Starbucks - 3 Twitter Best Practices

Twitter can help your business get closer to its customers ... create better word of mouth and greater brand advocacy ... and generate great ideas from engaged fans. How? Start by learning from the best practices used by companies that have been successful with Twitter.

Starbucks on InstagramStart by learning from Starbucks. When a national brand accumulates nearly two million followers on Twitter, its social media strategies are worth examining. The Seattle-based coffee giant is currently ranked as the fourth most popular corporate brand in this space. (By way of comparison, General Motors has 44,000 Twitter followers.)

The Starbucks tweetstream is impressive. Check out these three easy-to-emulate Twitter best practices. Each can be adapted to any industry, and each is modeled consistently via the company's Twitter account, @Starbucks -- which I found to be deeply personalized to individual questions, complaints, and suggestions from customers.

Best Practice #1: Do Something You Know Your Customer Believes In. Starbucks uses Twitter to promote cause-driven promotions that resonate powerfully with its user base. One particularly successful example was a “promotion where customers received free coffee if they brought in a reusable mug. This promotion grew their online fan base by 21% outside of the U.S. and by 6% overall. It not only drove sales, it changed how people purchased and consumed their coffee." (Source: Smartblogs.) What causes do your customers believe in?

Starbucks on InstagramBest Practice #2: Ask for Pictures. Starbucks uses Twitter to post plenty of interesting, user-generated images of its followers drinking from, displaying, or generally having fun with something that bears the familiar green company logo. Circulating these images means more engagement, greater advocacy, and broader brand awareness. How easy is it for a customer to take and forward a picture of your brand image? What would happen if you tweeted those images?

Best Practice #3: Let Customers Know That You Are Using Their Ideas. Starbucks uses Twitter to update individual customers on the status of individual ideas they have submitted via @MyStarbucksIdea. Wouldn’t you follow a company that kept you up to date about that?

If you haven’t given your company’s Twitter account regular attention (as in, original posts at least once a day, and prompt personal responses to each customer post), take a closer look at the infographic above.