The Starbucks Tea, Coffee and Spice Company was established in 1971 in Seattle by three people, who had a great passion to a dark-roasted European type of coffee. The beginning was not promptly successful until an ambitious man called Harold Shiltz recognized the possibility of Starbucks to be the best-known coffee brewing company in the world (Spring, 2014). Currently, the company has spread to over 55 nations in the six continents. With more than 17,000 global retail outlets, approximately 130,000 workers, and revenues of 9.7 billion dollar in fiscal 2009, the company was ranked position 241 in the Fortune 500 in 2010, and came third in the food service industry category. As of now, the company is considered within the global major retail and service companies and has taken a powerful position among the earliest adopters of the utilization of social media for social commerce and marketing. Their social media concept is established around their company website and 6 additional social platforms such as My Starbucks Ideas, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and G+.
Research Objective: The objective of this research paper is to explore the manner in which Starbucks employs the social media concept.
The company’s business human-based computation through its website is referred to as My Starbucks Idea and so far has been successful. It is due to the fact that they have collected the ideas of social media, customer involvement, experimentation, as well as market research, and through them created a main mechanism of both their marketing strategy and their brand. The company has reached the digital dominion through the multiple social networks, hence, it set a vivid example of enclosing its consumers and being social. Admittably, such methods are placed at the top of almost every major brand in social media (Gallaugher, 2010).
The firm is broadly recognized for its social accountability activities and steady development in the new marketing fields concerning community involvement. It is also a founder of some of the new customer oriented media and technologies (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). The company’s social media activity includes activities upheld by the company itself, as My Starbucks Idea, or by third parties, such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The firm a firm connection to Facebook as there are several activities that the company attends to through Facebook.
Collaborative projects are the simplest category of social media as they enable every user to alter, add or remove text-based content. It is perceived that the information provided through the collaborative efforts of various users of social media is more reliable. One of such broadly spread united projects is Wikipedia, which is a free, web-based, online index written with the ordinary efforts of volunteers and is easily reached by everyone with an Internet access (Spring, 2014).
Another part of social media is blogs that allow users to publish and take part in a multithreaded online discussion. They are crucial for firms as they can elevate their status with constructive blogging, whereas the negative blogging can seriously damage a good image of the company. Content communities provide the chance to share media content between each other (Flagler, 2011), as media content, for instance, implies the exchange of videos as YouTube, PowerPoint presentations in the form of Slide Share and photos (Flicker). Users of a content community normally do not generate a profile page, whereas it consists of a personal record comprising their latest and general activity. For firms and large companies content communities coulb be threatening due to the opportunity of those to be used as platforms for exchanging patent materials.
The growth and the wide spread of Internet and the rapid growing customers’ digital media usage gave the companies engaged in various business segments a new method of communication with their consumers. One of the fastest emerging online tools for communicating with the customers is the social media. Social media stand for the online content that is publicly generated and accessible to end users. Social media is a crucial component in the lives of people as can be seen from the surprising results of the newest marketing techniques that were undertaken in that sphere: the global usage of social media blog sites and networks reaches 110 billion minutes, thus, it is among the key tools employed to deliver the information to the audience (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
Social networking sites, collaborative projects, blogs, virtual worlds as well as content communities are tools used by groups of individuals that make and share content inside and outside of their professional sphere. For marketers, this phenomenon is particularly interesting as social media is a crucial source of consumer information awareness, sharing, trust and support. As a result, social media enables businesses to successfully and reasonably engage in direct customer contact, reaching higher degrees of efficiency as compared to any other customary marketing communication tools (Spring, 2014). There are several examples as to the manner in which firms utilize social media for additional well-organized communication and achieve better outcomes. In 2010, Facebook reported 400 million users out of which 1.5 million are business, thus, marketers should uderstand the significance of such platforms as well as the information conveyed via them.
