Starbucks Social Do’s and Don’ts

Good evening! So I went to grab my morning coffee today, and decided to make a treat of

Alright, try to finish this blog before you go to Starbucks now!

it… STARBUCKS! It’s my absolute favorite. Naturally this little trip had me thinking about social media, I know it happens to you all the time too. What is their social media campaign like? I know I see them all the time, clearly it effects me positively but what about others?

So I decided to take a deeper look into the world of caramel macchiatos, pumpkin spice latte, and chai tea (just to name a few favorites).  When they first began they were 100% committed to building relationships to current Starbucks enthusiasts (http://blog.creatinemarketing.com/blog/bid/164625/Starbucks-Excels-in-Social-Media-Marketing). You love Starbucks? So do I! Let’s be friends and talk about our love for the coffee genius publically. Sounds like a good plan right? RIGHT!

No Thank You!

What didn’t Starbucks do? They did NOT tell you how wonderful the caramel macchiato is over and over again. You are an enthusiast! You know how great it is, and you know about every other product they have to offer too! They did not spam your news feed with “BUY ME ME ME!” statuses, or try to overwhelm you with everything they had to offer. They simply just wanted to be your friend. They were like the new kid at a brand new high school, they just wanted to fit in and hang out with you. This may have been the best move they could have ever made.

Their strategy focused on informing these current enthusiasts about new products, information on Starbucks, and engaging with them to improve their experience with the Starbucks brand. When they need to increase traffic, awareness, or instant sales they ran a promotion allowing the customer to get a free pastry, or discounted beverage. This type of social media marketing clearly follows the “Listen first, then engage” best practice, which answers “What’s in it for me?” (https://blackboard.snhu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_id=_2_1&url=/webapps/blackboard/execute/launcher?type=Course&id=_89057_1&url=).

However, like an social media strategy there is always room for improvement. For starters, stop ignoring your friends! Starbucks does an excellent job when it comes to posting a topic, and continually checking for comments on it to engage with. However, if you were to comment directly on their page, Starbucks ignores it (http://www.facebook.com/Starbucks?ref=ts&fref=ts) . You could be saying they are coffee gods, and the coffee tastes like magical fairy dust and they would not answer. Or imagesyou could say that the coffee had hair in it, the barista spit in your drink, and a pastry was thrown at you in Starbucks store 123 and again you would be ignored. Like I mentioned in earlier posts this is a HUGE NO NO! Starbucks could greatly benefit by responding either on the post directly, or rerouting the comment to a private setting.  Any response is better than no response, okay…maybe not ANY response… but any well thought-out, genuine, company-in-mind response is better than nothing!

But is this realistic? Say between all the social media channels Starbucks gets 1,000 social-media-responsecomments a day they would need to respond to. That’s about 125 comments an hour. THAT IS A LOT! However, it’s doable. It would require a team of employees to answer back. However, there is a feature on many of the social media managers, such as tweet deck, in which comments and tweets can be forwarded to the right person/department. Therefore, if someone is asking a sales question you could transfer their comment to the sales person for answering. You would have to treat the social media comments and tweets the same way you would treat the customer on the phone. However, to do so you would need every one answering the social media comments/tweets to be fully trained on how to replay and what to reply with. A social media code of conduct would be essential in a big company like this. It’s realistic, however depending on the current internal social media set-up it could be costly to train numerous employees. But it’s a realistic goal to work towards.

Morale of the story, if the best social media plans need work! So you are doing great!!

Thanks!

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