Saturday, April 27, 2013

Starbucks awesome on social media

I drink coffee only rarely, but I enjoy coffee shops.  I love their atmosphere for talking with a friend, reading quietly, or just tapping away on the laptop.  I love their business concept as well.  Years ago, a friend compared the costs of a gallon of gasoline, Coca Cola, and Starbucks coffee.

Back then, we Americans complained about the high price of $2 a gallon at the pumps.  For the same amount, it was about $20 for that famous soft drink.  Then again many gladly dished out the equivalent of $40 per gallon of that fine-brewed stuff.

(image credit)
Starbucks presses social media onward

While it's generally from a distance, I've admired what Starbucks does and what it offers.  So, already a major brand experience, they had the wherewithal to enter Facebook and Twitter in 2008, well before many companies and people knew there was such a thing as social media.  By 2009, their promotions began to draw fans by the thousands, making it now one of the biggest brands on Facebook (34 million fans) and Twitter (3.6 million followers).
Posting on social-media sites used to be a one-person job at Starbucks. 
Now five people are on the job, veterans of social media from Microsoft, the Seattle Art Museum and the Phoenix Suns. 
Their charge is to “be authentic” and “be the best barista online.” 
That means writing pithy posts like the recently popular, “Sometimes a good cappuccino and a good book are all you need.” 
It also means being on top of popular culture. 
Sometimes, there may be a reference that resonates with an older crowd, like a photograph on Dr. Seuss’ birthday of his cat’s striped hat drawn on a Starbucks coffee cup. 
Often it’s something for younger people, responding, for example, to singer and actress Demi Lovato’s lament that Starbucks baristas do not know her name with a photograph of a specially decorated cup just for her.
Starbucks is a great study in social media, from engaging its fans and customers, to managing its brand and evolving it further.