The first Starbucks store was opened in 1971 in Seattle. The company started with offering some sorts of fresh-roasted whole bean coffees and now it turned into a big company with over 22,500 (!) stores worldwide with a reported record net revenue of $21.1 billion for the fiscal year 2015. Besides selling fresh-roasted beans they expanded their range of product by adding a lot of fancy coffee creations. But Starbucks doesn’t provide its customers just with delicious but pricey coffee, they also try to build real emotional relationships to these coffee lovers. In general, the company’s mission is to „share great coffee with our friends and help make the world a little better”. Using many social media platforms is one of the tools they use to achieve these goals. And they do it really successful!
Let’s go in more detail:
Generally social media can be used by companies to develop new products, to get access to new customers and it also allows them to create new revenue streams. You will ask yourself now HOW this is possible? You have to observe the actions, the posts, feedbacks and the interaction of customers with your products! By trying to unterstand customers needs, problems and feelings and by fostering a closer relationship to them your company will benefit from all the new insights.
This is what Starbucks is doing within its marketing strategy! The company is active in many social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube. This huge online presence allows Starbucks to get easily invited into people’s lives and to interact with them.
Starbucks’ posts are often written in an emotional tone and even the new products on the homepage are posted with some short emotional words. The following picture shows for example the new autumn coffee creations with the call “Triple the happiness”. Even the website itself is not just a source for getting information about the nearest Starbucks store, but also a place to interact with the company – for example by reading and commenting its blog.
One of the best examples of Starbucks usage of social media to execute a kind of advertising in real time was initiated by a huge snow storm in the ortheastern United States in February of 2013. The snow started piling up and as it got colder and colder outside, Starbucks began posting pictures of people holding their warm mugs of coffee on its social media pages. This campaign has generated even so much attention, that when people searched for information about the snow storm, Starbucks’ photos of people drinking coffee would also show up in the results as well!
“MyStarbucksIdea.com” is another really unique technique of Starbucks to engage its customers actively. This site gives them the chance to write about their own ideas, for example about a new coffee creation or about other thoughts, opinions, experiences and so on. All posts on this site are then summarized, ranked and presented in different categories. The best ideas are picked up from Starbucks and the users will be informed about all ideas that seriously being thought about and which have already been implemented. Until now even more than 190,000 ideas were submitted on this website!
By analysing customers posts and by understandy the needs and problems, Starbucks found out, that customers are annoyed of the fact that they have to wait in the queue for too long. So the company recently came up with its new “Mobile Order & Pay on the Starbucks® app”. By using this app, customers now have the chance to jump the line every time at participating stores.
These are just a few examples of Starbucks’ successful usage of social media platforms. We hope that this might be a source of inspiration for the creation of your own social media strategy!