Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Starbucks Uses Social Media for Business. No, Really
Maybe you saw my title and thought, so what? A lot of businesses are using social media to promote their brands. Well, that's great, but that's not what Starbucks is doing, well not all of it at least. They are actually using social media to CONDUCT business, not just promote it. I got this tidbit of useful information from one of my favorite blogs, Mashable. (http://mashable.com/2009/09/23/starbucks-iphone/)
So yes, they've had Wi-Fi for a while now, that's not what I'm talking about. They are actually providing a way to find the Starbucks closest to you and even pay for your coffee using your mobile device. Hey, if I can pay and be done with it on the bus on my way to work - I'm doing it! That's not all though, with this FREE mobile app, you can customize your own drink and save it, manage your Starbucks card account balance, search for stores with drive-thrus, and invite people in your address book to meet you there.
I thought this was an important feature to write about because it's an example of a business that's really using social media to make getting a cup of coffee easier for their valued customers. And let's be honest, a lot of us out there need our coffee because we're not quite awake enough to function, so if getting it is easier - I'm sold. This is a valuable tool that was obviously made with the customer in mind. That's value in social media. That's smart mobile business.
A lot of companies get a Facebook page or promote an event or their brand using Twitter, which is all good. But somehow they think that makes them progressive and they really give themselves a pat of the back for using social media. The businesses that see the greatest payback from using social media though, are the companies like Starbucks, that see how it can add value to their customers' days. They're not just talking about social media, they are really doing it in a way that will no doubt create greater customer satisfaction.
Getting into social media is a big step for businesses who are still just joining the game. But to really get value out of social media for your business, you need to find a way for it to have value for your consumers first. That's my PR thought for the day.
*Photo from Google images