Such firms as Dell and Sony have realized that social media can lead them to a steady increase in sales. In February 2014 Sony declared that they had gained an additional 1.6 million dollar in sales through Twitter. Later in June it their existence on Twitter accounted for 3 million dollar increase in sales. Whereas, in 2009 a small shoe making firm by the name John Fluevog Boots & Shoes announced a 40% increase in sales, following its initiation of social media marketing the same year. As social media is to some degree a new trend, it has still not been thoroughly researched. The main concept about it states that it is a new device that has the strength of altering public at any possible time (Spring, 2014).
Scott Monty, who is the Ford’s worldwide digital and multimedia communications manager has been effectively using a social media marketing strategy from the sphere of social commerce and media (Spring, 2014). For over 5 years, his ideas were shaping the marketing techniques with a means to obtain younger audience for the redesigning of the Fiesta in 2009. The motor company targeted young drivers, who purchased their initial car design, to generate the new level of agitation through establishing a challenge in result of which the selected 100 drivers could drive a Fiesta for one year. A major decisive factor for the winners was the capacity to take an active part in social media. They were also provided with insurance, free gas, and video cameras to record honest analysis regarding the car performance and were required to tweet and post videos along the way (Gallaugher, 2010). The Campaign called Fiesta Movement acquired a lot of attemtion on social media, and the driver-created content became the foundation for the firm’s advertising campaign. Currently, it has 1.8 million fans on Facebook, while Twitter followers amount to 206,000, while, on the contrary, General Motors has 479,000 Facebook fans and 91,000 Twitter followers (Flagler, 2011).
The Starbucks desires to generate an idea that all its products are linked to a good quality, pleasant experience, and social responsibility. The company has shaped numerous simple and creative hashtags and taglines, images that were meant to represent its social responsibility, commercial campaigns and marketing in order to establish a good brand reputation (Gallaugher, 2010). Through cause-marketing and social responsibility campaigns the consumers are to realize that its social responsibility is not simply a press release or an agenda, but the approach employed on a daily basis. Moreover, the Starbacks accommodated various types of social media to connect to the reliable followers and to stay constantly linked to them. These are the social media platforms that the company utilizes: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Starbucks’ social network, blog, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.
The company’s Facebook page was established in 2008. In 2014, it had an estimate of 36 million fans (Facebook, 2010). By employing Facebook, it has created an online community for open forums where fans can freely share suggestions, stories, videos, ideas, comments and pictures. In their profiles, the company offers several tabs beneficial for fans or users, which include jobs, cards, internationals, locations, event, information, photos and videos. Through this platform, the company conveys its campaigns and actively engages with its fans. In addition, admirers can also establish their own practical images and share them via the platform.
The company uses Facebook as a means to convey and share content with the public. It links to over 15 million fans, making it the major corporate fan page (Flagler, 2011). The company provides the needed information through users’ news feed and promotions, company-posted images and videos, cause-marketing, and chats on specifically encouraged topics. It permits regular clients to load the firm payment cards, while offering a page to share news, videos and photos of future events. The company employs the page as an approach to attain new consumers and cause a social interaction between the existing ones. That function is referred to as magnet and comprises the following achievements: it depicts support requests, including praises as well as complaints, while focusing interest on the company’s content controlled page. Accordingly, such plan attracts more than 15 million followers, while enabling consumers to give remarks on the company’s messages in user news feeds (Facebook, 2010).
The company applies Facebook as a means to be aware of the social media behavior of the consumers, leading various interactions of the consumers to its own interest. The Starbucks is in a position to intercept those interactions if not freely than at least confidentially, while rating exposure, indicating user demographics and activity, and at the same time indicating campaign-linked actions such as page visits, likes, and clicks through. It observes tendencies involving users who chose to stop or ignored content, and catalyzes customer-to-customer conversation with news feed comments and likes that can be seen in a fan friend base, thereby creating more conversations (Moth, 2013).
At the moment, Starbucks has about 6.17 million followers. It engages its followers regularly by providing solutions to questions and re-tweeting what others are saying about the company. The followers of Twitter can also obtain an e-coupon for a new tea or coffee drink or establish their own essential drink and share it via Twitter (Flagler, 2011).
