Starbucks' social media strategy

By Bizclik Editor

Written by: Kirsty Warren, PR Officer, GDS International


Described by industry experts as “digital marketing worth watching,” Starbucks’ strategies have commanded a lead in the social media space, and the company claims to be the No. one fan page on Facebook with over 29 million fans and a healthy presence on Twitter and Foursquare. Starbucks has considered the mobile networking space to be of utmost importance, remaining a consistent feature in the expanding social media landscape.

Starbucks is currently one of the most searched brands using mobile location-based services, and has created special badges and statuses on its Foursquare platform. At the last iStrategy European conference, Naveen Selvadurai, Co‐Founder of Foursquare said that “Badges are changing industrybehaviors” and that it was actually encouraging people to visit certain areas to claim social statuses through badges. Not only has the coffee chain been facilitating the use of social, location‐based services, but it has also developed an application that allows customers to pay for goods using their smartphones, a concept that has earned them more than 3 million customers using this program.

Recently, Starbucks, who often avoid traditional advertising, undertook an ambitious social media campaign, with posters encouraging fans to retell their experiences online, alongside a competition for people to hunt down store posters, photograph them and be the first the submit them onto Twitter. The inspiration was said to come from the current behaviors displayed on social media sites, according to Chris Bruzzo, Vice President, Brand, Content & Online at Starbucks Coffee Company. “It shows a level of connection to our brand that we wouldn’t have concocted on our own,” he said.

The company recently held another scavenger‐based activity, which used popsensation and online marketing guru, Lady Gaga. These marketing activities are part of the wider social and media strategy, under the “Blueprint for Growth,” with the digital communications element lead by Bruzzo.

Facebook has dominated the social media environment ever since it overtook MySpace in May, 2008, however the fast-paced, ever-changing social media and digital landscape means that companies need to remain vigilant in their online communication strategies to respond to rapid changes in the market.

GDS International is a leading business-to-business events company. They offer financial, healthcare, IT service management, telecoms and oil and gas summits for senior executives throughout the Asia Pacific, Africa, China, Europe, North America and Russia markets. For more information, visit


The GDS International iStrategy conference, will be taking place in Atlanta, 13‐14thSeptember, which combines keynote speakers, expert panel discussions, interactive workshops and provides networking opportunities. It draws from an impressive selection of industry leaders, which will be discussing results‐orientated digital andsocial media strategies. Chris Bruzzo will be speaking at the conference. For a full guide to the event, please visit:


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