Coffee shops and cafes face mounting competition on the high street. Both well-known chains and independent venues are constantly vying for the attention and custom of potential punters. Whilst the giants of the coffee world like Costa and Starbucks enjoy fierce loyalty amongst patrons, smaller chains, and independent coffee shops have a largely untapped platform with which to influence the public’s buying decisions.

Whether you’re exploring social media management for the first time or you’re looking for some new ideas, let’s look at the key elements of social media for coffee shops and cafes.

 

Social media for coffee shops and cafes

There are three main elements of social media management for coffee shops and cafes, regardless of their size, location, audience and status as either a chain or independent. They are:

  • Content
  • Interaction
  • Community management

We’re going to take a look at each component part, why they’re important and how you can get them right for your coffee shop or cafe.

Social media for coffee shops

 

Social media content

All social media platforms are led by content. Content is simply the collective word we give to digital material posted on your website and social media channels including blogs, tweets, pictures and Facebook posts. For every type of organisation, the content must be tailored to be relevant to your business and your target audience. The underlying requisite is that this content adds value to your audience.

For a cafe or coffee shop, this needs to relate to your immediate locality, interesting coffee facts, something unusual you have for sale or industry news or articles. The last thing your audience wants is to be continually advertised to – it’s not very social at all. Read more about social media content here.

But here’s what your competitors aren’t doing:

 

Social media interaction

Whilst the majority of social media platforms are primary for sharing content, Twitter provides companies of all shapes and sizes the opportunity to identify and engage with potential customers and influence their decisions. Using Twitter, coffee shops and cafes can search for conversation drivers to find people who want a coffee or a cake within a certain radius of their venue. Setting up the right searches on Twitter or Hootsuite can create a stream of potential visitors for your cafe.

 

And here’s the really important bit:

 

Community and Trip Advisor management for coffee shops and cafes

For virtually all hospitality businesses, community and TripAdvisor management has become seriously important. TripAdvisor and other third party review and directory sites have become highly influential amongst the general public. Whilst the major chains pride themselves on providing a consistent customer experience at every venue, it is up to the smaller brands to demonstrate they provide something better. Maintaining the highest possible ranking on TripAdvisor, particularly for independent venues can mean the difference in tens of thousands of pounds in revenue each year; being in the top 10 and even top 30 provides great exposure on TripAdvisor and creates a marked increase in revenue.

 

Social media for coffee shop chains

Chains of coffee shops benefit from widespread brand awareness and loyalty but have the challenge of competing with smaller or independent brands on quality and even an ethics basis. Social media management is also a challenge for large chains as they face tricky decisions on the control of social media accounts at a branch and central level.

There are, of course, no hard and fast rules for this, but here’s the thing:

The interactive powers of Twitter should be harnessed at a local level. What would be better than you’re local global brand tweeting you telling you to have a great day or to say how much they like the outfit you just shared? Content platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others could all be managed centrally, appealing to loyal fans of the brand.

 

Social media for independent coffee shops

Independent coffee shops can have a little more fun with their social media management. The potential is there to develop a fanatical following who are will to share your content and help grow your social sphere of influence. There’s more scope to be a little more cheeky and forward in your approaches through interactive social media – you don’t have the weight of a global brand and its guidelines on you. The British consumer is more aware of the importance of local, independent businesses than eve before so it is imperative that independents are cashing in on this advantage on social media.

 

Each venue will differ in its specific strategy in regards to both content and interaction and this will greatly depend on the typical customer and target audience in question. Paid-for Facebook advertising should be a consideration to help improve exposure but posts or ads must be well constructed and targeted to yield positive ROI on the spend. The power of Twitter is still not utilised by the vast majority companies and the crucial elements of this are covered in #Winning at Social Media and should be considered a must-buy if you’re considering spending your time and resources on social media.