Coffee Shop Social Media Tip: Everything Is Marketable
We all know that feeling.
“Alright… gotta post something on social media. But what…?”
You look around at all the usual suspects: retail coffee bags, a freshly-poured latte, a beautiful loose leaf tea. Been there, done that (yesterday).
Even if you use a structured system like Erica Escalante’s grid panels, you can never fully insulate yourself from the process of snapping a picture, writing a caption, and trying to promote the brand.
When I managed the shop, I hated doing social media. It’s not my thing. But when I learned this lesson, it took all the pressure away, made posting more fun, and worked — really well.
I’ll cut to the chase.
It’s Not Supposed To Be Perfect
We’re all posting beautiful images of essential coffee shop stuff — coffee and latte art and such — to promote our businesses, but it’s all fairly predictable.
People love the unpredictable, authentic, the things only you can create.
It’s the quirky sideshows, the behind-the-scenes fun facts that give your casual followers a reason to become more emotionally attached.
You’re scrolling through a sea of to-go coffee cup images (like always). All of the sudden, you come across an image of a guy sipping espresso with a horrified look on his face. You can tell… he’s about to spit it out.
True story: that’d be Mike McKim of Cuvée Coffee, sipping an espresso shot made from ground red peppers. Yikes! Oh, and he’s killing it on TikTok with hundreds of thousands of views.
Perfect, predictable social media posts are great for mindless double-clicks. It’s all the other stuff that really captures your attention and creates a connection.
And with that in mind…
Everything Is Marketable
If authentic, goofy, and behind-the-scenes type posts can be just as valid as Pinterest-perfect posts, very little is truly off-limits as long as it doesn’t conflict with your core brand personality, style, and values.
(Qualification: nobody wants to see your grease trap.)
This opens up a world of possibility, because your eye doesn’t have to turn to coffee bags or espresso drinks every time you whip out your phone anymore.
Let’s get creative about what else you can feature.
- Show off your gear. Have a slick espresso machine? Instead of featuring the shot, why not give a heartfelt shoutout to the craftsmanship behind the machine itself? Help customers see that it’s not just a tool — it’s part of the magic of coming to your shop. This also works with toasters, panini makers, grinders… you name it.
- Get the baker covered in flour. Baking is messy work, but most pastry-related posts leave out all the patience and precision that goes into it. Show customers what it takes to transform a pile of raw ingredients into their beloved muffin.
- Cleaning. Yes, cleaning. I wouldn’t reveal anything that’s gross or disturbing, but a cute image of a barista delicately wiping down a table or counter — especially in pandemic-times — instills trust and goodwill with customers, since they know they can trust you to keep a tidy shop.
- A technology upgrade. Anytime you adopt some new technology (POS, mobile app, website), make a big deal about it. It’s not just a boring tech post. It’s you being proactive about creating better, faster, smoother experiences for your customer.
- Lighting. Coffee shops have the most badass lighting, and it’s a shame nobody leverages it on social media. Weave a story about why your lighting is so incredible. Explain how natural light makes your space clean and clear. Describe your mood lighting rig and how it fits into your brand mission.
- Feature your favorite chair. I’m not kidding. In the shop I used to manage, there was one particular chair that had its own vibe. It was tucked in a corner, next to a small lamp and side table. It faced the front of the shop, full of natural light. Everyone had to walk by it to get to other seats, and many people would briefly sit in the adjacent chair before moving on to another table. It was the community chair, because people who sat there often ended up in brief conversations with other shop visitors.
Your shop is interesting. You’ve put thought into how it looks, feels, and creates. Don’t sell yourself short on social media.
Everything is marketable.
Hey 👋 I'm Garrett Oden
Freelance Coffee Marketer
I'm a coffee industry native who works with coffee brands around the world to create and execute captivating marketing strategies.
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