Coffee fuels the world. However, the simple act of selling coffee does not help coffee shops attract customers anymore. Beautiful imagery lauding branded hot drink cups and smart captions are key drivers in today’s marketing landscape where social media, such as Instagram, has become a decisive player in boosting Return on Investment for coffee shops and food outlets. Having over 100 million subscribers and over 76 million posts just on coffee, Instagram cannot be overlooked at all. Giants like Starbucks or Nespresso have mastered how to take advantage of Instagram to raise brand awareness and hook clients and coffee lovers. Small coffee shops equally have all to gain from applying similar techniques on Instagram.
Instagram marketing starts with that iconic branded coffee cup
A successful Instagram marketing strategy is, first of all, founded on an attractive branded coffee cup that is going to become the icon of the coffee shop. The identity of the business will be encapsulated into the emblematic cup, offering instant recognition. As the visual cornerstone of a coffee shop, attractively and wittily branded coffee cups define how the coffee itself will be perceived and interpreted in the public eye.
Instagram is a perfect platform to showcase that tempting coffee cup as Instagram users do not shy away from posting their much-loved cup of coffee either as the main subject of the photo or as an important item of a greater composition. Subsequently, Instagram images are a powerful tool to entice people to buy a certain brand of coffee. Nonetheless, posting pictures without hash tags on Instagram is useless. The social platform revolves around a multitude of hash tags that should be used to get a better organic reach for the Instagram coffee posts.
Using an iconic hash tag to pair with a branded coffee cup
An iconic branded cup should also be paired with a similarly iconic branded hash tag so that a coffee shop can demarcate itself on the social media platform. #coffee, #coffeelover, #coffeeshop, #coffeeaddict, #ILoveCoffee, #Instacoffee, #CoffeeIsLife, and #barista are some of the trendy hash tags used on Instagram for coffee posts. The social platform allows a maximum of 30 hash tags per post and it is recommended to add local hash tags and geo-targeted hash tags such as #London to be discovered on Instagram’s search engine. Apart from using the appropriate hash tags including the brand hash tag of the coffee shop, marketers should teach customers how to use the relevant hash tags well. In this sense, customers will be converted into a marketing army on their own.
Using Instagram images and appropriate hash tags, coffee shops can generate customer engagement. When people have the opportunity to express their feelings online, several barriers are taken down, representing greater opportunities for businesses. For instance, conversations on the social platform may replace having surveys in a coffee shop. Same can apply when a coffee shop decides to present a new product or to replace an existing product. Asking questions to customers can be of great help to know what can work best for the shop. Keeping this kind of relationship with customers also make customers feel valued as they know that their opinions are heard and do count.
Promoting user-generated content on Instagram
People do not really trust advertising content. Instead, studies have demonstrated that clients consider user-generated content as trustworthy. Using stories or photos posted by clients is a powerful technique to hook customers. To raise awareness of a coffee shop, photo contests bearing brand-related topics and prizes may be organized to market the products.
A wonderful example is Starbucks sharing a photo of a client sitting in a pumpkin patch under marvellous lighting holding a drink that people simply know is the pumpkin spice latte. This imagery, which can easily be likened to an artful composition, evokes a stronger reaction of users than a simple picture of a coffee cup would have aroused. The strategy is to promote the lifestyle of coffee lovers and clients instead of the product itself.
Another example may be to use the best pictures of frothy coffee take by in-store baristas to challenge the latter in a creative way. To cement the relationship with customers, it is also important to keep the latter updated with images in a subtle manner while avoiding dumping blatant sales and promotional items as an auctioneer. Images are more catchy than words, so using dynamic graphics for updates and information is definitely a winning strategy. Images can be used to teach followers how to create certain cups of coffee. This strategy has been successfully used by celebrity chefs to reveal their signature or popular dishes.
Partnering with a coffee influencer
Social media influencer marketing is a hit. As people shun away from traditional adverts, they are more likely to be influenced to buy a product when it is recommended by someone they know, like, trust or can resonate with. Studies have underlined that people respect the influencers they follow, thus being more receptive to products that the latter recommend.
Caffeinated influencers are known to generate strong engagement on Instagram as they match better with a larger part of consumer audiences. A coffee influencer need not necessarily be a celebrity. She can be that girl who loves spending time at the coffee shop, loves talking about coffee and has a massive number of followers on Instagram. The dedicated coffee influencer thus uses her fame on the social platform to promote the coffee brand and products.
Nespresso, for instance, has understood that to reach further audiences and subsequently expand business, it is high time to avoid focusing strictly on the legendary face of George Clooney and welcome younger influencers who have the finesse to engage with Millennials in a succinct way. Undeniably, the latter form a major part of targeted consumers; Adweek has highlighted that conscious marketers spend 500% more on Millennials than any other demographic combined. These social media coffee influencers can not only supplement but, in certain cases, supersede traditional partnerships with mainstream celebrities.