by Autumn E. Skinner
There are a lot of coffee companies on Instagram, for a good reason: People love coffee, and coffee (or the person drinking it) is photogenic! Zooming in on Instagram, let’s start with a big one (in the U.S.): Starbucks.
Starbucks ranks the highest in everything: market share, number of stores, and Instagram followers. For such a huge and successful company, the engagement is high and fast, as they have to be especially in crisis situations (need I remind you of their #RaceTogether campaign). While they promote products in almost every social post, they can afford to with beautiful graphics, videos and promotions like the free tall coffee for veterans on Veteran’s Day, and seasonal BOGOs. But let’s talk about real coffee shops: small businesses without millions at their disposal and a team of social media employees at the ready.
Close to home: Recreational Coffee is doing social right. Their follower numbers alone on Instagram make it obvious: 11,600+! They are very active and engaged with their followers, and they are only one shop. People from around the world follow them though, because no matter where you are, their Instagram has follow-worthy aesthetics. It’s just the owners doing social media, Bobby and Corenne Hernandez, with no experience or education in marketing, they just pay attention to their competitors, what type of content works and show #bts and Q&A, which everyone loves! In the shop, there are Insta-worthy signs — one that changes, and a neon “drink good coffee”. They repost customers’ photos, creating a tighter bond with those customers, their friends and other followers.
Next, Rose Park Roasters — they have been around a little longer than Recreational, but they started out just as a bicycle coffee delivery, before they had a retail location. Their Instagram has a specific warm, laid-back vibe, all similar filters, and an Insta-worthy wall as well with, “welcome to the process,” their catchphrase, so to say. Their Instagram following is 12,500+, but they don’t do as much as Recreational with new products, promoting other shops and seasonal/holiday posts, so I don’t see a steady incline in followers.
Now some shops in Long Beach you may have never heard of, because they aren’t doing it right: Cuppa Cuppa. Their style is all over the place, they have grammatical errors and they don’t hide their 500 hashtags. Their “thing” is having many different brewing methods, but they do not capitalize on that in their social feeds too often. With only 2,800+ followers, and a relatively new brick-and-mortar in a hidden location, they could stand to be more visible on social media.
Viento Y Agua has been around as long as Rose Park, if not longer, yet their following is at 1,400+ because of inconsistency in style, posting and content. They have a couple canva-made posts, many street-photos, photos of people and dogs, every post looks like it could be from a different user. It’s a funky, eclectic vibe inside the shop, but their social does not represent their shop.
In short, coffee shops that are embracing social media as important as their sales and coffee quality are #winning because they create a fun online presence, and people want to experience their physical presence, so they visit in-person and patronize the shop. Many people north and south of Long Beach come to our beach city just to try the coffee shops, according to Long Beach shop owners. When we’re competing with the rest of the world online, it says something when people buy your product due to social media exposure.
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