Engaging Your Customers with Social Media (Part 2)
In the second article in this article series about social media , I want to talk about how you can build a strong coffee shop brand on your social media pages as well.
Or to be more precise to make your brand also visible online in the social networks you’re using for your coffee shop.
The last article was all about finding the right social networks for your coffee shop business. The thing is, being present alone on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter doesn’t make you visible for your online coffee community and the potential customers of your coffee shop.
Create your brand first
It doesn’t really help trying to build a strong coffee brand online, if you don’t know what your coffee brand stands for in general. I can’t stretch that enough! Find the WHY behind what you’re doing with your coffee shop, find what makes your customers come again and again, find, what you are known for in the area/neighborhood you’re in. Write some facts down, you can even create a vision for your coffee brand for everyone to know where you want to going with your coffee brand.
Know your strengths & weaknesses
This one is referring to the strengths and weaknesses of your coffee shop brand. In what areas are you good at? What needs improvement? What can being present on Facebook or Instagram can do for your brand? Does it add value for your customers? Is it a chance to get more people coming to your coffee shop? Also, find out how the people in the social networks are talking about your coffee shop.
Strengthen your brand
Show your online coffee community what your coffee shop and your brand is all about. Let them take part in events or other coffee shop related activities by sharing high quality photos and videos. Let them have a sneak behind your coffee brand by showing your ‘real face’ – your staff, your baristas.
Building a strong brand on social media is all about building trust with your online coffee community. So, do not only get to know the people in your coffee shop – what you should be doing anyways every day -, but also the people that like your pages/that follow your coffee shop online. Build a relationship with them. Thank them for sharing your posts, also like, share or retweet their content, if possible, for example.
Once you’ve chosen certain social networks for your coffee shop, you should also consider how you want to be visible and how you can manage being visible. Nowadays it’s a combination of consistent posting (at least once a day, preferably twice) and using your branding (logo, colors, fonts) to get recognized and, even more important, to not get sucked in the overcrowded newsfeed of your online coffee community.
But, being visible is not the key of getting your online coffee community to engage with your coffee shop brand. Take the time to actually engage with them: Reply to comments and answer questions – don’t wait longer than 24 hours to do that, though! Make it easy to get in touch with you! Adjust the settings on your Facebook page accordingly, for example, in order to do that.
Same here. Engaging means also interacting with your online coffee community. Post content that asks your fans/followers to do something, to take action. Ask questions. Get their feedback on certain topics. Involve them in what’s going on behind the scenes. Show them who’s behind your coffee shop brand.
Use Social Media to push your business
What I mean here, is, how can you manage to make the followers/fans of your coffee shop coming to your very coffee shop. And, no – and maybe I’m not making friends by saying this – it is not only done by posting Latte Art photos and the food offer of the day… Phew, I had to say that. But, I’m seeing that way too often.
Consider this, you are among how many other coffee shops in your neighborhood or city…? – Ok.
Now, let’s assume they all have Social Media pages, Facebook, Twitter… Still with me?
Now think about this: All of them are posting photos about their great Latte Art attempts and their food offer…
And, now what? What does your (potential) customer do? He or she is scrolling through the newsfeed seeing interchangeable images and eventually is deciding to go the coffee shop they’re always heading…
Hmm, tricky one, right? Ok, what can you do about this?
Here are some options:
Encourage your actual customers (preferably your regulars) to give feedback on social media, i.e. reviews. Let them tell about your coffee shop, what they like about it. Maybe not only on your Facebook page, but also on Tripadvisor. That’s also good for Google, when someone is looking for your coffee shop online.
Word of mouth
This actually refers to your branding and the way you’re doing your coffee shop business. When you’re offering great quality products and service, and being consistent with the way you’re treating your customers and your staff, people will tell other people, also online! Sounds easy, but if you’re doing a good job offline, your name will also spread online.
Create engaging content
Ok, now you have all those crazy coffee fans on your social media pages, what are you doing with them? How can you manage to let them coming to your coffee shop?
Create content, that is asking your potential customers to do something, create a challenge or contest maybe. For example a photo contest on Instagram, where the best photo wins a free coffee drink or gets discount on some of your products. Or create a little word-of-mouth campaign by telling your online coffee community, to bring a friend next time they’re in the coffee shop and get 2 coffee drinks for only one price as a ‘Thank-you-gift’.
Before creating a strong coffee shop brand online, make sure, you’re visible offline first.Build trust with your online coffee community and engage with them. Strengthen your brand in general and let your social media networks be an ‘add-on’ to your brand, not something you have to be present in, especially if you have troubles to constantly taking care of the pages you set up.
But, as always, please consider that all these tips I’m sharing here aren’t made for quick success! Engaging with your customers takes time, online as well as offline. Building a strong brand and increasing your visibility online is not done over night; it does take effort, consistency and engagement of yourself.
The next and final article in this series will be about how to do Facebook and Instagram, because I know, that a lot of you are using these social networks. It’s going to be all about creating great content and how to get more followers/fans and increase your reach.
Simel.Coffee stands for the merging of specialty coffee and Marketing. The person behind Simel.Coffee is Melanie Boehme, Coffee Marketing Consultant and branding expert for specialty coffee shop businesses.
Melanie Boehme supports busy coffee shop owners and managers with her inspiring Marketing strategies (offline & online) on their way to a successful & thriving coffee business that customers just love going to.