Facebook's COO just endorsed Coke

Out of nowhere, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg just gave Coca-Cola a huge boost. Why is the social networking giant endorsing the beverage giant? Something tells me this is a marketing move.

I was just procrastinating from writing about Facebook (by browsing Facebook, of course) when the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm decided to put me back to work. My News Feed served up this status update from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg:

Coca-Cola will hit 40 million Facebook "likes" when just 60,000 more people like this page -- Coca-Cola. If you love Coke even half as much as my kids do, like this page!

As you can see in the screenshot above, the name Coca-Cola is a link to the company's Facebook Page. Sandberg is trying to convince her hundreds of thousands Subscribers to Like Coca-Cola on Facebook. Why?

Let's take a quick trip back to June 2011 when Facebook formed a client council so that it could get advice from the industry in regards to its advertising platform. One of the 12 members on the client council was none other than Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola's head of integrated marketing and communications.

It seems to me that Sandberg is giving Coca-Cola a boost on purpose. I seriously doubt Sandberg just suddenly remember she likes Coke and decided to publicly share this on her status with everyone, instead of just with her friends. If she really did just remember she liked Coke, she could have just Liked Coca-Cola's Facebook Page instead of telling everyone else to Like it. One has to wonder how much Coca-Cola paid for this little endorsement.

Maybe Facebook owes Coca-Cola a favor. Maybe Facebook is in the process of demonstrating how a celebrity can boost a brand on the social network, to Coca-Cola as well as anyone else who is watching. Maybe Facebook is running a test in advance of its first Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC) this Wednesday. In any case, I don't think this was an accident.

At the time of writing, Coca-Cola's Facebook Page has 39.9 million Likes. Sandberg has 487,000 Subscribers.

Update at 3:30 PM PST: Well, that makes sense. Sandberg today attended the Coca-Cola business unit President's meeting.

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