I love Starbucks. I have loved Starbucks before everyone else loved Starbucks. That may be a stretch, but I have been drinking Starbucks coffee for over 15 years. I have visited the original Starbucks in Seattle. I even wrote a song when I was in college as an ode to my favorite coffee shop. So I am a little biased when it comes to the coffee chain. I will admit that. However, I learned today that Starbucks cares as much about their customers as they do at producing a great product. This was evident in their social media presence upon the release of their updated Starbucks Rewards program.
The image above only shows a few of the responses, however with most of the comments posted buy consumers, fans, and fellow coffee addicts Starbucks was very consistent in responding to each posted comment.
This was not only on Facebook, but they did this on Twitter as well.
As I watched them comment and respond I became more impressed. The comments they were getting surrounding their updated rewards program were not exactly positive, and yet they still responded. They could have easily ignored the backlash and taken the stance of the corporate organization that does nothing. However, that is not part of their DNA as an organization. They are an organization that seeks to form connections whether they are formed via a store, or through their customer service, in person and online. Because this is part of who they are, they responded in full force to as many people as they could.
To be fair to Starbucks, this wasn’t a unique situation for one day, Starbucks is very responsive every other day of the week, I just happened to notice the response from them today. Because of this they gained even more respect from me as a consumer and Starbucks fan.
Here are a few things I learned that can be applied to the Social Media strategy of any organization.
Starbucks listened. Listening is crucial to any good social media strategy. When an organization learns to listen on Social Media they hear things from their consumers, fans, followers and the general public about their products and brand.
Listening is a crucial part of the two-way communication that organizations need to have on Social Media.
Starbucks listened. They listened to the consumer regardless of the feedback. They listened to their concern, their joy, their frustration, and their excitement for the upcoming change.
In your own organization how much time to you spend listening to your people online? Learning to listen is often more important than just blasting the public with tons of automated information.
Starbucks responded. Not only did they listen, Starbucks responded with a unique comment for each individual. There were some comments made on the post that were not positive or kind. In the midst of all the positive and negative feedback Starbucks took the time to respond, in some manner, offering helpful comments. This process takes time, a lot of time. What the response from Starbucks showed was they were willing to take the time to read the comments and then respond with a somewhat individual response for each.
There is no written rule that an organization has to respond to those who comment. However, good brands and great organizations respond and create the open space for two-way communication, not just a one-way street of information overload.
When an organization takes the time to respond to something I have said, I get all the feels. It shows me they are paying attention, and care enough to respond in some manner. I liken the response on social media to getting a hand written letter. A hand written letter tends to elicit different emotions than one that is typed out and signed with a signature stamp. It is the same with a response on Social Media. This response doesn’t always have to be a comment (those are always better), it can be a simple like, favorite, repost or retweet.
How are you and your organization creating the space to respond to people when your content is posted? Are you available to them? Or are you automating your content and letting your response go by the wayside? Think more hand written letters than typed and signature stamped.
I am sure there are plenty of other things that can be highlighted about Starbucks and their engagement via social media, but these two stuck out to me today.
Every organization, regardless of size and budget can do exactly what Starbucks did today. Every organization can listen. Every organization can respond in some manner with those who engage with them. The benefit of being social, on social media is a huge asset to your organization. Through listening, responding and engaging your organization creates lasting impact and builds influence with your current and future customers and fans.
Listen more, talk less.
Respond more, automate less.
Drink Coffee always.
How have you seen other brands and organizations success on social media through their listening and responding?