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How Starbucks Connects with Customers Through a Strong Social Media Listening Strategy

Written by: Jerom

A strong social media listening strategy is all about talking to your customers and finding out what they really want and need, is the best way today to interact and connect with clients. While traditional marketing is a one way street, social media is all about conversations and listening to what your customers have to say. To be able to connect and be part of their online communities, you need to have a blog, use Twitter, be active on Facebook and also use the other social networking tools. You need to create a buzz that generates conversation topics, and most importantly, make sure to be there when those conversations are happening. Today, I´ll share with you some thoughts about what is a social media listening strategy, and also talk about two examples from Starbucks

Did you know that recent studies have shown that when it comes to buying a product people have very little trust in what they read about it in companies websites? Other studies have shown that people are now much more likely to trust strangers online because of the ability to interact and have direct conversations with them.

The traditional customer has changed, now he or she is more informed, and always tries to find comments and recommendations at the moment of purchase. Now with social media the interaction is authentic, and companies can't control the outcome like they are used to with traditional marketing. They can't control everything that is said online, and that is why organizations must show respect for their customers´ communities or they risk potentially fatal backlash. Always be sure not to take your customers for granted and provide them with something of value, but most importantly, pay close attention to their comments.


Why it´s important to have a social media listening strategy?

From a marketing perspective, things are changing and they are changing fast. Only a few years ago, marketing was just a message broadcast to recipients who barely talked to one another. Today, the way people share opinions and interact with their favorite brands (and one another) has radically changed.

Think about it: Since when did we start trusting strangers and respecting their opinions?

The impact of social media in marketing and sales is huge, brands are now forced to be more honest and conversational with their customers. For achieving that, marketing and communications plans must include a social media listening strategy, and companies need to make social media a top priority in order to identify what consumers want, and what new products to offer them.

Consumers, empowered with the ability to rapidly communicate ideas through social media, can now quickly create influential trends. Through social analytics, brands are better equipped to understand their consumers´motives and create stronger relationships.

Have you thought that new trends (created by the well informed consumer) can affect products and their shelf life? With a strong social media listening strategy brands can have a two-way communication, build strong relationships and discover new insights; it´s a non expensive and great opportunity that traditional marketing does not offer. By identifying the right moment, motive and platform to engage with customers, brands can motivate new leads and expand or strengthen their social community.

In a recent report from Brandwatch about the food and beverage sector, they share a few tips that can help create strong social media listening strategy, here they are:

Recommendations for Social Listening:

  1. Set in place a monitoring system that discovers niche markets before they become large trends.
  2. Uncover the specific language that consumers are using around a product / service, and understand how words affect social perception.
  3. Understand how products are perceived in comparison to your competition.
  4. Focus on how certain products can capture specific consumer interests.
  5. Go beyond the basics to uncover underlying motives behind a trend, interest or purchase decision.
  6. Compare conversations across social media channels.
  7. Track the fluctuating competitive landscape over time.
  8. Identify the right subject and timing to engage consumers with.
  9. Create unique advertising campaigns by being socially aware, measuring success through analytics.

Starbucks and their social media listening strategy

Like Brandwatch recommends, it´s important to identify the right subject and timing to engage with consumers and create unique social media campaigns around them. That is what Starbucks does, and you can see it in the next two cases:


#FrappuccinoHappyHour seasonal campaign:

Starbuck´s annual Frappuccino Happy Hour is a great example of a well-timed campaign. By offering half-priced frappuccinos in May each year, Starbucks successfully brands frappuccinos as a summer beverage by generating significant buzz around the Twitter campaign: #FrappuccinoHappyHour at the beginning of the summer. By positioning frappuccinos as a summer beverage every May, Starbucks does an excellent job of branding its product and capturing a considerable portion of the seasonal market.



My Starbucks Idea - Blog

Many large brands use blogs to provide updated content, but only a few exploit the opportunity to let customers express what they really think about the brand and its products. Starbucks is one of the few, and does it through its blog My Starbucks Idea, a site where customers are brought together to share their opinions about the company´s coffee, packaging, service, new products and much more; a good tool for obtaining fresh and relevant information that helps the big coffee company improve their business.

Starbucks lends credibility to their blog by making voting-results publicly visible and taking actions accordingly. At the end of the day, the company gets a better understanding of what it's doing well and which improvements are in-demand while customers are empowered to influence the direction of the large, global corporation. It's a win-win situation.

My Starbucks Idea - Blog

A social media listening strategy can help all businesses no matter their size. Start listening to your customers whether they are five or five million, and you will be amazed of what you will discover.



CIO White Papers


My Starbucks Idea



Nathaly Hermida



Ivan Kasapov
28 November, 2014 at 11:50 am

Great article, I agree with everything you’ve written. In my daily workflow, I use Mediatoolkit.com and I highly recommend it, because it enables me to be careful around the challenges you mentioned. 🙂

Comments are closed.

    Nathaly Hermida
    2 December, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks Ivan! I´m glad you like it. I will check Medialtoolkit, I see it´s an award winning media monitoring tool and very looks interesting. Thanks for sharing the info! 😀

    Comments are closed.
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