This platform is a location-established social networking website meant for mobile phones. It permits the company’s visitors to receive customer rewards, simultaneously sharing their comments and existing location with their social sphere (Moth, 2013). Each time the client checks in with Foursquare, the platform will track the number of times this consumer has been in a given Starbucks company location, if that number is high, the client becomes the Mayor of that given location and obtains a reward.
The company comprises 28,972 individuals subscribed to the Starbucks YouTube feed. The company’s videos on YouTube are not only about their products or brands, but also about the coffee in general. In essence, the commercial videos and informational videos on the website offer information and create links to their audiences (Flagler, 2011). On its informational videos, the company indicates the source of various coffee blends, creating of the ideal coffee, farmer narratives from Costa Rica. It commences its history via videos that allow individuals to learn additional information about the company and relate more to its brands. In an effort to make the company more popular, it permits people to insert its videos on any website at their demand.
The company also accomplished its own adaptation of a social network referred to as My Starbucks Idea that permits any of its admirers to vote, see, discuss, and share ideas through offers to better production of its products or services. Not only can viewers discuss and share, but they can also view what others propose and vote for them. Every opinion is evaluated and viewers can generate comments on any thought that has been offered (Carlsson, 2010). In detail, some smart ideas are often established, as the offer to buy 10 cups of coffee and obtain the 11th one for free, to receive discounts when reloading the company’s cards, acquiring VIP cards, and to get free drinks on birthdays. In an effort to help viewers understand the status of every concept, a piece of paper-mark or a check-mark is used: a checked-mark concept implies that the concept has been established, while a piece of paper-concept implies that the thought is being evaluated.
The company’s blog is a division of My Starbucks Idea. Several of the company’s workers post on the blog that is referred as Ideas in Action (Cha, 2009). Essentially, this blog talks and argues about what the company will do with the opinions provided by users on the My Starbucks Idea site.
The company acquired over 1 million followers on Google+. It writes content every few days, some of which are derived from its Facebook and Twitter pages (Moth, 2013).
The company has over 2 million followers on Instagram. By employing this platform, the company is in a position to relate to the consumer via the photo-sharing service.
The Starbucks maintains 2,119 Pins on Pinterest. The company uses this platform as a safety precaution of its website (Moth, 2013), where it relates well with the customers via the photo-sharing means.
By using all these social media channels, Starbucks keeps sharing an important content, responding to followers, accepting, listening and answering their opinions. Thus, the company is in a position to demonstrate that it is honestly concerned, ensuring that the followers and fans feel as a part of the company (Cha, 2009). All in all, Social Networking sites belong to the content communities in the evaluation of social media types People connect via these sites while exchanging personal messages, photos, information, as well as videos, since individuals can promote the access to this information to their friends. Twitter and Facebook are perceived to be the most well-known social networking platforms. Existing firms are resort to Facebook in their search to connect with the customer, whereas Twitter is a free social platform and a micro blogging page that enables individuals to read and exchange text based posts with up to 140 characters, which are referred to as tweets.
Moreover, there are also the virtual social worlds and the virtual game world platforms that represent social media. Virtual game worlds offer three-dimensional worlds, where users connect with each other taking the shape of avatars. They offer the highest degree of social existence as well as media integrity. On the contrary, virtual social worlds are different to some extent from the game worlds, as they enable users to manage their behavior and live a life related to their own. In both worlds, users appear in the structure of avatars and relate in a three-dimensional concealed world, with no rules about the potential relations, apart from the fundamental physical laws as gravity (Flagler, 2011).
Social media coffee adorers have the possibility to taste the coffee via Twitter, since the company established a new plan that enables customers to provide a Starbucks coffee as a gift (Cha, 2009). The company’s new tweet-a-coffee plan allows the United States customers to synchronize their Starbucks accounts to their Twitter accounts so that as soon as they tweet @tweetacoffee and the Twitter platform of a gift recipient, the recipient immediately obtains a 5 dollar digital eGift.
