Brand in Focus – Starbucks


Recognize this logo?

Recognize this logo?

Welcome to another edition of ‘Brand in Focus’ – our look into the branding and digital marketing efforts of specific brands and companies. In this edition we’ll be focusing on one of the most talked about, successful brands to engage with its customers across social media … Starbucks. promotes its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. However, before we even dive into each one, let’s take a minute to talk about their own web site. In preparing this entry, the ‘current’ landing page goes right into mobile marketing with a request to text them to receive offers over your phone. I happened to give this a whirl and was signed up for their SMS program and this was the second message that was sent my way:

Starbucks Mobile Ad ... Thank you!

Starbucks Mobile Ad … Thank you!

Awesome! Immediately under the SMS program / headline is a link to sign up for their My Starbucks Rewards™ program (commonly viewed as one of the premiere rewards programs out there). There is a wealth of information on the home page, including a store locator, a link to your personal account, a search box and another link to sign up for their email program. Immediately, it is pretty clear that Starbucks “gets it” when it comes to what a company web site can and should be used for.

At the time of this write-up, Starbucks can boast a strong following across networks: 36.6+ million fans on Facebook, 6.1+ million followers on Twitter, and 2.5 million followers on Google+. Let’s take a look into each.


Clicking on their cover photo below, I found that this actually came from a fan’s Instagram account. You can view the conversation that the Starbucks team is having directly with the fan and asking them permission to use the photo on Facebook. You don’t think that this is creating a lifetime fan immediately?

Starbucks engaging across Facebook and Instagram!

Starbucks engaging across Facebook and Instagram!

One of the items that I particularly enjoy reading about is the brand’s timeline, particularly those that go back and tell the story of how the brand was started and key events that took place over time – well before Facebook and others ever existed.

Looking back on the history of Starbucks via their Facebook timeline

Looking back on the history of Starbucks via their Facebook timeline

What also caught my attention here is that, in comparison to the amount of Likes, Shares, and Comments the company sees on its regular posts, this particular entry “only” has 1,300+ Likes and 70+ Comments. Now, compare that to your regular postings from Starbucks:

Likes, Comments, and Shares on the Starbucks Facebook Wall ... Oh my

Likes, Comments, and Shares on the Starbucks Facebook Wall … Oh my

Multiple items worth calling out here:

  • Starbucks regularly creates its own hashtags for its posts
  • You won’t find a recent post that doesn’t have an image attached with it
  • Hundreds, if not thousands of shares
  • Thousands of comments, including interaction between Fans – not always positive, but Fans very much willing to engage with one another and the brand
  • Tens of thousands of Likes on each post


Starbucks’ Twitter page is a little less visual given the more frequent messages that are being sent out on the network. The brand has sent out over 20K tweets since joining Twitter. One item that quickly caught my attention was that the Twitter page clearly has owners at the company (see red box within the image below).

Personalizing the Starbucks Twitter feed

Personalizing the Starbucks Twitter feed

You’ll find a slew of hashtags being used by the company on Twitter. One of the more regular hashtags being leveraged is “#ProTip”, where the company offers up an ingredient or mix to delight your (or someone’s) taste buds.

On average, Starbucks will see several hundred retweets and upwards of around 1,000 favorites for their tweeting efforts. Not bad at all, but clearly not the level of engagement they see on Facebook either. Given their advanced use of social media in general, I have to imagine that they are keeping an eye on many, if not all, of the hashtags that the brand throws out there on a regular basis to see what type of traction they are getting.


A few items caught my eye on the Starbucks “About” page on G+. First, they have created a Community called “Starbucks Partners” that is an online forum for all of its employees. This is a fantastic idea to give employees an open forum to talk about the company. Second, the company has taken the time to put together a thorough ‘Story’ on the G+ page.

The Starbucks story on Google+ & their own Community

The Starbucks story on Google+ & their own Community

At the bottom of their “About” page you will find a number of links, including; their homepage, YouTube page, Facebook, Twitter, as well as several Starbucks-branded landing pages – Ideas for others to submit, eGifts, and an online shop for its products. Once again, a very strong page that provides a tremendous amount of information that drives engagement with its followers/customers.

A typical post on G+ from Starbucks receives somewhere between 500-1K +1’s and ~100 shares. It looks like holiday-themed posts with pictures draw more traction with followers. Bringing in Oprah to promote a SKU for one of your latest acquisitions (Teavana) doesn’t hurt either …

Starbucks adds "a little" celebrity power to it

Starbucks adds “a little” celebrity power to it

One final spot that I took a quick glance at was the Starbucks YouTube page that is directly connected to their G+ profile. The brand has playlists broken out by its footprint in various markets around the world, as well as their commercial spots, Starbucks jobs, and several other topics. The page has approximately 30K subscribers.

Overall Summary:

Starbucks is a clear star (oh boy…) in social media. They have developed a passionate following for the brand and have built thousands of brand ambassadors. Their efforts on all three social networks are held in high regard as the company adapts their message to each platform appropriately/accordingly.

What is your opinion of Starbucks’ branding and digital marketing strategy across each network? Let us know in the Comments section below.

  • Sathi Sha

    Well said about brand of starbucks.I just want to take look at the paid campaigns, before the article was combines well info. I got few things to take note on promote brand things…

  • John

    Check out our “Branding” board on Pinterest for a handful of Starbucks infographics: