Moyesa & Co.
Social-first marketing agency, specialising in social media management and video production

The Market Blog

Coffee Brands + Social Media Presence


In light of the national day of an international commodity, coffee, we decided to have a look into three of the biggest coffee brands in the UK and the current direction of their social media presence.  All three brands are big players in the world of coffee, with each putting great emphasis and focus on retail experiences. They all have a slightly similar mission of which they aim to be an asset to consumer lifestyles. Costa Coffee led the pack in 2014 by introducing the loyalty card app Costa Coffee Club, which allowed customers to be rewarded for their continuous purchases. Starbucks took the idea one step further by enabling customers to also pre-order and collect their beverages. While the battle of the coffee brands appears to be “equal” in-store and through marketing incentives, surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly it is clear who has won the battle of social media. All have a very distinguishable social media presence regarding audience engagement on their various platforms.

It's All In The Numbers

You might have guessed it, Starbucks is way ahead of the game. With over 62.7 million followers across their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram page. That would be the equivalent to 96% of the UK population following Starbucks on at least one of each of those platforms. Nothing short of amazing in terms of brand awareness, it’s safe to say Starbucks has a healthy lead and their engagement definitely shows for it. Costa Coffee follows far behind in this mini league table with a respectable comparison of just over 2 million in total, while Caffe Nero has plenty of room for growth with a following across all platforms of approximately 197,575. With all of this being said, there’s definitely audience demographics untapped by the other two that are screaming opportunity for the self-described authentic Italian coffee brand. We can only imagine the many ways that alone could set Caffe Nero apart! So the big question is, how can Caffe Nero drive audience engagement online, or better yet, convert audiences from competing brands?


Let's Talk Content Strategy

One thing for sure that both Starbucks and Costa do skilfully, is tap into mass culture. From seasonal drinks to seasonal campaigns, they actively involve themselves in what their customers care about outside of their coffee. Throughout September, Starbucks already rolled out content to spark the hype around their autumn coffee drinks such as their infamous, Pumpkin Spice Latte with the hashtag #PSLPumpkinHatch on Twitter, ahead of Halloween. Costa took a more subtle approach in June, showing support to the celebration of Pride Month in London with a snapshot on their Instagram. The key behind the content strategy is, what your customers care about matters more than what you care about. A quick comparison would immediately highlight how Caffe Nero ought to focus on emphasising their Italian identity, but in a way that puts audiences at the centre of their content. We understand that in contrast to the other two, Caffe Nero isn’t a brand that shouts at its customers. It has a classy approach to branding which is definitely commendable and all the more reason to provide audiences more value to invest their time into engaging with the brand online. 

Don't Fix It If It Isn't Broken

All of this may not seem to matter because, in terms of retail experience, Caffe Nero have a strong foothold. However, now is the perfect time to translate their great retail experience into a great online experience. The Caffe Nero experience should be strong across all touchpoints, consistency is key and we can’t stress enough the importance of strong and consistent content strategy throughout all social media platforms.

The perfect recipe, or should we say blend, from here would an epic social media campaign to re-launch their presence, tapping into unique consumer values through time relevant and engagement driving content.

Of course,  all while maintaining the classically loved brand heritage. That should certainly stay the same, as the saying goes “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken”. Don’t get us wrong we’re not saying they should be like Starbucks or Costa, but there’s no harm in Caffe Nero fighting their corner right?


Prisca Moyesa