QSR Insights: Starbucks Introduces Tweet-a-coffee

With Tweet-a-coffee you can send coffee gift certificates to friends.For coffee drinkers, purchasing and giving tangible gift cards might be a thing of the past. Starbucks recently introduced Tweet-a-coffee, offering users a new way to send $5 Starbucks Card eGifts to Twitter followers and friends.

Currently in beta and only available in the U.S., users simply sync their Starbucks account with their Twitter account, then tweet the following message: “@tweetacoffee to @[Twitter username].”

While users can reward their own followers with an eGift, they can also reward and surprise complete strangers, an aspect that falls in line with the “nurture, inspire and pay-it-forward” brand mission Starbucks strongly stands behind.

In 2011, the coffee company launched a similar program allowing users to send gift cards via Facebook. And while Starbucks has far fewer Twitter followers than Facebook fans (five million compared to 35 million, respectively), the brand isn’t concerned; “I think the two platforms complement each other,” Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman told Mashable.

Brotman also commented on Twitter’s inherently mobile nature and its “ability to bridge both the online and offline worlds,” something QSR brands looking to launch similar programs should keep in mind. “It does feed into those physical offline/online moments of serendipity,” Brotman said.

The trend of sending gift cards via social media garnered most of its popularity when Facebook began offering branded gift cards this past February, with QSR brands Jamba Juice and Burger King among the most popular and most-given.

Finally, the Tweet-a-coffee program is an excellent tool for Starbucks to use to gather information about consumers.  Not only does this new program attract more users to download the Starbucks app, but it also allows Starbucks to gather email addresses and additional customer information. Tweet-a-coffee also allows the brand to become involved in the social media conversations.  This is a powerful way for a brand to be talking with the customer online opposed to just talking at the customer.

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes

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