An Intro to Social Media Marketing for Your Coffee Shop

April 4, 2024 (Published: April 2, 2024)
A poster board outlining social media strategies for a coffee shop.

A poster board outlining social media strategies for a coffee shop.Social media marketing offers an effective and affordable way for coffee shops to connect with potential customers and build a fan base. Since almost everyone owns a computer or smartphone, social media can help your coffee shop get noticed, communicate with customers and build a strong brand identity.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how you can leverage coffee shop social media strategies to create a vibrant online presence. We’ll begin with an overview of the most important platforms for coffee shops and end with practical, time-saving tips for creating content and managing your social media presence.

Read on to learn how to leverage online platforms like Google Business Profile, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to help build a thriving coffee business.

What Social Media Sites Should You Use?

photo of hand holding iphone with social media icons on its screenWhen deciding on a social media platform, prioritize those where your target audience spends most of their time. This helps to maximize visibility and reach.

A 2023 survey found that 62 percent of restaurant customers use Google to search for a restaurant – more than any other online platform!

That’s why we recommend optimizing your store’s Google Business Profile even before setting up a presence on social media like Facebook (52.3 percent), YouTube (46.2 percent), and Instagram (39.2 percent). Review-only sites like Yahoo only reach 11 percent or less of potential customers.

To effectively reach a larger audience, new coffee shops should consider starting with two essential platforms – Google Business Profile and Facebook. Once you have created a solid presence and schedule for generating and posting content on these initial platforms, you can consider expanding your presence on other platforms, depending on your available time and resources. This blog post focuses on the most popular platforms for coffee shops.

Google Business Profile

Magnifying glass over Google Business ProfileA complete and accurate Google Business Profile ensures people can easily discover your business via Google Search and Google Maps.

It’s like the digital equivalent of putting a sign in your window. It helps people find you when searching for a coffee shop nearby. Ensure your profile has your location, hours, and some tempting photos of your coffee and space. It’s straightforward and takes little time to set up or update.

While it’s often considered a local search tool, your profile is also the quickest way to reach local customers who crave your delicious espresso drinks.

A coffee shop that regularly updates its profile with enticing images of its menu offerings, cozy ambiance and friendly staff is likelier to pique the interest of users searching for a nearby coffee spot. Using Google Posts to share updates, promotions, and events directly on the profile can increase engagement and drive foot traffic to the coffee shop.

Responding quickly to reviews, answering questions, and sharing updates shows you care about customer service and satisfaction. Coffee shops that acknowledge positive reviews with gratitude, address concerns with empathy, and respond promptly to inquiries can build trust with potential customers and create a good online reputation.

Facebook

Photo of phone with Facebook iconsIt’s common for coffee shops to have a Facebook page and a Google Business Profile. Some of our new 7 Steps coffee shops create Facebook pages during the build-out phase and share the construction process to create excitement about their upcoming business.

Owned by Meta, Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform. Over three billion people around the globe use Facebook to keep in touch with family, friends, groups, and businesses. Over two billion use it daily, and over one billion connect with businesses weekly.

Founded in 2004, this established platform is most popular among millennials and older audiences and least popular among teenagers. This makes it ideal for reaching today’s coffee drinkers, but less appropriate for reaching those who might become your customers in a few years.

Want to stand out on Facebook? Attractive image and video posts get the most attention and are more likely to engage audiences through likes, comments and shares. Focus on creating visual and video posts that showcase your menu items, drink-making process, baristas, customers and local partners. You can share monthly and daily specials, host live events, and encourage customers to check in or post recommendations. Facebook’s event feature is perfect for promoting coffee tastings or barista workshops.

Keep the text accompanying your images simple by using easy-to-understand language with short sentences. Put the most important information first and avoid using technical terms or complex jargon.

Encouraging user-generated content can be a great way to foster a sense of belonging and loyalty within your online community. Sharing photos of customers enjoying their favorite brew and positive reviews can turn your customers into brand advocates who actively promote your coffee shop to their networks. This can help you to build a strong and loyal customer base.

YouTube

Woman viewing Youtube on a tablet in a coffee shop.Expanding your coffee shop’s social media strategy to include YouTube can add a rich, engaging layer to your online presence.

With over 2.7 billion monthly users, YouTube offers a platform for storytelling, sharing experiences, and connecting with coffee lovers. The video-sharing site is also the second most popular search engine.

When launching a small business on YouTube, it’s important to understand the platform. What works on Facebook and Instagram may not work on YouTube.

Creating video content is crucial to succeeding on YouTube or Instagram. While quality videos are important, consistently uploading content and building relationships with viewers through comments and positive interactions are equally crucial. Videos showcasing the creators’ lives and personalities are more successful than those that corporations mass-produce.

Instagram

A woman uses a smartphone to take photos for Instagram in a coffee shop.
High-quality images and videos are important for Instagram.

Instagram, just like Facebook, is owned by Meta. It has more than 2 billion active users worldwide, with adult users in the U.S. spending an average of 33 minutes on the platform daily. About 65 percent of Instagram users look for amusing and entertaining content.

In the dynamic world of coffee, Instagram can be a powerful tool for coffee shops to showcase their products and services to potential customers and coffee enthusiasts.

