By: Bethany Ramos

It’s no secret that Starbucks is one of the top corporations in America, and their success didn’t happen by acc

ident. Starbucks has always stayed ahead of the curve when it comes to off-line and online marketing, and we as e-commerce business owners can learn a thing or two from their approach to social media.

The majority of Starbucks customers order directly through franchise locations, yet Starbucks still has a solid online presence and following that is rapidly growing. Why is that? The truth is that an online following can benefit any physical retail business, as well as an e-commerce website, to ensure customer loyalty and draw even more customers to your brand.

Here are a few top tips that you can learn from Starbucks’ approach to social media marketing via Facebook:

Default Page: The Starbucks default page on Facebook focuses on the Starbucks Card. Why is that? Well, for one thing, the Starbucks Card can be ordered, filled, and used online, so it is Starbucks’ primary focus in social media. On the main landing page of the Starbucks Facebook page, Facebook users can gift a Starbucks Card via Facebook or manage their own card accounts. This approach is simply brilliant because, with the click of a button, any Facebook user can purchase a new Starbucks Card online to give to a friend without leaving the Facebook website.

Global Awareness: Starbucks also has an “Around the World” tab on their Facebook page to promote their activities worldwide. Since social media is primarily driven by user awareness, this is an excellent concept to showcase Starbucks’ global impact and involvement in charities. Starbucks also takes it further by using the Events tab in Facebook to promote their new specials and product launches to generate interest in the Facebook community. Facebook fans of Starbucks have the opportunity to virtually attend Starbucks events launching new products or concepts.

Content Promotion: Starbucks constantly updates specials and new product information and facilitates conversation with fans by asking questions directly to customers. This is a hugely successful component of social media marketing for any e-commerce or retail business. Starbucks has generated a serious following for their brand with over 20 million fans by constantly engaging and interacting with customers online.

Last but not least, Starbucks has also used the driving force of social media to create their own community called My Starbucks Idea. There, customers are prompted to submit their own ideas about Starbucks that will be taken into consideration by the company. The real kicker is that Starbucks actually uses these customer ideas, so customers are encouraged to continue to contribute to the brand. What we as e-commerce business owners can take away from the Starbucks social media example is that we must engage with customers as often as possible. When a customer actually sees you listen, respond, and answer one of their questions or comments online, you will solidify customer loyalty and create a positive reputation that will spread like wildfire online.

Bethany Ramos is an expert in Internet and social media marketing, and she also co-owns her own e-commerce website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Bunn home coffee maker, check out Bethany Ramos' website today!