What Radio Brands Can Learn From … Starbucks

Look at lots and lots of different brands’ social media, and you realize … there’s a lot of wasted effort here.

Then, you stumble upon the posts from some brands that have a handle on their social media.  There seems to be a magic formula:  you write about what your fans love about your brand … from a user-benefit point of view … and keep it disarmingly brief, hype-free, conversational and casual.

One thing we in radio tend to forget about social media (especially Facebook) … it’s geared toward long-term relationships.  Many of the most successful brands post once a day … maybe twice … and almost never, ever post anything that doesn’t have to do with giving their fans a way to enjoy using the brand.

Starbucks has figured out that our Facebook fans are coming to us for more access, good deals, and more information about the brands that those fans love.  It shouldn’t be surprising that Starbucks has a handle on how to use branded social media.  After all, nobody was looking for a coffee spot on every corner before they came along.  They created a brand and, almost Apple-like, created a mystique as much as they created a good cup of coffee.

In the best brands’ social media posts, there’s an assumption that they’re talking to their biggest fans who know what the product is all about.  There’s no explanation of what a Frappucino is, or any typical sales- or promotion-type language to get people interested or excited.  There’s just the correct assumption that they’re not just pushing a special deal.  They’re giving their fans a deal … which takes a different mental attitude.  They’re also giving their biggest fans extra access with the reminder.

Here’s an example of something radio brands know how to do.  Plus … an example of what radio brands DON’T generally know how to do.

What we know how to do is keep things topical.  Just a generic reminder about Starbucks gift cards would not be as powerful as this: a helpful reminder about Administrative Professionals’ Day (formerly National Secretaries’ Day).  It’s a good gift for that occasion … so it’s a boon to the Starbucks fans on Facebook, not just another commercial.

What radio brands don’t do well is to know when to stop selling.  If you love Starbucks enough to “Like” them in social media, you don’t need a lot of extra info beyond this reminder.  Too many radio-style posts would start, “Hey, Starbucks Fans!”  Then, they’d include needless information promoting the yummy drinks and various pastries the gift card is for … and how it would show that your Admin Professional really means a lot to you.  Duh!

Finally, here’s one that really doesn’t have to do with the Starbucks brand.

Or does it?  Is it a subtle reminder to buy Mom a latte’ or Frappucino?  These are hard-core Starbucks fans they’re talking to.

What could you do that would be potentially this subtle and meaningful for your brand?  Give me a shout by clicking my name and let’s talk about YOUR situation!

Chris Miller

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One comment

  1. Mike Girard

    Hey Chris,

    You’ve got an amazing blog here. Social media is really becoming a hot topic in radio broadcasting industry.

    What I’m finding through my research is that there was a very early and quick adoption of social media channels (especially Facebook) by radio stations. It was almost as though the industry knew they had to be there because everyone else. The problem became: “OK, we’re here. Now, what do we do and how do we do it?”

    The radio industry is beginning to define best practices around social media and seem to be grasping that they are going to have to produce content that is not necessarily in their wheelhouse, ie: video and blogs for example. This is coming along quickly as exemplified by last weeks announcement by WQXR in NYC that they have hired former VH1 Digital Media Strategist Michael Rinzel named Director of Digital Content.

    I’ll be coming back regularly Chris!

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