Chris Reed's Blog: Starbucks brews engagement and not just coffee sales

If all you do is offer the hard sell on social media platforms then you will be blanked and there will be no engagement and ultimately no sell.

Feb 01, 2013 01:55:00 PM | Article | Chris J Reed



20101024-n37djq6hg8hstpd3dbp69fd21yHow do you engage with consumers and build a business through social media? That is the sixty four million dollar question. The answer is actually quite simple, don’t sell, engage.

Starbucks, much derided but actually way ahead of the game when it comes to building a relationship with customers on social media. Their objective is not sales it’s to build a relationhip. By doing this the sales will naturally grow. Simple.  Except 99% of brands seemed to have missed this point.


If all you do is offer the hard sell on social media platforms then you will be blanked and there will be no engagement and ultimately no starbucks1sell.

A recent Ad Age survey showed this in stark numbers. It reported that only 1% of fans on facebook actually engaged with the brands pages in any given month. You may have a million followers on your facebook site but if only 1% engage with you that million is meaningless.

It’s not about one off offers and discounts it’s about long term meaningful engagement. One night stand versus long term relationship. Starbucks communicates with fans on facebook on and ongoing basis with a stream of offers, added value, benefits and goodwill gestures onlt some of which are revenue generating.

ideaSpot a queue at Starbucks and more than likely it is caused by a facebook promotion.

However facebook also combines this with stories about the brand, the history of the stores and the coffee along with photographs and rich content. They also incentivise people to share with friends to also benefit and start a relationship with them too.

As a result of this Starbucks adds 300,000 followers on facebook every week with it already surpassing 33 million with another 3 million on Twitter.

According to a Commscore/facebook survey Starbucks reaches more non-fans than imagesfans organically through posts on its page. This is quite an amazing statistic and surely the target for every aspiring brand. This means that Starbucks are being seen by double the amount of people who are fanas every time a post is shared.

The same survey also reported that exposure to a Starbucks post resulted in 38% of people increasing store purchases. Ultimately engagement delivers to the bottome line too.





The author has 25 years of senior marketing experience on both the client and agency side in the UK and now in Asia-Pacific based in Singapore. He is the CMO at mobile and digital solutions provider CellCity covering Asia Pacific.

The article first appeared on Campaign Asia