Social Media Case Study: How do Costa Coffee use it?


After dipping their toes into the Twittersphere back in October 2008 with just one tweet, Costa Coffee posted no further tweets for almost four years. There were plenty of other businesses at that time that had sensed that they ought to have a social media presence but without an integrated strategy, it was very unlikely they would truly embrace it. However, rivalling coffee giant, Starbucks, started to push and test the new medium, which effectively gave them a four-year head start.

The year following Costa’s Twitter debut, they had a brush with the all too familiar social media crisis when they worked with agency Karmarama to produce an advert featuring monkeys being challenged to make the perfect cup of coffee, despite the advert being taken off the air due to animal rights complaints, it became a hit on YouTube.

In recent years Costa has been expanding their brand. As well as opening more stores across the country, Costa took over Coffee Nation whilst simultaneously introducing the Costa at home range for Tassimo, so where does all their social media marketing fit in?

A visit to Costa UK’s Twitter profile nowadays is a chance to see some true interaction and brand building in action. Their profile background is decorated with photos and an introduction to its team of tweeters. The team mix Twitter hashtag and retweet promotions to keep Costa in conversation with its followers.

The Costa Youtube profile tells a story that is a world away from monkeys brewing up; it is a combination of coffee infomercials and features from the sports teams Costa sponsors. The annual summer Costa Ice Tour blends a series of real life events with full integration with social media interactivity.

Over on Facebook, Costa is taking a different approach to old rivals Starbucks. Where the Starbucks page could almost be mistaken for a corporate magazine, Costa is having a little more fun with the home of ‘friends and family’ social sharing. Integrating its posts with Pinterest, and using the often neglected history and notes features of Facebook, Costa is demonstrating its commitment to presenting a consistent experience whilst ensuring it tailors the content it uses to the unique functionality of each social media platform.

The way the public is embracing social media is presenting a new dilemma to coffee shops, whether it’s the global corporate chains or local barista entrepreneurs, they are being bombarded by the ‘free wifi lodger’; nursing a latte for hours whilst a knowing staff roll their eyes. Some stores have banned wifi in order to promote a good old-fashioned conversation over a hot drink; others see the opportunity for providing co-working spaces. A photocopier, business journals and meeting rooms could be the perfect way to diversifycosta13 and embrace the much-maligned remote worker.

Costa embraces the use of social media on the go by running regular photo competitions. Consumers are encouraged to take pictures of themselves and their beloved beverages, share them online and possibly win a prize. Instagram hashtags of Costa become an endless list of lattes, cappuccinos and even seasonal cakes and tray bakes.Over the summer, Costa used their mailing list and social media devices to launch a competition to design your own iced beverage to then share with friends online to win free coffee. The campaign was simple but effective, grabbing a fair amount of social media attention that Costa now craves.

But however they take advantage of the nation’s passion for sharing online, it’s clear that the digital future is bright for coffee brands like Costa, just as long as they continue to track and optimise their presence on social media platforms.


By Content Assistant - Vick Smith - @GYSocialMedia


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