As the specialty coffee market continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly difficult for roasters to stand out.
According to a recent study by World Coffee Portal, there are more than 430 roasters in the UK alone, each one of whom are vying for a share of the market.
This competition has led many roasters to develop their own distinct brands to differentiate themselves. They are also dipping their toes into digital marketing to extend reach, build awareness, and stay top-of-mind.
Integral to digital marketing is social media. Social media not only allows businesses to directly engage with their target audience, it also helps them cultivate a loyal customer base.
But what can roasters do to stand out on social media? And how can they build a significant following?
To find out more, I spoke with 2021 German Brewers Cup Champion and social media whizz, Nicole Battefeld-Montgomery.
The importance of social media to the coffee industry
Social media allows you to advertise your product, differentiate it, tell your brand story, and show customers why they should buy from you over your competitors.
For roasters, the value of building a social profile lies primarily in informing clients about new seasonal offers, roasting profiles, and inspiration on how to brew specific coffees. All of these things can play a part in winning market share.
“I think social media is important to any business nowadays,” says Nicole, who has built an Instagram following of more than 13,000.
“The sharp increase in e-commerce in the last two years shows that people won’t always be stepping inside your shop to buy your coffee anymore.”
In that case, how else can you communicate with your customers and target market? According to Nicole, it’s all about standing out from the crowd.
She asks: “Why is your product different from others? Who are you and why should I buy from you? These are all legitimate questions that can be answered using social media platforms.
“Social media will allow you to build and hone in on your brand, differentiate yourself from the competition and reach high numbers of people which will create awareness for your brand.”
In addition to helping you to build your brand, social media can also convey basic information like store opening hours, deals and specials, and even new product launches. This will familiarise people with your brand and make it easier for them to buy from you.
“One of the most important things that social media allows you to do is reach new people,” Nicole says. “You can reach so many people online, which will massively help you build your brand awareness.”
The more people who know you, she explains, the more people will talk about your brand.
“In time, this will lead to a surge in word of mouth recommendations. As an individual, this presents a huge opportunity to build a career in the coffee industry if you have enough substance to back the social media image you are showing.”
Know your audience, craft your content
To build a social media following, it’s important to understand your target audience and create appealing content, while still reflecting your brand’s values.
For example, Nicole says that many roasters use social media to advertise a certain lifestyle that can be associated with their brand.
Ask yourself who your band appeals to. Is it a luxury lifestyle product or something that everyone can enjoy? Then, craft your content around this and control your brand image.
It’s also important to post content that shows you have expertise about your product.
“Knowledge is key,” Nicole tells me. “Background information about the coffee is just as important as information on how to use the product, favourite brewing recipes, different techniques, and equipment.
“For example, we have a new Ethiopian filter coffee and we tried it as a V60, an Aeropress and a Kalita, and wrote about how those varying methods taste different from each other,” she says. “People seek inspiration and love reading about those things.”
Keeping your followers engaged
Gaining a loyal following on social media is not something that happens overnight. It can take months, if not years, to build an audience that not only follows your account but truly cares about your content.
However, once you’ve built up that following, it’s important to nurture it.
“I engage with my followers, post frequently, and aim to be as authentic as possible,” Nicole explains. “I get my personality across as much as I can.
“I also aim to be consistent and engaging, which can mean posting three to five interactive stories a day. This helps me stay top-of-mind and communicate with my followers.”
But there are certain areas to avoid, too. For example, Nicole says she would never post anything that’s unrelated to her career as a coffee professional as this could very quickly dilute her content.
“Staying on the topic of coffee has helped me boost my reputation as a credible professional in the industry,” she says.
“Now, my social media platform allows me to talk about social issues that I care about like promoting gender equality, as well as finding new jobs within the sector.”
Today, most coffee roasters are keen to build a strong social media following. Not only can it help improve brand loyalty, it can also provide additional value to customers, while keeping you front of mind.
However, with so much competition online, it can be difficult to retain attention and stay relevant.
With attractive coffee bags and cups, you can continuously create fresh content that resonates with your audience. Brands such as Kofra Coffee do this well with their seasonal coffee packaging that marks occasions such as Halloween, Christmas, and New Year.
At MTPak Coffee, we can help you design coffee packaging that will stand out online.
Using a range of sustainable materials, including kraft paper, PLA, and LDPE, our expert design team can ensure you showcase your coffee while preserving its freshness.
You can also choose from a range of additional components, from resealable zippers to recycling degassing valves.