Your Instagram feed should serve as an inviting digital storefront. Through a curated selection of high-quality images and videos, showcase your coffee, the ambiance of your shop, and the people that make it special. Incorporating hashtags related to coffee shop marketing can increase the visibility of your posts, making it easier for coffee lovers to discover your shop.

Use a mix of fleeting stories, single-image and carousel image posts, short video reels, and emerging content forms to attract and build a thriving community around your brand. Hashtags, location tags and keywords can expand your reach, making it easier for coffee lovers to find you.

Getting Started in Social Media Marketing

If you are starting with social media marketing for your independent coffee shop, keeping your strategy simple and focused is important. You can begin with one or two platforms such as Google Business Profile and Facebook, which can help establish a strong online presence without stretching your resources too thin.

The goal isn’t to be everywhere at once but to effectively engage where you are. Establishing a strong, engaging presence on one or two platforms allows you to connect with your community and build a loyal customer base. Once you’ve mastered these, you can consider branching out to other platforms if you have the time and resources. Keeping it simple and genuine will resonate with your audience and help brew success for your coffee shop.

Step 1: Crafting Your Message

As a coffee shop owner, you juggle multiple tasks with limited time and resources. Creativity under pressure is hard! But social media doesn’t require much time or money to work for you. Planning goes a long way in creating a consistent and manageable social media schedule.

Start by brainstorming the kind of content you’d like to create. If you’re unsure, follow a few other coffee shops you like for inspiration.

Consider organizing your content into different category buckets.  Here are some  we’ve used with our 7 Steps coffee shop customers:

  • A general product promotion without an associated discount – i.e., a monthly promo drink, a new product offering, delicious imagery, the products that make you BETTER!
  • A segment discount promotion with an associated discount – i.e., $2 Tuesdays, teacher appreciation day, healthcare worker day, etc. Your discount promo targets a particular audience segment.
  • Human interest—General messages about things that certain groups of people find engaging. Examples include honoring veterans, remembrances, holidays, celebrating small businesses, giving back, National Coffee Day, etc.
  • General offerings promotions – “Did you know we …?” – talk about value-adds your business offers, such as reservable meeting space, lots of comfy seating and outlets, outdoor seating fireplace, convenient drive-thru, mobile app, etc.
  • Events – Post about events you’re hosting at the coffeehouse to drive traffic and attendance.
  • Employee features – Your employees are a dynamic extension of your brand voice … celebrate them! Post about their birthdays, accomplishments, talents, and quirks. Your community will love learning about their favorite barista, which also drives engagement with their friends.
  • Announcements: Holiday hours, emergency shutdown, community awareness, etc.

If you’re already posting on social media, evaluate what messages have worked in the past to generate engagement – new followers, likes, comments, shares. Then try to replicate these.

Once you have your categories, brainstorm message topics under each one. Before you know it, you’ll have a long list of potential topics!

Step 2: Adding Visuals with Your Smartphone

Photographing latte art with a smartphone.It’s a good idea to purchase a smartphone to keep behind the counter in your coffee shop. Your smartphone camera can help you capture authentic and personal moments in your coffee shop. Thanks to the high-quality cameras available on smartphones today, you can easily showcase your coffee, your shop’s atmosphere and the joy on your customers’ faces.

Using your smartphone camera, you can capture spontaneous moments like steam rising from a fresh cup of coffee or an intricate latte art design. You can use portrait mode to highlight new products or special ingredients. Experimenting with natural lighting can help make your content even more inviting.

In addition to photos, you can also create short, captivating videos or live sessions to give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your coffee shop. Sharing stories about your coffee’s journey or offering brewing tips can help your audience feel more connected to your brand.

Using your smartphone camera is a great way to create engaging social media content that resonates with your audience. You can help build a community of coffee lovers who appreciate your work by sharing authentic and relatable moments.

Step 3: Creating a Schedule Template

Many of our 7 Steps coffee shop owners use Excel. There are automated tools, like Hootsuite and Sprout Social, but they are another expense. You can also schedule posts for Facebook and Instagram using Meta Business Suite.

For each post topic on our spreadsheet template, we have the following sortable fields:

  • Promo title
  • Topic category
  • Start date (the date you post)
  • End date (or event date)

If you publish a single post, the start and end dates will be the same. But if you’re posting about an event, the start date will likely be before the event, with the end date being the date of the event.

The frequency and timing of your posts depend on when you get the most interaction from your followers. We recommend posting at least two to three times a week. A simple scheduling template will help ensure you have enough posts scheduled for the week.

Tip: If you have an organized and filled schedule, it’s easy to delegate the task of managing your social media posts. To get started, just email hsyx@crimsoncup.com, and we’ll be happy to send you this template!

Starting your social media marketing journey as a coffee shop owner can be both exciting and overwhelming. However, you don’t have to go through it alone. As part of our 7 Steps to Success consulting program, Crimson Cup provides social media support and other services to help ensure the success of your coffee shop.

Our team is here to guide you, from creating your first post to building a unique online presence. Let’s work together to leverage the power of social media to connect with your community and beyond!

 

 

 

 

 

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