Brands

Starbucks Brews a Latte Love on Facebook

This post is part of the Killer Facebook Pages Series, which highlights the top brand pages on Facebook and provides tips on how to emulate their successes.

On Facebook, it has over 30 million fans, and the eighth largest following among brands on the site. Starbucks is a giant not only among retailers, but in the realm of social media as well.

Starbucks, the first brand to reach more than 10 million fans, is one of the most popular pages on Facebook due to its engaging social media strategy.

Show Behind the Scenes Information

On Facebook, Starbucks frequently posts photos of its efforts in various parts of the world and of its team members working.

In April, the fan page posted photos of 15 company volunteers who painted dorm rooms in Boston for underprivileged children. Later in the month, it showed photos of Starbucks partners and customers beautifying parks in Denver, working on an elementary school in Los Angeles, and redoing a Puerto Rican children’s shelter.

In an interview with Adweek, Starbucks’ Digital Strategy Director Alexandra Wheeler said that on social media, the company has to “connect in ways that are relevant to those environments as well as to our consumers. One of the most powerful ways is by sharing content.”

She mentioned how posting content about CEO Howard Schultz’s recent trip to Rwanda is a great example of how a brand like Starbucks can differentiate itself on social media.

“We care deeply about our coffee origins, we are having an impact in that community and we are sourcing the best quality coffee,” Wheeler told Adweek. “[Social media platforms like] Facebook and Twitter allow us to tell and show that story, make it transparent and add texture that we didn’t have through other media and to share it with a much broader audience.”

Customers don’t always know what’s going on within the Starbucks corporation, but they are interested. Being able to tell a good story always helps when it comes to fan engagement.

Let Customers in on Deals

When Starbucks runs a special on drinks, gives away products, or offers discounts, it informs its fans. In April, it posted about petites, a dessert at the store, that customers could buy for $1 a piece.

When the company ran the Starbucks Frappuccino Happy Hour campaign earlier this May, it alerted fans of the time of day they could pick some up, as well as the number to text so they’d never miss one.

Also this month, it ran a campaign where fans could receive four free songs from “The Voice” finalists, and last month, consumers would receive $5 free when they spent $5 on Google Offers.

Multiple times per month, Starbucks features these free or discounted items, showing fans its appreciation for their dedication.

Entice Customers with Product Photos

Starbucks clearly knows that visuals matter. Its current cover photo is of their signature frappuccinos. Many of its status updates include pictures of its merchandise to get the fans’ mouths watering and craving its coffee.

Facebook is a highly visual website, where posts including photos receive 50% more likes than those without. When everything on the Internet is mostly text-based, photos are a welcome change. And when these photos highlight the brands’ most popular products, customers will be enticed to like and share the photos, as well as go out and buy them.

Encourage Fans to Share

From the looks of it, on the Facebook fan page, Starbucks values what its customers have to say. It asks them questions, runs polls, and prompts them to share stories and photos, which results in thousands of comments, shares, and likes.

“What’s the most iconic thing in your city?,” it posted on May 8. “Share it with us on Instagram today and tag it with #frappuccinohappyhour.” Over 17,000 people liked it, and 1,119 commented.

In March, it put up a photo of two coffees and wrote, “The eternal question, hot or iced?,” which received nearly 41,000 likes, 1,877 shares, and almost 18,000 comments. By having a conversation with fans instead of talking at them, Starbucks has seen success.

The company’s social media strategy “isn’t a marketing initiative. It isn’t a PR initiative,” Wheeler said in the Adweek interview. “It’s cultivating and creating great consumer value and great consumer relationships. What you’ll see from Starbucks is us continuing to build and scale that up over time in a new way and new chances to converse with the brand.”

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