Best Coffee Shop Marketing Strategies to Get Customers on Social Media

Best Coffee Shop Marketing Strategies to Get Customers on Social Media

If you run a coffee shop and keep wondering how to brew the best social media strategy (excuse the pun), here are some ideas and examples from a marketer and coffee lover in one (sipping multiple cups of coffee as I write this.)

Manage all comments and messages from one view

Manage all comments and messages from one view

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Social media can be your coffee shop’s best friend

If you want to sell coffee, however tasty it is and however skilled your baristas are, you need to get the word out there. And social media is an effective marketing tool to do that. 

There are more and more coffee shops and roasteries by the minute. The market has become competitive, and if you want to succeed – and build a loyal local community of regulars frequenting your coffee shop or buying your beans online – you need to find a way to stand out, get people’s attention, and then make it impossible to forget about you. 

(Great coffee is, of course, one way to do that – but it might sometimes, believe it or not, not be enough.) 

But how do you do that if you’re an independent coffee shop and don’t have the budget of a brand like Starbucks or other giants? That’s where social media comes in. 

No, it’s not going to be entirely free (it never is), but if you use the right marketing tactics, you’ll be able to see great results with a reasonable marketing budget.

But you need a solid plan. 

Here’s an example of what should go into a successful coffee shop’s marketing plan. And since we’re on NapoleonCat’s blog, let me show you how you could use the platform to make executing that plan more manageable.

(Takes the last sip of her morning espresso. The second one.)

Best marketing strategies for a coffee shop on social media

Let’s dive into some concrete coffee shop marketing strategies that will help you grow your business (and make more delicious coffee).

Be there for your coffee-loving customers 

(It’s like you swap the “care” for “be there” in the now-classic quote by Gary Vaynerchuk, get it?).

And be where they are. Not just *in* your coffee shop. Be and have conversations with them where they hang out online. And find out where it is first, before starting another social media account.  

Because there’s no point in creating social media profiles for your coffee shop just for the sake of it (or because “others do it”). Instead, ask your customers where they like to hang out. Or you could also invite them to follow your profiles when they’re in your café.

That’s the first step to building engagement and a loyal customer base.

How NapoleonCat can:

Use a social media management tool like NapoleonCat to manage your profiles. If you run a business, using a tool that lets you automate at least part of your marketing – like the Social Inbox – can be a life-saver. Or at least a time-saver.

Instead of maneuvering between all your profiles on all the social media networks, you get all comments, questions, Google and FB reviews, and direct messages in one place and can reply from a single dashboard. 

NapoleonCat's ad targetting inbox
All your social media interactions in one customizable view.

Build and nurture a community 

And I mean a local community as much as an online community. Because it will not only help spread the word about your coffee locally but also let visitors to your city easily find you when they’re googling “best coffee in town.” And if you sell beans online, like many coffee shops and roasteries do, it’ll act as an effective sales booster.

If you have social media profiles, you have a good base for building that community. Now go engage people in conversations, post content they care about (some examples and ideas coming up a little later), and – maybe most importantly – talk to them and respond to what they have to say.

This means never ignoring their posts, comments, responding to their questions, and yes, even to the negative reviews. (Excluding trolls, hate, and spam – you can take care of these in a different way.)

An example of a coffee shop chain that’s built an engaged community is definitely Blue Bottle Coffee (for more, take a look at this article about how to build a community on social media).

But even if you’re a small coffee shop, you can also build a close-knit, coffee-loving community – coffee tends to bring people together, so you have that essential factor nailed down already.

How NapoleonCat can help:

There’s a way you can make sure you never miss a comment or question, even in the however-many Instagram inboxes there are. And that’s the Social Inbox I’ve already told you about.

Another helpful thing about it is the Auto-moderation. You can set up automated replies to some frequently asked questions, e.g., about your opening hours or wi-fi for all those working remotely. Automatically posted, helpful pre-written responses will let you get more time to tend to the customer service queries that need you to actually be there.

Find what sets you apart from your competitors

Being different in a crowded market requires some creativity but also a good amount of research. So before you decide what you want that to be on social, take a good look at what your competitors are doing.

