If you don’t see why those two seemingly unrelated items go so well together, here’s a swift lesson in social media marketing for coffee-related businesses. Imagery is big. We’ve already given you 11 ways to attract more customers to your coffee shop, where number 3 is social media. We’ve also given an overview of where to market your coffee offer on social media.
Today we’re going to delve into arguably the most potent of the lot for coffee shops, restaurants and any business where creating an atmosphere or a customer experience is important. And while there are merits to all of the main social media platforms, we think Instagram could be the simplest to master and give you access to the widest possible audience.
Instagram is all about images and video. It’s a lifestyle platform. And one thing we know about coffee fans is that they while many simply view a good coffee as an absolutely integral part of their day-to-day lives, plenty think it’s part of their lifestyle – part of who they are and what they do.
Commercial espresso machines in particular are beautiful works of art – even more so than the milk art a good barista might create in your daily flat white. Your immediate environment – and your neighbourhood – can make for outstanding photos and video. Likewise the drinks you create, the process of creating them, the reactions of your customers and, yes, you yourself…
Quick steps for Instagram initiation
- Download and install the app
- Pick a profile and username – the same as your brand
- Tap in your contact info and make sure the URL (website address) is the one you want to drive customers too. You can only ever have one link in Instagram, so make it count
- Experiment with photos. The great thing about Instagram is that you can add filters for effect and edit your photos. Top tip – avoid the bizarre Disney-fied face alteration at all costs!
- Experiment with video. Instagram currently offers live video broadcasting (you could, for instance, schedule the 9am coffee poured every day, whatever it may be, which would help audiences know when to expect fresh content) or Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories only last for 24 hours, but you can create multiple stories and they’ll play in a loop
- Create captions. You’ve got the final pic or video and now it wants a description. Remember, you’re not here to flog your wares directly (most of the time). You’re building brand awareness and demonstrating a lifestyle benefit. Great coffee, served from professional coffee machines, by trained coffee experts, in a cool/comfortable/relaxing/exciting setting. You’ve got a lot of space – up to 2,200 characters – but only the first three lines will show at first, so make ‘em count. And you want space for hashtags. A lot of them
- Go hashtag-happy. Pop a # in front of the words you think describe your image or video and which tap into your audience’s mindset. Instagram can be helpful here. Tap in #coffee and you’ll get some related options as well as the obvious. Include your location and your brand. Instagram users hop from hashtag to hashtag, so you want to give them multiple ways to find you even from completely unrelated subjects – but don’t mislead, keep it relevant
- Find your friends, colleagues and customers and follow them. Find relevant brands you respect and follow them. Find local community Instagram accounts and follow them… You get the picture
- Actively promote your Instagram account on your website, in-store and on flyers etc. And talking of active, being active is as important with Instagram as with any other social media channel. Not everything needs to be directly related to your business – what matters is that the content you put up is engaging and attractive. And regular. Aim for 5 or more posts a day for maximum exposure, and be creative
- Don’t give up. You’ll need patience, but over time you’ll build a following, meet new people, attract new customers and enjoy yourself. Coffee is about enjoyment and Instagram gives you an additional outlet to spread that joy!