Social media for small businesses – Coffee Shops

This is part of an ongoing series about social media and small businesses. Living in Salt Lake City, Utah I’ll be using examples from the beehive state but obviously the ideas I’ll be presenting in these
article will work anywhere.  Small businesses are the backbone of our economy so if you know any SB owners that might benefit from this article please send them a link to this information.


For the most part I like where I live. It definitely has it’s problems and has quite the controversy surrounding it currently but there is a lot of charm in this salty city. We have plenty of underground culture and a lot of it seems to revolve around the local coffee shops, so I thought it was only right that I start my new ongoing series about social media for small businesses using these bastions of caffeination.

I don’t know what it’s like in other locations around the globe but here in Salt Lake City, Utah coffee shops seem to have a theme to their clientele. Nostalgia seems to invite more of the business professional book club and student types.

Nobrow coffee attracts a bit more of the artsy / hipster crowd, and Salt Lake Coffee Break is probably the trendiest place to get your coffee. The place is usually packed on the nights and weekends with kids and students of all kinds. Most have a steady flow of customers but when I talk to the business owners (something I always try to do at some point with any local business I frequent) they all seem to have the same
concern. How to drive more business and how to market effectively online.

Most of the coffee shops have a MySpace profile or website (which I’ve listed below for reference), and that’s awesome and all but most of them don’t really leverage it very well. So outside of what we’re developing with RoyalAnts I wanted to help with a few ideas for these local shops of java love.

  • Create a Twitter account and advertise it on your MySpace account. Then get something like TweetDeck so you can see separate your DM’s, replies, etc and start taking To-Go orders from your followers. I can’t tell you how many times I wish Nostalgia or NoBrow had this kind of a setup so I could just walk in, pick up my latte, pay and go. This would be a boon to your more tech savvy, in a hurry business types.

  • If you have a social network presence, like MySpace, why not start leveraging it with some coupons? On notoriously slow days send out a “coupon” using a bulletin to your friends. Send out a message saying that from 2-5 on Tuesday anyone who comes in and says “I saw this bulletin thing on MySpace” gets $1 off a latte. Pretty soon your dull Tuesday afternoons will be booming.

  • Use your hobbies to leverage your business. Are you book addict, a philosophy nut, or a knitting superstar? Find where these groups hang out online and engage them. Then next time they want to have a meet up somewhere offer up your coffee shop. Maybe give a discount to members
    of the group during the meeting. This will expose your shop to new people and gain some new clientele based on mutual interests.

  • Are you already a social person by nature? Do you have some form of communication skills (you better if you own a business)? Know any of the other coffee shop owners around Utah? Start a group online! Make a MySpace group for the owners of local coffee shops and then invite them
    all to join and talk shop. Once you get your group going start having weekly or bi-weekly meetings at your shop, or even rotate with the other owners of local coffee shops. This is a great way to meet other local business people and trade war stories and strategies used in your specific business.

  • Utilize the social networking platform of your choice to track down local talent to perform at your shop. I’ve seen plenty of great acts like Calico at local coffee shops. Finding them on a social network has 2 main
    advantages in that you will be able to tell all your friends about the performer and when they’ll be there and so will the performer. Doing this you have just leveraged 2 groups to help bring in the dough, your friends and theirs.

These are just 5 quick ideas I came up with for these purveyors of delicious trimethylxanthine. What ideas do you have? How would you use social media to help a coffee shop market itself online? Leave a comment below with your ideas.

Thank you for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters
If you know a coffee shop owner please send this article their way,
thanks. If you are a coffee shop owner please feel free to contact me
with any questions you might have and if you need some help with any of
these ideas I’m usually willing work in trade 😉

  • Pingback: Use iPhone app CoffeeBuzz to energize your business —()

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