What seems to work best? What gets them the best engagement? 

Then think of how that could inspire your strategies. But not to follow in the same steps – rather, to find a way to divert from that path that brings the same, or – ideally – better results.

How NapoleonCat can help:

NapoleonCat has a helpful tool for competitive analysis. This basically means you can follow any public profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, analyze its performance, and even compare it to yours. Here’s how to do that. 

NapoleonCat's how to track competitors on fb
Sample page from a Facebook competitive report.

Never underestimate the power of customer reviews 

Instagram and Facebook are great for building engagement and getting people to visit your coffee shop. But there’s one other channel that’s often underestimated by coffee shop owners (and not just them). And that’s Google My Business.

First of all, if you’re on Google Maps, people will leave reviews of your place, whether you like it or not. So you might as well take some control of that part of your online presence and…

Get people to post reviews.

You can encourage them while they’re buying their coffee, print a reminder on your cups, or send them an email if you’re collecting their email addresses. And, of course, you can remind them on social media.

The more positive reviews you have, the better impression your coffee shop will make on newcomers searching for delicious coffee in your area.

Here are some tips on how to get more Google reviews:

Respond to reviews – and do it on time.

I get that it takes time, and the more locations you have, the more time it consumes, but it’s an absolute must. 

Your potential customers read reviews, and they also read the business’s responses. And they usually do it at a time when they’re deciding whether to visit you or not. This is your opportunity to shine (and win customers).

Keep your Google My Business profile active.

Yes, besides collecting reviews, Google lets you post updates just as any other social media platform, display your menu and special offers, promote events and discounts, and more.

This way, you can get the attention of the people who are looking for a place to grab a cuppa but also boost your local search rankings.

Coffee Shop Marketing - coffee addict location
Coffee shop marketing example – A Google Business profile of a London-based coffee shop

How NapoleonCat can help:

Not every social media management tool includes the option to post content and moderate reviews on Google – but you can totally do that with NapoleonCat. 

The Social Inbox will display all your reviews from the different locations (if you have more than one), with an easy way to respond to them, from the same place you respond to your Instagram comments or Messenger questions. And you can post content using the platform, too (more on publishing coming up next ⬇️.)

NapoleonCat answers our needs. The consolidation of such a large number of stores and comments in one view is an incredibly helpful solution. We are given a bird’s eye view of the entire organization and the ability to spot both our strong points and areas which are still in need of improvement. We can more easily verify the procedures we have put in place (e.g. handling of complaints), assess how individual locations are performing, and monitor the shopping experience of our clients.
Robert Prokopowicz
Customer Service Manager, CCC

Engage people in your social media content

Coffee people tend to get excited about coffee-related topics (this is not a research-based conclusion, just a personal opinion ;)) New beans? Alternative brewing methods? The pull, the grind? The stories of the farmers who harvest the beans somewhere in the middle of South America? Or maybe there’s that quirky barista that has a cool hobby?

There are TONS of stories you could tell. And you could also ask your customers to tell theirs (take a look at these examples of user-generated content to get inspired.) And further down the article, I’ll share some ideas, so bear with me.

How NapoleonCat could help:

NapoleonCat won’t just let you moderate comments and have conversations but also initiate them, posting content across your social media platforms. With the Publisher, you can prepare your posts across your channels in advance (including on your Google My Business profile) and then focus on all the other stuff you need to do.

(Focuses while taking a swig of her orange espresso.)

Don’t forget your Facebook and Instagram ads

Organic engagement is one thing, but you’ll probably want to fuel the social media strategy for your coffee shop with paid Facebook and Instagram ads. And when you do that, don’t forget they’re still technically social media content, which means people can comment on them – and you should keep those conversations going, too.

The worst thing you could probably do (okay, maybe not the worst, there are way worse things in this world), is to keep your Instagram or Facebook account one giant banner ad with no two-way conversations. Instead, keep an eye on what’s going on in your sponsored posts (which also includes getting rid of spam and hate messages or competitor links.)

How NapoleonCat can help:

The more ad campaigns you’re going to run, the less manageable comment moderation will become (especially if there’s a separate person – or maybe a social media agency – running the ads for you).

