Starbucks – The star of content marketing

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“Nine out of ten Facebook users is either a fan of Starbucks or knows someone who is.” (Econsultancy)

That’s quite an achievement for any brand, but how has Starbucks built it’s impressive following and what can we learn from their social and content marketing strategy?

First and foremost, Starbucks have invested both finances and resources into delivering engaging content across their social platforms. But this alone doesn’t guarantee success in a highly crowded and competitive social marketplace. The brand has a well thought-out content strategy, which enables them to deliver timely, relevant content that encourages engagement and interaction with customers and rewards them for their loyalty.

So what can we learn from Starbucks?

I’ve put together 4 key points that I believe are key to Starbucks’ success and massive following on social media.

1. Timely & relevant content

I’ve grouped timely and relevant content together as I believe they go hand-in-hand. Starbucks are masters at producing responsive content quickly and effectively to harness current trends, news or events. Although not content, Starbucks used a blizzard in America to serve people who searched for weather related hashtags targeted Facebook and twitter ads. The ads featured a person holding a hot cup of coffee. Targeted, relevant, timely advertising.

2. Local content

Content is often targeted at a local level to make the brand look less corporate and more community focused. For their latest brand-led marketing campaign, Starbucks asked photographers in 8 countries to capture images of customers meeting their friends, family colleagues and occasionally strangers – documenting their stories in that moment. Starbucks hopes this will encourage customers to share their moments in the coffee shop through the hashtag #HowWeMet, enabling customers to interact with the brand in a much more personal, memorable way and share it with their networks.

3. Humanhuman content

One of the hardest tricks for brands on social media is getting the tone right to appeal to the target audience. The brand abandon the corporate, formal tone of voice and posts are kept short and personal, complemented by imagery that celebrates family, friends and life’s little moments

4. Rewarding content

Starbucks are a perfect example of a brand that rewards customers for their interaction and loyalty. They also miraculously manage to achieve this without it coming across as a pure sales ploy. For example back in 2011 Starbucks promoted a new coffee through a Facebook app “Make someone smile”. The app enabled customers to learn about the product, claim a free cup of coffee and send a friend an e-card.

A special mention for Instagram

And it’s not just Facebook that is building brand affinity for Starbucks all over the world.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a special mention about Instagram. With over 3 million followers on Instagram, Starbucks is making ground (no pun intended) trying to embed itself into peoples lifestyles, with content devoted to personal moments. And it’s working – just one photo can attract well over 100,000 likes in the US and a sentimental image with a promotion attached can generate 149k likes.

So while you may not have Starbuck’s budget, strategy or social media team, hopefully the points above will help inspire you and improve the effectiveness of your content.


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