Social networking is not about farming followers, it’s a way of cultivating relationships.
Social Media and Starbucks marketing?
When choosing to learn from others social media strategies, it is always helpful to choose one of the top dogs in social media.
Meet Starbucks. They have been successfully executing their social media marketing plan since the first days of social media and social commerce. For over 5 years, and their strategies have played a significant role in their growth.
An introduction to Starbucks is unnecessary.
With more than 18,000 retail locations in 60 countries, the coffeehouse is the picture of success.
Starbucks rode the baby boomer trend in the 1990s, the swelling ranks of mid-age professionals that created the need for a “third place,” an “affordable luxury” where people could share and enjoy a cup of coffee with friends and colleagues, away from work and home.
In our opinion, the company has inserted itself into the American urban landscape more quickly and craftily than any retail company in history. It has forever changed the way companies market themselves to customers. Here is how we feel they have been so successful:
The company has stayed with the upper-scale of the coffee market, competing on comfort rather than convenience, which are the case with its closest competitors, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts.
The company continues to focus on its original product bundle that includes good coffee, quality service, and a nice environment to hang around. They keep their attention on paying attention to the details of great execution and service.
One of the earliest adopters of the use of social media for marketing and social commerce, Starbucks has certainly taken a leadership position. Their social media strategy is built around their company web site and 6 additional social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, Youtube, and My Starbucks Ideas. We will review Starbuck’s social media strategy in detail below.
Adaptation and Innovation
Starbuck’s business crowdsourcing, via its My Starbucks Idea website, has been a hugh success. Why you may ask? Because they have combined the concepts of change, experimentation, social media, customer engagement, and market research and made the results key components of both their brand as well as their marketing strategy. Have you given My Starbucks Idea a try? What did you think?
Starbucks has clearly embraced the digital realm. With a strong presence on multiple social networks, the brand has set a high bar when it comes to being social and engaging its customers. They are at or near the top of nearly every major brand ranking in social media.
Starbucks’ ability to wear so many hats—corporate success, “local” favorite, and Internet sensation—warrants strategic examination.
Why is Starbucks such a social media marketing success story? There are seven key reasons their social media strategy is a successful difference maker for their marketing campaign:
Here is our take on why:
Instead of solely focusing efforts on accumulating new customers, it cultivates its current relationships. This ensures more fans/followers in the long run, as well as the continued existence of brand advocates. This holds true across the board: In-store experiences are highly valued—along with online engagement—emphasizing the importance of customer service.
Going to its customers
When Starbucks takes a photo, it shares it on Instagram, posts it to Facebook, tweets it on Twitter, and pins it on Pinterest. It clearly goes to where all its customers like to hang out. Cross-promotion is more valuable as the world becomes more digitally focused.
Each network provides an opportunity to reach a new audience, and integrating your strategy on each is crucial to increasing visibility and promoting the brand.
They believe in letting customer engagement and conversation occur as naturally as possible. They listen carefully, observe, and apply new ideas from what they learn.
Happy customers are eager to share good experiences and offers. For example, the Starbucks frequent promotions like “buy 1 get 1″ garner an extraordinary amount of engagement on social media through comments, “likes,” and shares.
My Starbucks Ideas
The My Starbucks Idea website, where Starbucks does its business crowdsourcing, has been actively engaging customers for over 4 years now. It encourages customers to submit ideas for better products, improving the customer experience, and defining new community involvement, among other categories. Clearly, Starbucks has seen and believes what Peter Drucker has to say about business adaptability.
Customers can submit, view, and discuss submitted ideas along with employees from various Starbucks departments – “Idea Partners”. The company regularly polls its customers for their favorite products and has a leaderboard to track which customers are the most active in submitting ideas, comments, and poll participation.
The site is at once a crowdsourcing tool, a market research method that brings customer priorities to light, an on-line community, and an effective internet marketing tool.
Starbucks provides its unique experience through programs such as My Starbucks Rewards, personalized “signature” drinks, and localized store experiences. Their social sites, in particular Pinterest and Instagram, encourage users to share their Starbucks moments—whether it be the return of a favorite holiday drink or just an artsy coffee cup shot.
Taking a stand
Giving consumers a charitable reason to buy that steaming cup is beneficial for all. The takeaway from Starbucks is to know your customer and tie that in with what matters in the world—so, pay attention to how your brand can fit into trending topics.
Starbucks reflects a mission
Its mission is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” They believe lifting customers up will lead to more customer loyalty. It’s “The Way I See It” quote campaign is a perfect example.
Lots of ideas here that can be easily replicated … which ones do you feel could benefit your business?
How could you improve the Starbucks Coffee Social Media campaign concept for your business?
Starbucks is one of many businesses we can learn from. Please post your comments below, offering questions or your own great examples of social marketing strategies.
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