The good news is that with tools like NapoleonCat, Instagram and Facebook ads comments will make their way to your Social Inbox along with all the other social media interactions. 

This makes it so much easier to respond to them (without missing any). You can also use the same Auto-moderation rules mentioned above to answer FAQs or automatically remove spam from under your ads (highly recommended.)

Not sure what to post? Here are some coffee shop marketing ideas:

Showcase your coffee

That’s the most obvious one. The beans and all their flavor profiles, the drinks (including that seasonal coffee kombucha everyone’s lining up for in the summer), the latte art your baristas so skillfully make. And the cake and pastries!

Make sure it’s nicely photographed, and don’t forget to put those photos on your Google My Business profile.

Coffee Shop Marketing - thebarnberlin ig post
Coffee shop marketing example – A new drink announced on The Barn’s Instagram <drool>

Show the people behind the coffee

Imagine people coming to your coffee shop for the first time, already knowing who will make their coffee for them. You can consider it an effective marketing ice breaker. 😉 

We all know coffee is about conversations as much as the drink itself (and baristas are sometimes like bar tenders), so let your baristas tell their stories, too. 

The example below doesn’t come from a coffee shop but from the oat milk brand Oatly (who have a barista version of their signature oat drink), but it’s a perfect concept for any coffee shop, too.

Coffee Shop Marketing - oatly ig post
Coffee shop marketing example – Oatly’s online magazine dedicated to and created with baristas

Celebrate your customers

And I don’t just mean reviews – though they’re also important (and reviews can actually make some of your content.) You can encourage your customers to share their experiences (and coffees) using a hashtag, organize contests, or find something characteristic (like Starbucks’s cup) they could keep sharing on social. I’m sure you have something. 😉

Coffee Shop Marketing - blue bottle coffee post
Coffee shop marketing example – A customer repost on Blue Bottle’s Facebook Page

Educate your customers

Let me say that again – there’s tons of things you can talk about when it comes to coffee. From the origin of the beans, the roast, the flavors, the different ways to brew – you can have content for months.

You might also have interesting stories coming from farmers themselves to show your customers the entire process behind their cup of coffee – from the moment the beans are harvested to the moment they take their first sip.

Think of a series of regular posts around a specific topic. Or go live on Instagram to show how to brew a perfect cup of coffee using a chosen method. The floor (or screen) is yours.

Coffee Shop Marketing - coffee collective post
Coffee shop marketing example – Coffee Collective’s Facebook post 

Collaborate with other coffee shops

I feel there’s often a sort of camaraderie between coffee shops rather than the usual competition you could expect. So if you’re friends with baristas and coffee shop owners in other cities, show it on social media!

That also includes roasteries, bakeries, or even plant milk brands – people love to know who’s contributing to their pleasant customer experience in your coffee shop (and their caffeine addiction ;)) 

Plus, your regular customers will surely appreciate great coffee recommendations for when they travel the country (or the world.)

Coffee Shop Marketing - the barn post
Coffee shop marketing example – A Berlin-based coffee shop visiting a coffee shop in Palma de Mallorca

Find your visual (and verbal) style

Keep your design and post format consistent throughout your social platforms. It’s a way to stand out, for sure – and keep consistent with your overall branding (which should come before you’re even on social.) This is something that will definitely help you stand out and attract new customers.

Coffee Shop Marketing - flowcafegdynia profile
Coffee shop marketing example – A coffee shop in my hometown with a very unique visual style on social. 

You immediately know it’s them when you see it.

(Takes a sip of her oat milk cortado.) 

Social media is your way to invite people over for coffee

Use it to get more coffee drinkers hooked even before they have their first flat white in your coffee shop. And then keep them engaged with mouthwatering social media content that won’t let them forget about your coffee. 

Save time managing your socials…to have more time for coffee

Save time managing your socials…to have more time for coffee

Automate a big chunk of your socials with an all-in-one social media tool – to have more time for your delicious brew 🙂

Try NapoleonCat for free

14-day trial period. No credit card required.

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Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.

Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.