Adding Social networking to Starbucks Coffee

17 09 2010

Social networking sites have become the norm of today’s business world. Whether it’s a physical or virtual business, if you limit its online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn, Digg and more, it’s missing out significant opportunities. This is simply because the internet provides powerful networking connections that enable companies to target potential customers, business partners and employees. On top of that, companies are realizing that the richest source of insight, ideas, data, and information are gained from leveraging the collective intelligence of public and corporate users.

Innocentive (2010) – “The horse and buggy industry didn’t die because automobiles came along. It died because it didn’t figure out how to adapt to the new marketplace.”

That’s what modern companies are doing. They are adapting to the marketplace and finding the right strategies to succeed. Companies who endeavor in such manner will surely be ahead of others.

Corporate using Social networks

Starbucks is a perfect example of a company utilizing social networking sites as opposed to the horse and buggy industry. They are literally taking advantage of some of the most trendy social sites out there and are doing exceptionally well with their social media strategy. So much so, that they have attained over 1,046,000 followers on Twitter and over 13,767,000 fans on Facebook. There’s definitely something good about that!

My Starbucks Idea
It’s a consumer portal that allows Starbucks customers to share their ideas. Whether it’s revolutionary or simple they are encouraging customers to throw in their ideas and to join the discussion of other people’s ideas. It’s a brilliant strategy that allows Starbucks to analyze what the customer really wants. They do this by allowing the public to contribute their ideas, and from that people can vote or suggest additional ideas. Starbucks is more than just about coffee and that’s exactly what they are trying to point out by getting the community involve. For instance, one of their customers posted “I don’t like the loud music at Starbucks” and someone else replied “Music at Starbucks should always be soft background music and no loud obnoxious music. After all Starbucks is not a tavern”. The more customers agree with this, the more likely Starbucks will apply the idea.

Starbucks on Twitter
Their Twitter account allows them to communicate directly and indirectly to customer issues and complaints. It’s a convenient way for them to respond to their customers as well since it does not require anything more than a 140 characters. Having such limitation will also allow their posts/replies to be more concise rather than long paragraphs of text. This enables both Starbucks and customers to communicate more efficiently. In addition, Starbucks can reach out to users who prefer using Twitter as opposed to other social sites, hence increasing their market opportunities.

Starbucks on Facebook
Similar to Twitter, Facebook is another way for them to converse with their 13.7 million fans while providing them with other useful contents such as: Videos, blog posts, and photos. They have also been using Facebook to invite fans to their part events. They had 244,000 people who attended to one of their events, but I’m not entirely sure if all of them actually attended it. Furthermore, it’s another option for Starbucks to reach out to customers who are more actively involved on Facebook.

Starbucks on YouTube
There are over 7,600 subscribers on Starbucks YouTube Channel and as many as 5.4 million has viewed their videos in total. The implementation of YouTube has allowed Starbucks to share various commercial and informational videos explaining the origins of the different coffee blends and some of their charity work videos. This has allowed them to enhance their company’s name by demonstrating their activities around the world and how it’s not just about coffee. There’s a story behind every Starbucks coffee you purchase. Watch the commercial below:

Starbucks on Flickr
One of the many social networking sites that Starbucks has ignored was Flickr. There are quite a few fan pages such as Starbucks, and Starbucks Coffee, but it’s not an official Flickr account made by Starbucks themselves. Instead, they have decided to sponsor existing groups to encourage their photo updates.

Overall, Starbucks is definitely a company who has gain benefits from applying web 2.0 strategies and this is a significant consideration for many other companies who wants to succeed. As long as they continue to endeavor in the right marketing tools, Starbucks will definitely be far away from the horse and buggy industry.

Personal experience with Social Networking Sites
Well as far as I’m concerned Facebook is the only networking site that I’m actively on and after being a member for approximately 5 years I’ve experienced a couple of things that I would like to share. The biggest concern with any networking sites are its privacy issues. Not many are aware of the sort of information that their putting online and it becomes difficult when you’re information are revealed to anonymous users without you being aware of it. I’ve seen a couple of acquaintances who would post “inappropriate” pictures that would offend others. Pictures that would cause arguments in a relationship or even divorce and pictures that would get someone fired from their job. For instance, one of my acquaintances who worked for a bank decided to pose with several $500 bills and it was posted on Facebook. After a couple a couple of days the manager of the bank called and was fired immediately. What’s even worse is that they probably saved the picture as a record of proof for future awareness. When it heard of this incident, it was like a slap to reality. I realized even if it’s just a random photo that shows off a couple of $500 bills it would have definitely affected the Bank’s image. And based on this experience, it showed me how fragile some contents can be. I was more conscious with the type of contents I would post on Facebook and if I think it would offend someone, I would set the privacy settings to private for that particular content.

  • Gray, M. 2009. Starbuck Recipe For Social Media Success
  • Innocentive. 2010. The Future of Innovation
  • Noff, A. 2010. The Starbucks Formula for Social Media Success
  • Swartz, J. 2008. Social Networking Sites Help Companies Boost Productivity
  • Swearingen, J. 2008. Social Networking for Business
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