How to build a social community around your business – lessons from Starbucks

Updated on 17 March 2014

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StarbucksHow to build a social community around your business - lessons from Starbucks has a big brand presence online because they are one of the most engaging companies online.
According to Robert Gembarski, Social Media Strategist at Branding Personality, an American digital marketing company, “Starbucks’ online image and messages have stayed consistent with their brand values, which are honesty, sincerity, and connecting with its consumers on a level unlike any other brand.”

Here’s how Starbucks manages to outperform nearly all other consumer brands on social media in terms of community engagement:

The general notion is that posting several times a day will increase your audience engagement, but Starbucks does the exact opposite. They sometimes don’t post for days but when they do, the post reaches millions and has a huge amount of likes, comments and shares.

Why this works: The key to Starbucks’ 37 million likes on Facebook is their use of pictures, whether they’re posting an image of their new store or just a latte’, fans love it.

Although they don’t tweet often, Starbucks has almost 6 million followers on Twitter and are winning the twitterverse over.

Why this works: They tweet coffee tips, announcements of daily specials and instant responses to customer service queries which shows they’re a reliable brand.


Most brands are not active on Google Plus but Starbucks is just as active on it as it is on any of its other social platforms. They have just over 3 million followers. In efforts to keep up with the latest trends of social interaction, they hosted their first Google+ Hangout, a free video chat service, with the band Maroon 5. They also went the extra mile and made it trend on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for their fans to join in the fun.

Why this works: By maximising their brand exposure on this Google product, Starbucks is increasing their online presence even further and allowing face-to-face interaction with their fans.

Pinterest is a purely visual platform and Starbucks hits the nail on the head here again.  It only has seven boards but they have more than 900 pins between them, and have attracted more than 76,000 followers.

Why this works: Their boards are beautiful, helpful and the page itself could be one of the best out there.


Most brands use Instagram to show followers behind the scenes pictures or introduce them to the faces behind the company. Starbucks uses popular trends like selfies to engage its fans on Instagram.
For example, customers who buy a Starbucks beverage, take a picture of themselves with it and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #StarbucksSelfie, get a chance to have their photo reposted by Starbucks onto their official Instagram page.

This has proved to be a big hit with over 3000 selfies posted to Starbucks’ 2 million-followers Instagram page.

Why this works: Instagram is the best platform for fans to get to know your business on another level and Starbucks uses the platform to invite fans to be a part of the inner workings of their favourite coffee brand.

During the festive season, Starbucks got 45 of its baristas across six different cities in Asia to shoot a video of them singing a Christmas carol. It was viewed almost 15 000 times and #ShareTheJoy was trending on all their social platforms.

Why this works: Starbucks uses YouTube to tell their stories with unique video concepts. Viewers can see the start of the Starbucks journey and form deeper connections with the brand.

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