The first order of business was to conduct an audit. Mr. Bahl's
team spent two weeks poring over Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to
identify pages using Reebok trademarks. The brand identified
company-created and fan-created accounts. The results of that first
audit: 232 Facebook pages, along with roughly 100 YouTube channels
and 30 Twitter accounts.
A case was made for why individual markets would gain fans and
views if they eliminated local accounts in favor of global Reebok
accounts. Some markets were hesitant. To get them onboard, Mr. Bahl
allowed test posts on the global Facebook page and illustrated how
related-video recommendations can juice views on YouTube.
Markets such as Hong Kong quickly realized their customers were
already gravitating toward global accounts. Some local accounts,
like India's Facebook page, with nearly 1.8 million fans, remain in
place. Reebok whittled its overall social presence by roughly half
in that first audit as it rolled up the majority of company-created
accounts to focus on three Facebook pages, two Twitter accounts and
one YouTube channel. It left fan-created content untouched. The
brand also established a broader communications strategy, defining
who could use trademarks to create accounts and for what
A second audit is now taking place, with the goal of further
streamlining Reebok's social-media presence by the end of the year
-- just in time for 2013 product launches.
"It's not like once you roll it up, people stop creating pages.
We've put out policies but, as large as we are, we're not always
able to fully get the message out," Mr. Bahl said, adding that a
social-media handbook will be distributed by year's end. "The
second consolidation is almost as big as the first. ... There were
a lot of stragglers in markets that didn't see the vision or didn't
have a digital person to execute [it]."
Despite the lag, Reebok says its efforts are paying off. During
the first audit, for example, it found that 48% of Facebook pages
were likely created internally, while the rest were created by
fans. In the second audit, the brand has found that only 25% of
pages were likely created internally, while 75% were created by
"Many agencies have come and said they can do this for us," Mr.
Bahl said. "But our social confidence has risen by doing this