social media:

  • Start by focusing on key events and influencers. Instead of trying to be everywhere at once, PepsiCo focuses on what they call, “must meets,” such as South by Southwest, Internet Week, and connecting with moms on BlogHer.
  • When you’re new, respect for the space is important. Pepsi decided to go to SXSW to make their social media splash, but wanted to do it in a way that respected and supported the space. To do so, they set up a “Podcast Playground,” where podcasters could produce content and also created the PepsiCo Zeitgeist which tracked SXSW conversations in a useful and relevant way.
  • Get everyone involved early on. Part of the challenge Josh and his teamed faced was: How do we bring these new social media experiences back to the company? To do it, Josh and his team identified 20 individuals from throughout the organization and equipped them with tools and a basic understanding of social media before sending them to SXSW to cover the event. These representatives then came back to the company and shared their experiences with the organization.