NEW YORK: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, has seen consumer interest in its sustainability efforts increase significantly since first using paid social to promote its content covering this area.

Tim Goudie, the company's social-media director/sustainability, discussed this topic at the ClickZ Live conference.

"During 2013, we were posting organically, believing that, 'Of course, if we post great content, people are going to fall out of the trees and come running to see our stunning content.' Well, reality check: they didn't," he said. (For more, including how social performs against TV, read Warc's exclusive report: (How Coca-Cola combined social media and sustainability.)

An initial attempt to prove the efficacy of paid social, he revealed, centred upon the organisation's annual sustainability report – and success there opened the door to regularly leveraging that approach from 2014 onwards.

"We take our stories and we push them out through paid social media to what I like to call the 'meat and potatoes' – Twitter, Facebook and YouTube," said Goudie.

"We've been experimenting with LinkedIn for more of a business-to-business key stakeholder discussion."

To secure the maximum impact for its budget, Coca-Cola has ensured its sustainability messaging on social reaches a precise audience.

"Every time we do that, we are not just arbitrarily pushing out: we are targeting," said Goudie.

"So think of something like women's empowerment: we target women, and we target women who are interested in women's education and women's empowerment.

"The reason why is because we want that message to get to the consumer who is actually genuinely interested in it. Why? Because they will help spread and share your story."

Alongside making sure it engages the most relevant audience, the firm has routinely tested different creative executions.

"For every piece of content that we push out, we provide a link back to our Coca-Cola Journey website," added Goudie.

"The idea is very simple. If you're targeting the right people with the right message, they will be interested in that topic, and therefore you have to provide them an opportunity to go back to a destination where they can learn more, they can read more and they can watch a longer video."

Data sourced from Warc