Social Media Success: Relationships

by mallory on January 11, 2013

how to use facebook for business

Every big brand these days touts a strong social media presence, whether it’s Kate Spade’s hashtagged Pinterest craze or Coach’s daily product instagrams or twitter updates about the latest #sales.  But who should you be following to really learn how companies can benefit from social media?  Starbucks.

With over 330 million likes on Facebook and 3 million + followers on Twitter, Starbucks is as present on social media as they are on your average American street corner.  But their power doesn’t necessarily lie in the numbers.  While many brands scurry around promoting and advertising to raise the amount of followers and likes, Starbucks has chosen to focus on enriching the experience of fans they already have.  And, in doing so, they actually gain more fans because current fans share or retweet those experiences.  You can’t exactly experience coffee through your computerscreen, so Starbucks gets creative.  They post alluring and beautiful photos of their signature drinks with heartfelt descriptions (in both English and Spanish!), they tell stories about where the coffee came from and how it’s made, and they post happy coffee illustrations with quotes.  A quote from New Year’s Eve: “The struggle of today, is not altogether for today – it is for a vast future also.” – President Abraham Lincoln #cometogether. 

Besides providing creating customer interest through intriguing or encouraging reading material, Starbucks uses social media to enrich customer satisfaction.  They share special deals or discounts and they also respond to customer stories and complaints.  None of it sounds automated, and there seems to be genuine care and concern put into each response.  And fans generally respond really well, sometimes even re-sharing how a bad situation was rectified beautifully.

The key takeaway from Starbucks?  Brands need to use the screens that separate them from their fans to actually bridge that same gap by building old fashioned, genuine relationships.

Above image from Starbucks Facebook page

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