Starbucks social media strategy

A couple of weeks ago I saw a very interesting news item about Starbucks. Everyone of us that have ever ordered a coffee at starbucks knows it: usally they spell your name wrong on your cup. This is the reason:

This is one of the best social media strategies I ever heard! They spell your name wrong on your cup for a reason: you’ll post something on social media about it and by posting that Starbucks gets free publicity! Without you even noticing it! And that one time that they spell your name correctly you’ll post something about it on social media because a ‘miracle’ happened!

I did a little test! I’ve searched on instagram on the hashtag #starbucks. I found over 15 million posts with the hashtag #starbucks and many of them are with wrong spelled names! Then I searched the name of other large food/drink companies. McDonalds for example: almost 5 million posts.
KFC: not even 2 million posts
Burgerking: they don’t even reach the one million posts.

And if I take a look at the 5 largests coffee company chains in the world:

McCafe: 350.000 posts
Dunkindonuts: 950.000 posts
Costacoffee: 75.000 posts
Timhortons: 550.000 posts
Starbucks: 15.000.000 posts!!!

So it’s clear that their social media strategy works very good! Because if we compare the amount of locations of dunkingdonuts (10.000 locations) and starbucks (20.000 locations, 2 times more) and the amount of posts on instagram (more than 15 times more!) we see that Starbucks is very succesful on social media.

I was thinking about this very special social media strategy that actually works! But are there other companies that are using a social media strategy like this without we – the customers- are noticing it? I don’t know other companies, do you know other companies that uses such a special social media strategy? Share it with us!



2 thoughts on “Starbucks social media strategy

  1. I saw a related article a couple of days before too. I agree with your point that this does work because people like to share unusual things like this happening in daily life, even though some will feel a bit annoyed the moment they got their drinks. Most of the times they just laugh and share it!
    What’s more I know about Starbucks is that they sometimes write down not only your names but some sentences. I have seen a celebrity posting a picture of a cup with words like ” Cheer up on your work!”. I got a cup with a smiling face once too. And sometimes when you come to the same store often. They try to remember what you usually order. This is successful in marketing when customers know you do care about them.

  2. It is indeed a creative and practical marketing strategy. I also noticed that my friends usually like sharing their misspelled name on Facebook and Instagram. However, they still feel good and laugh on it. Especially, once the Starbucks spell out the name correctly, they even feel lucky and happier than before. They also shared this on their social media websites. So Starbucks gets free advertisement very effectively on both sides.

    This case also reminds me of a similar marketing strategy – Coca Cola. In the past few month, I frequently saw free Coca Cola machine stood on the city center. After you enter your name into the machine, then the machine will print your name on a small bottle of Cola and makes a specialized cola for you. A lot of people also feel cola is cute and special. They all shared the pictures on Social Media Websites. Actually, this activity has the same effect as Starbucks case, which gets totally free advertisement.

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