Recipients can as well redeem their tweetable gifts at Starbucks stores that take part in this activity in the United States by printing out the gift, offering it directly on a mobile phone or loading it to their company’s mobile application. This is a security version of an already existing digital plan, as the company established the eGift test on its web page in 2011, later followed by the offers on Facebook and via its iPhone mobile application. Broadening the digital giving idea to Twitter is an additional evidence that customers are more united with social media and social networking (Moth, 2013). The My Starbucks Idea web page, where the company has undertaken its business human computing has been insistently attracting clietns for more than 4 years. It persuades customers to present opinions for better products, improving the consumer experience, and simultaneously illustrates the new social engagements.
As a matter of fact, the company often holds the vote among its consumers on the subject on their preferred products and comprises a page that tracks those consumers that are active in presenting views, comments, including taking part in the vote. The platform is a human-based computing tool: a market research method that offers consumer priorities on a display: an online community, and a successful internet marketing technique. The company offers its unique experience via programs like My Starbucks rewards, and localizes store experiences by their customization. What is more, its social platforms, in oarticular the Instagram and the Pinterest, encourage users to share their personal Starbucks moments, whether it be the return of a holiday drink or a coffee cup shot (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
Twitter shows the future of commerce as perfect opportunity for consumer research, marketing and sales for Starbucks Company. Its latest declaration about the discovery of the Real Time Bidding (RTB) is an additional proof of its concentration on of the real-time customer exchanges at the stage of purchase. RTB is an automated, algorithm-pushed trading program that enables the rapid purchasing of advertisement ideas in mobile websites and applications (Carlsson, 2010). The desktop edition of this programmatic purchasing is so far well-known among the media buyers, although in regards to mobile phones and experiences the outcome is more significant. Real Time Bidding for mobile advertizing, including other joined, contextually pushed mobile empirical advertising possesses the ability to alter consumer behavior due to an acquisition plan that has been initiated via conventional online research (Moth, 2013).
All things considered, the following recommendations should be addressed in order for the company to continue its successful growth in the future.
Instead of exclusively emphasizing the gathering of more customers, Starbucks should consider encouraging its existing relationship with the clients. Such strategy would guarantee more admirers in the long run, including the constant support of brand promoters (Cha, 2009). This should include the local support together with the online involvement, while prioritizing the importance of customer service.
When Starbucks takes a photo, it should post it on Facebook, pin it on Pinterest, share it on Instagram, and tweet it on Twitter. This strategy will guarantee that the information reaches the point where the consumers can be found. For this reason, cross-promotion is crucial as the modern world is digitally centered, and each network offers a chance to get into a new field. Hence, incorporating its strategy on each of them is significant to raising the level of appearence and advancing the brand (Blakeman & Brown, 2010).
The Starbucks Company should allow the consumer involvement in order for the discussions to be as logically as possible (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). They should pay attention, explore, and share new concepts from whatever they acquire.
Happy clients tend to share high-quality offers and experiences. Therefore, the company should engage its customers in promotions, such as buy one get one for free, as it will lead to a high level of involvement in social media through likes, comments and shares.
It is also recommended that the company should seek as much as possible to offer an unparalleled experience through programs like My Starbucks Rewards and personalized social drinks. It will ensure that its customers share good moments.
The Starbucks company should offer a generous reason for consumers to purchase a hot cup of coffee as it can be favorable for all consumers (Cha, 2009). It should be able to understand the client and what is crucial in the world by listening to how their brands can fit into the trending subjects.
As the main goal of the company is to move and encourage the human spirit, one individual, one cup, one neighborhood at a time, the company must engage in the online quote campaigns as it will motivate consumers, thereby leading to customer reliability (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
In conclusion, the research reveals that social media is obtaining strength in the current society. Individuals and particular firms are thriving in their efforts to influence the various users through social media and through social networks. Such concept has worked for Starbucks as well, since the company is currently continuously covering the media. The procedure, involvement, experience, connections and responsiveness of the social media concept lead to the optimistic outlook of the brand, as happened in the case of Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice Company.