Published by on January 3, 2017

Social media has completely transformed how businesses can interact with their audience. From Twitter campaigns and contests to Q & A sessions, there are a number of unique and engaging ways companies can make connections with their customers. This revolutionary platform is hugely useful for businesses of all sizes, from a tiny start-up to a global giant, such as Starbucks.

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms for businesses to touch base with their customers. With a streamlined, real-time messaging system and the ability to tweet snappy images, videos and text globally, Twitter has proved that adopting social media into a business strategy can be both simple and successful. However, getting it right online is all about honing your message to best please your viewership. Few other big brands have managed this quite as well as Starbucks. This post hopes to delve into what Starbucks has done right on Twitter, and how even small start up businesses can learn from them.

Listen to What your Audience has to Say

Starbucks have managed to garner great success in their social media efforts, thanks largely to being receptive to their audience. A fantastic example of this comes not from their main Twitter handle, but their secondary handle @MyStarbucksIdea. The coffee giant have made this secondary account with the sole intent to listen to their customers ideas. With some 30,000 followers on @MyStarbucksIdea, the Seattle-based business has a lot of inspired ideas to consider. From new coffee flavours to better in-store recycling, @MyStarbucksIdea taps into the mindset of the Starbucks customer and listens to them to improve their business.

This strategy can easily be employed by a small business to learn where they can improve from a customer’s perspective. This is beneficial in two ways – firstly, the improvements made can ultimately make for a more streamlined company. Moreover, though, it demonstrates to your audience that you care about their customer experience and that you give weight to their ideas. It is crucial for any company, big or small, to be receptive to your customers thoughts because it nurtures a mentality of self-improvement.

Couple Professionalism with a Personal Touch

There are two facets to Starbucks Twitter persona that make it so incredibly successful – their personal touch and their professionalism. There is nothing more off-putting for a Twitter follower than being inundated with kitschy product advertisements and promotions. The slew of blatant advertising leaves a bad taste in most readers mouths, so Starbucks chose to mix things up.

Instead of offering up the latest deals, the coffee company creates a warm, affable atmosphere that feels more like your good friend’s social feed than an official company Twitter handle. From asking followers to post photos of their favourite coffees, to asking about what gifts people are getting from Christmas – Starbucks makes Twitter feel casual, warm and organic.

Small businesses need to remember that their Twitter followers are more than a user name. In fact, they should embrace this fact to make things personal, caring and casual with your followers. Consider them friends first, customers second and they will quickly trust your brand. Offer condolences when things go wrong for a follower, celebrate a success and above all, treat them like friends.

Make Yourself Available and Helpful

A surefire way of keeping your audience on your side is to make it all about them. To that end, Starbucks have made customer engagement their number one priority. A quick scroll through their feed will highlight the focus of their tweets – they are largely to and for their followers. This tactic has become much more popular as social media has grown in popularity, and it is incredibly successful.

When a follower tweets that they have had a poor experience in their local Starbucks, the coffee company’s twitter handle can quickly respond. Usually, this response is sympathetic and resolves the issue in one way or another. Ultimately, this process feeds into the idea that Starbucks actively listens and is there for their customers.

Involving yourself in a small business means that you will be kept busy pretty constantly. However, if you want to make a positive impact through social media then you need to make your brand available and receptive to customer wants, needs and demands. From here, it is a case of good customer service to ensure that your company is able to provide sufficient help to your audience.

Show off your Creative Side

Trawling through a company’s Twitter feed can leave a bit of a bad taste in your mouth. There tends to be too much blatant marketing and not enough rapport with their followers. However, Starbucks has built a small community around their social media feed thanks to their incredibly strong brand personality. When they get the chance, the Seattle coffee company loves to show off their creativity and style in the form of Twitter campaigns and tweets.

Take, for example, their recent #redcupart campaign, which aims to nurture a little creativity with their coffee cups. Starbucks have managed to entice people to buy their blank red cups in store then make their own artistic designs. The end result is some very pretty cups of coffee and a whole heap of organic promotion online for Starbucks.

It is important that you stick out from the crowd as a small business on social media. The best way to do this is to nurture whatever aspects of your brand are uniquely important to you. If you have a creative side, show it off on Twitter. It does not matter if it is poetry, drawings or music – it is an outlet that shows there is a real person there. This, in turn, allows your audience to grow rapport with you, and by proxy your brand.

Learn from Starbucks and their Success

There are many things that a small business can learn from how Starbucks tackles Twitter. From their inspired campaigns to their down to earth, person-to-person helpfulness, the coffee company understands how to make the most out of social media. The main takeaway for the smaller companies looking to use Twitter as righteously as Starbucks is simple – be there for your customers. Create content for them that they will find useful, entertaining and insightful. If you put their concerns and tastes first, then a small business will quickly cement their brand as truly respectable on Twitter.