To all you regular readers, you know that I am completely in love with Starbucks! My radar always points to Starbucks in a headline when scanning the news. For a while, the news hasn’t been great. Losing profit margins and closing stores have been hot topics surrounding Starbucks for the past few years. But this week, Ad Age had a great article about how social media is making a difference to Starbucks’ bottom line. Few companies can say without a doubt that social media has a solid ROI, however Starbucks has that honor. Starbucks embraced Facebook, Twitter and iPhone Apps. They created an idea website dedicated to their customers. It’s a forum for customers to tell Starbucks what’s important to them, give suggestions and ask questions. Of the 800 suggestions that have come through the site since July of ’08, 50 have been implemented in stores nationwide. My favorite of these is the coffee stirrer that is also a stopper for the to go cups. Brilliant!
Starbucks says the key to their social media success was playing it cool. They didn’t jump on Facebook and say “go get a latte today”. They got on and talked about their culture, showed photos and created the famous Starbucks Experience online. Now that I’m iPhoned, I downloaded the MyStarbucks app; it’s pretty fun. It lets you save your favorite stores, drinks, food and coffee. You can also connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Starbucks was the original third place and they are truly embracing that through social media–connecting with their customers in multiple ways.