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Social Media Marketing for Coffee Shops

Marketing historySocial media is a relationship-based form of technology that has been adapted to market to people. Never before in the 150 years of marketing history have we seen such wide adaption of two-way marketing. When you think of TV, radio, newspaper, and billboards, they push a message to the consumers.

Social media has changed that to a two-way style of communication and marketing. Advertisers and brands are no longer pushing a message to consumers, but consumers are pulling information that they are seeking. Large and small brands alike are able to benefit from building this relationship with their current and prospective customers.

For coffee houses, using social media is a natural extension of what takes place every day within the four walls of their café.

Relationships First

Social media marketing, or relationship marketing, has a “customer first” mentality. Using language that engages the customer to talk about them is most effective. Rather than constantly selling a product or service, brands need to allow the customer to talk about their needs and desires.

Successful coffee shops do this each day when a customer walks in and the barista asks, “how are you?” The emphasis is immediately put on the customer. Focus on building authentic customer relationships first and extend that to social media platforms.

Social Media Platforms

Your social media approach should be like a cocktail party; join the conversation that is already happening around your brand, product, or service.

Your social media approach should be like a cocktail party; join the conversation that is already happening around your brand, product, or service.

At the end of the day, the only social media platform that matters is the one your customers are using. We have seen a huge rise in popularity for startups like Pinterest or Instagram. The power of pictures in social has changed the way individuals consume information. In social media, and for brands, a picture is worth far more than 1,000 words. Pictures invoke emotion and a connection that words simply cannot.

Facebook still commands the most active users, so it is a safe place to start your social media marketing. Likely, there are a large number of existing customers to connect with, as well as new and prospective customers.

Don’t worry about being everywhere all the time. Find the overlap of where your customers hangout and your knowledge. If your customers spend a majority of their time Instagraming or Pinning, start there. If you are a business-to-business brand (equipment sales, wholesale beans, etc), poke around on LinkedIn, which is traditionally a more business-minded environment.

Why Before How

Understanding what you want to get out of your social media marketing campaign in the beginning is the most important element of creating a strategy. Understanding “Why” you want to get into social media will dictate “How” you do social media.

Having clear, defined goals before you get started will help map the “why” of your social media marketing campaign. Be specific when planning, as it will save hours of frustration and hundreds of wasted dollars in the end.

Consider the S.M.A.R.T. method for creating a goal:

S: Specific

M: Measurable

A: Attainable

R: Relevant

T: Time-bound

One example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal is: “Increase Facebook Fans by 500 before June 1st”.

Time Management

The absolute – without reservation – most common aversion to social media from business owners is the fear of losing your life to a never-ending cycle of status updates, retweets, pings, pins, and pokes.

I understand that coffeehouse owners did not get into the coffee industry because they are passionate about marketing online. They opened their café because they are passionate about people.

Managing a social media empire can be done through disciplining yourself to spend only 20-30 minutes per day. After you setup your social media accounts and understand your targeted audience, your daily routine should look like this:

Google Alerts (3-5 minutes) (More about Google Alerts):

  • Catch up on news from the industry, competitors, and related-blogs

Blogs (8-12 minutes) (More about blogs):

  • Use an RSS Reader to catch up on industry trends and similar topics (I recommend having a “Premium Reading List” of content that is always top-notch and relevant. You can read everything else as you have time. This is the list of ‘can’t miss material’ from authors and thought-leaders you respect)

Facebook (3-6 minutes):

  • Monitor/Review Wall Posts, Private Messages, and Comments
  • Respond to your followers’ questions, comments, concerns, and compliments
  • Schedule a mix of original content (Thoughts, quotes, pictures, upcoming events, promotions)
  • Use a tool like HootSuite or HubSpot to schedule posts in advance

Twitter (4-8 minutes):

  • Monitor/Review Tweets/Retweets, and Private Messages
  • Re-follow new followers
  • Monitor conversations about your industry, competitors, or your brand (
  • Follow influential users in those existing conversations
  • Schedule a mix of original content (Thoughts, quotes, pictures, upcoming events, promotions)
  • Retweet content from followers and industry leaders
  • Use a tool like Buffer, Minideck, HootSuite, or HubSpot to schedule posts in advance

What About The Metrics

“Metrics” is a fancy word for measurement. Terms also include “analytics”, “tracking”, “ROI (return on investment), or “measurables”

Like I said before, understanding your WHY is more important than the HOW of social media. Each company has a different goal, it is impossible to say, “an increase of 500 fans on Facebook is what you need for ultimate industry domination.”

While 500 Facebook fans may be awesome, it does little without the lens of context and moving you towards your end goal. By in large, the best metrics to measure comes down to one thing: sales.

Did your action on [Insert Favorite Social Media Platform] result in an increase in sales. You can be more specific (and should be), for example:

Did our week-long Pinterest and Instagram campaign showing our delicious bakery items result in an increase of bakery item sales?


Did our Facebook contest to name our whole bean roasts result in a measurable increase in whole bean sales?


Did our cross-promotion partnership (a discount for showing your receipt) with the business next-door lead to more lunch-time food sales?

Tools like HubSpot and HootSuite can help you track these types of campaigns.

BONUS: Don’t Forget Local

All too often, brick and mortar businesses forget about the power of the local search. When a prospective client is driving around, chances are high that they will rely on their mobile phone for recommendations and directions to the best local coffee shop. Make sure your business information is up-to-date with Google Business Tools and Yelp (which powers data to the iPhone’s Siri).

Next Steps

If you would like help in monitoring your daily social media, setting up your Local Search, or creating a social media strategy that meets your goals, I would love to talk to you. I offer a 30-minute consultation with passionate business owners who want the best for their business.

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