Gimme! Coffee, the New York-based coffee roaster and retailer is about more than just coffee beans. The operation touts coffee as an art, something to be cherished and crafted, and is using social media to get the word out.
With a total of six storefront locations, a roasting facility, and about 75 employees, Gimme! Coffee uses social media to promote its coffee and educate customers. I spoke with CEO and Founder Kevin Cuddeback to learn more.
Using Social Media Makes Businesses Grow
Gimme! Coffee uses several tools to educate and engage with customers, including social networks, a blog, photos, a daily RSS feed and a monthly e-mail newsletter.
Cuddeback explained that this is a low-cost way to have more targeted communication and engagement with customers. “I think we would be living very much in the past. I see it as this is part of the information age shaking up commerce,” he said. “We’d be fools for not embracing it.”
Cuddeback is not alone in this assertion; findings from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth show social media continues to be an influential force for businesses. Ninety-one percent of Inc. 500 respondents are using at least one social media tool in 2009, that’s up from 77 percent from the survey results in 2008. Fifty-two percent of the Inc. 500 companies are using Twitter for their business. Forty-three percent of the 2009 Inc. 500 (A group of the fastest-growing companies within the United States) said social media was “very important” to their business/marketing strategy, according to the study.
Content Educates Fans, Followers
Gimme! Coffee’s blog is the hub of company news, photos, and how-to information. Cuddeback recognizes the importance of social media to their web presence. “Our Web site is definitely growing sales wise and traffic wise.” Blog posts reflect that. Some post topics include: an explainer on how to use the Clever Dripper product, an interview with the company’s master roaster of nearly 10 years who recently retired, and step-by-step photos and instructions on cooking with coffee.
Several Gimme! Coffee employees write blog posts, including Cuddeback. He said educating the customer base is very important, but he added that it appeals to a wide variety of priorities in their audience and not everything is about the technical background of coffee processing. By having the social media presence and the blog, there’s a lot of potential to educate.
But the company’s presence on Twitter and Facebook are more than just an extension of its blog. Gimme! Coffee’s Facebook Fan Page, which launched in June 2009, includes posts from the company’s blog, but fosters a separate conversation about that same blog content.
Cuddeback said Gimme! Coffee has 10 years of over-the-counter experience with customer interaction, and admits they’re still trying to figure out Twitter. But the company is gaining experience.
@gimmecoffee, launched in May 2008, is a mix of links to latest blog posts, photos, user engagement, details on Gimme! Coffee brews, grand openings of new locations, retweets of @gimmecoffee mentions and reminders about the featured artists of the month showing at their cafes. The company has also given nods on Follow Friday to favorite New York roasters.
“You want people to be inspired with your Twitter update,” he said. Gimme! Coffee does that by keeping the Twitter account fresh and using it as a tool to demonstrate that they are personally available to other Twitter users.