How Starbucks Uses Social Media to Engage With Its Audience
Starbucks uses a multi-channel approach when engaging with their customers over social media.
Photo Credit: Pexels.
Starbucks Rewards has created a loyal following both with an experience-based program and rewards program.
The experience side allows users to manage their card, reload funds, use location service and is enhanced by mobile ordering—a customer can order and pay for any menu item, chose the location, and walk in and pick up their drink without having to wait in line, thus creating loyalty by this enhancement to the customer experience.
Members are given “stars” (points) for their purchases that can be redeemed for any menu item when they reach 125 stars. Participants can also reach “Gold Level” status which comes with great perks, including an actual gold card. The elite member status symbol is a strong motivator.
The app also features seasonal drinks and menu items that greet the customer when they first load the app. Oftentimes a member will receive more stars for trying these recommended offerings.
As a member, I regularly receive triggered emails that mirror my purchasing history with a slight twist. For example, I frequently buy Caramel Macchiatos and Cool Lime Refeshers. The company offers me extra stars if I purchase both, plus another menu item of their choosing within a certain time period. It is a win-win: the customer receives a bonus and tries something new, and the company is upselling by offering extra stars.
Besides the usual company-based information that is found on most brand pages (contests, jobs, store locator), Starbucks creates content that focuses on the personal rather than the business so that their page is friendly and engaging.
Starbucks has a strong presence on LinkedIn that features more than job postings and selling coffee—they highlight their company culture and post interesting articles.
They also emphasize building community and with that, increase loyalty. The company aligns with other non-profits that serve local communities like Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
The brand’s posts and customer’s posts alike feature seasonal content—warm and cosy in the winter, and bright, cheery, and refreshing in the summer—with friendly captions. Starbucks fans also show brand loyalty through their posts.
The platform is also used by the company advertise promotions which increases engagement and brand loyalty. And they love to regram, especially celebrities drinking Starbucks.
Starbucks’ Twitter communications strategy includes original and retweeted content: information-sharing, emotion-evoking, and action-inducing. Their replies consist of information, apology/support, and comments which including showing gratitude.
Year-after-year, they creates successful media campaigns—think Pumpkin Spice Latte and their famous red cups. Of late, one of their more successful campaigns had customers submit their red cup designs through social media. Thirteen different designs were selected and used that year. With personalization influencing customers like never before, this campaign was on point.
Where They Miss the Mark
Starbucks is definitely a successful B2C model however, where they succeed in engagement, they fall down in transparency with their rewards program—the parameters for the program change frequently and communication is not great. Here’s an example of poor communication: did you know that you now have to claim your birthday drink on your actual birthday? You used to have four days to do so (down from the original seven days).