How Starbucks Crushes It on Social Media

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Travis Huff CEO & Founder, Real-time Outsource

Posted on August 23rd 2014

How Starbucks Crushes It on Social Media

Starbucks is known for lots of things: great coffee, friendly baristas, and a near-complete takeover of practically every street corner in America. Did you know it’s also known for it’s killer social media strategy? It’s true! Take a look at some of these stats:

●     37.32 million Facebook likes

●     6.56 million Twitter followers

●     2.98 million Instagram fans

●     2.86 million Google+ followers

●     160K Pinterest followers

●     32K YouTube subscribers

Those numbers are staggering but well-earned. There’s no doubt Starbucks is crushing social media, but how do they do it? Let’s take a look.

Facebook

Interestingly, the Starbucks social media management team doesn’t post Facebook updates all that often. When they do, however, they’re usually eye-catching and ultra-clever. The posts strike a good balance between fun contests, helpful tips for the java-loving crowd, and subtle sales messages to its customers.

Twitter

Starbucks has a fascinating and unique approach to Twitter updates -- they don’t do them all the time rather strategically! Fans who connect to the company on Twitter to catch the latest news and updates are in for a surprise. The team does post unique content but also uses the Twitter as a service to reach out to customers talking about their in-store or product experiences.

All Tweets are directed at specific Twitter users who’ve “spoken” to Starbucks in their own timeline, sometimes with a complaint or negative feedback. The Starbucks team checks in several times a day and encourages dissatisfied customers to get in touch with the company for follow-up using a Twitter-specific email address. It’s an unorthodox but smart approach to deal with customer complaints before they have a chance to get out of hand.

Pinterest and Instagram

A big part of the coffee culture is about beautifully decorated espressos and fancy cups to drink your favorite cuppa. Starbucks really shines on visually-oriented social sites like Pinterest and Instagram where they can post appealing beverage-related eye candy. The company maintains several Pinboards featuring tea rituals, coffee gadgets, and soothing spaces to get cozy in while you sip. Instagram, on the other hand, is an assortment of cool images related to the coffee community and culture.

What Starbucks knows about social media

Getting customers is good. Keeping customers is great. With over 21,000 stores in more than 65 countries, its a safe bet that anyone with even a passing interest in coffee already knows Starbucks exists. The company has reached critical mass in terms of advertising so its challenge at this point is keeping customers loyal so they’re not swayed by competitors with similar offerings.

The Starbucks social media team is great at offering the customer service of local coffee shop on a grand scale over its social media channels. Even though they’re a huge company, they still give customers individual attention, which no doubt goes a long way toward keeping them coming back for more.

Coffee is made for socializing. One of the reasons behind Starbucks’ social media success is that drinking coffee is a social activity. People love to meet over coffee, bring each other coffee, swap stories about coffee, and build coffee acquisition into their morning routines.

By extension, sharing the coffee-drinking experience is a natural fit for platforms like Twitter and Facebook. In a classic case of “build it and they will come,” all Starbucks has to do is create places for coffee drinkers to congregate online and they will happily oblige.

Consistent branding is key. No matter what Starbucks social platform you visit, the Starbucks touch is evident. The company’s social channels all have the same look, feel, and tone as their stores. Although the marketing team takes a slightly approach from Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, the content is consistently unified around the company’s mission, message, and goals.

Whether you’re a fan of the Starbucks product line or not, their social media success is undeniable. As with every other aspect of the company, their attention to detail and customer-centric messaging is what makes their social outreach some of the best in the business.

Main image: Starbucks.

thuff007

Travis Huff

CEO & Founder, Real-time Outsource

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CEO of Real-Time Outsource a full-service optimization & management firm specializing in all things social media. I believe that social networking has transformed advertising, marketing, PR, customer relations, and HR for businesses. I'm driven to understand, optimize, and perfect the art of social networking for all our ad agency clients, and corporate businesses we work with. Given the opportunity, I believe me & my team at Real-time Outsource can increase any brand's engagement, likability, and fan base. Your success is our success, We'd love to get working hard for you! Check us out @ RealtimeOutsource.com  

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