The UK coffee business continues to grow – across chains, independent coffee shops and coffee outlets as part of another business (think takeaway coffees from bean-to-cup machines in petrol stations and gyms, and commercial coffee machines in company offices) – and that’s great news for everyone in the industry.
But how do you make sure that your business is benefiting from the boom? Supplying authentic, great-tasting coffee is of course the first step, but how do you reach a wider audience, and convert chain-addicts to visit your premises?
We think embracing social media is an absolute must for businesses of all sizes. And about 80% of social media use is conducted on smartphones – typically when people are out and about, and probably open to the idea of taste-bud-tantalising coffee… But where to start?
These are the social media channels that’ll work best for image- and video-based content, which should form much of your social media output:
It’s still the biggie in social media, with a broad demographic of users. Setting up a Business Page is free and unlimited, and if you choose to go down the route of Facebook pay-per-click advertising, you can target your niche really cleverly according to location, interests, gender, age and more. Most importantly, you can upload photographs and video for an all-round engaging experience.
Favoured by a slightly older demographic than Instagram, but can mean a higher disposable income. Tweeting is less visual – although you can add photos and video of course – than some other social media, and the stream of content can make it easy for your content to get washed straight past. A great way to network, however…
It’s all about the visual on Instagram – perfect for pictures of prettily poured coffees, elegant espresso machines and points of interest around your coffee shop or catering outlet. More than half of all Instagram users log in every single day.
The most aspirational of all the social media platforms, people use Pinterest to scrapbook their present and plan for their futures. Your coffee can feature in both. The more eye-catching your store, displays and, of course, produce, the more pinnable your content will be.
Big with teens and people in their early twenties, a lot of older generations don’t seem to get it. First and foremost, it’s a fun way to share interests and communicate. All sorts of filters and effects for photos and video, so if you’re prepared to be creative and your customers are of a younger age group, you may be able to cash in.
The home of amusing cat videos can be used to host anything, from a time-lapse of the queue for your amazing coffee, to how-to videos of making the perfect cup of coffee. Worth considering as a bolt-on to share content across your social media channels.
Each of these social media platforms gives guides to putting your business out there and engaging with customers. But remember three things, if you forget everything else: keep it interesting, don’t be too salesy, and always respond to your customers – even if they come to you with negative feedback. Social media continues to grow, and there’s a place for local, specialist businesses which are prepared to put in the time, learning and effort to build an interactive community of fans.