Having helped turn specialty coffee into a tempting and permissible daily indulge, Starbucks has become a ubiquitous part of today’s on-the-go, cosmopolitan culture. In 2018, the Seattle-based drink giant generated $24.7 billion dollars in revenue, helping to make it the second most valuable worldwide fast-food brand—exceeded only by McDonald’s.
As the coffee chain market leader, Starbucks not only understands the food and drink industry, it’s also an expert at reaching and communicating with its customers as well. Using influencer marketing as one of its advertising methods, Starbucks has repeatedly created successful marketing campaigns across top social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram using Starbucks influencers.
The specialty coffee market that Starbucks helped to create has become increasingly sophisticated and competitive, with brands like Dunkin’, known traditionally for its donuts, moving into the coffee market. In a bid to satisfy the demands of coffee-drinkers looking for a more artisanal “cup of Joe,” Starbucks launched its own premium brand, Starbucks Reserve, in 2014. Serving hand-crafted drinks within immersive “Roasteries,” Starbucks Reserve has reasserted the Seattle-based company’s dedication to, and innovation within, the coffee marketplace.
Currently, there exists a several-million follower difference between the accounts of Starbucks’ flagship brand and its select offering on Instagram. To help spread the word about a Starbucks Reserve Roastery opening in Chelsea on December 14, 2018, the coffee producer partnered with three New York City bloggers notable for their style and taste to run a successful Starbucks influencer marketing campaign.
Combined results for eight sampled posts by three different Starbucks influencers:
Alyssa Lenore is a longtime New Yorker who has a special reverence for her Filipino culture. Using social media to connect with people from around the world, Lenore is a go-to resource in categories such as fashion, food, and travel. Publishing long-form content on her blog, Styled & Smitten, Lenore’s personal Instagram account broadcasts out to more than 132,000 followers.
Lenore’s Starbucks Reserve post features a cropped picture of the smiling blogger enjoying a latte and chocolate cornetti. Citing the coffee-themed tones of her outfit in the Instagram caption, Lenore also noted that the NYC roastery was “Not your average Starbucks.”
Collecting 2,869 likes and 97 comments, Lenore’s post achieved an engagement rate of 2.25%.
With 270,000 followers on Instagram, Will Taylor had the highest follower-count of the sampled Starbucks influencers promoting the new roastery. Taylor started publishing popular style and design blog Bright Bazaar in 2009 where different aspects of the creative consultant’s life and passions intersect.
Taylor’s Starbucks Reserve post featured the lifestyle blogger seated at the bar, enjoying a drink in his “best plaid pants.” In his conversational caption, Taylor calls the Reserve roastery “a theatre of coffee,” remarking on its many edible and visual delights.
Amassing 10,160 likes and 495 comments, Taylor’s Instagram post achieved an engagement rate of 3.95%.
Chelsea Henriquez, better known to her followers as Chelsea as of Late, is a Latin American New Yorker and blogger who documents her interests and adventures across a range of social media platforms. Style, fashion, and travel are strong features on Chelsea’s Instagram profile, which reaches 47,400 followers. Her blog offers more detailed posts, including reviews, “top” lists, as well as tips and DIY advice.
In her Starbucks Reserve post, Chelsea was featured at the bar enjoying a drink against a warm bokeh of the expansive space. In her caption, Chelsea describes being cozy and drinking a unique “Pantheon Blend.”
Chelsea averaged the highest engagement rate among the sampled posts by Starbucks influencers on the Starbucks Reserve influencer marketing campaign. Her post garnered 2,825 likes and 161 comments, resulting in an engagement rate of 6.30%.