Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 92 of 103

writing captions in order to organically craft a singular brand voice. As for the quality of the images them- selves, don't talk yourself out of Instagram just because you don't have a budget for a professional staff photographer. While bigger coffee businesses work with mar- keting teams and photographers to source their Instagram material, you can easily create your own consistent photos that are faithful to your brand with a phone. If you want to go a step higher, Jenna recommends a basic Cannon DSLR camera. Summer, on the other hand, says, "You can make it happen with VSCO and an iPhone." Adobe Lightroom and VSCO are preferred apps that enhance the quality of your photos. Before you upload, consider whether it's well-designed and in focus. Does it repre- sent the values of your café? Is it adding value to your followers' feeds? USI N G "S T O R I E S" Instagram Stories is a function on the app where you can post short, ephemeral videos (and photos). The content will disappear in 24 hours, but if you add it to highlighted stories it can live on forever. Stories are perfect for announcements, new product launches, and behind-the- scenes clips. Verve Coffee Roasters uses Stories to show the in-depth narratives behind their coffee-producer partnerships. You can also use Stories to promote whole bean and merchandise with the swipe-up function that will redirect your followers to your website where they can seamlessly make purchases. "We keep 'cafés' in our highlights for people who want to get a glimpse into some of our cafés at any moment," Sum- mer says. You can do a little video editing through the app, add gifs, ask questions, and have polls. You can also share real- time events in Live Stories. Instagram is a site of community sharing, and while it may seem daunting, it's a great low-cost way to build your brand and your company's community. "Be authentic, be yourself, but also listen because it's defi nitely a two-way street and people really want to be heard," Benjamin says. "People comment because they like to get a response. I didn't used to respond to comments. I respond now to every single comment, even if it's just a heart." Lots of cafés repost User Generated Content (UGC), another great way to celebrate a relationship with your follow- ers. "We love UGC," Summer says. "We collect it on the regular and we love posting it. Those are the people in there every day. Those are the people getting the awesome shots of our café." With Instagram, customer engagement can be easy, as well as a win-win for both you and them. Honor your customers with giveaways, which will boost your follower base and show appreciation for your community at the same time. You can also engage with other custom- er groups by partnering with a fellow local company for a special event or prize. Reaching out to a company you're excited about and highlighting the ways in which you're aligned introduces your coffee to their market, a whole new group of potential followers. It takes time to organically grow a following, but with so many fun features, Instagram continues to be the go-to social media plat- form for cafés to creatively and authentical- ly connect with their communities. Continued on page 91 93

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