Coffee Shop Communication: Social Media & Engagement
Division of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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Spending money at locally-owned businesses can create a multiplier effect in communities. For every $100 spent at a retail chain, there is a $14 return to the community; for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, there is a $45 return (Ligos, 2017). When local businesses in the community prosper, the local economy reaps the benefits. No single small business is representative of all small businesses because business goals and operations vary greatly depending on the industry. For this study, locally-owned coffee shops (Emy J’s, Ruby Coffee Roasters and Zest) in Stevens Point, Wisconsin will be the focus. The local coffee shops mentioned above, like many independent businesses, face challenges: 50 to 74% of coffee shops fail within the first five years (Lindenberg, 2018). Small budgets, an inability to effectively engage on social media, and competition from well-known coffee chains like Starbucks are just a handful of the threats to locally-owned coffee shops (Lepkowska-White & Parsons 2019). Using Facebook and Instagram to engage with customers could give local coffee shops a competitive edge and help combat some of the threats they face (Dholakia & Durham, 2010). Unfortunately, many coffee shop owners and managers, like most small business owners, do not have the proper budget or skill set to reach their full potential on Facebook and Instagram. In fact, social media marketing efforts by small businesses have been characterized as informal, unstructured, spontaneous and reactive (Reijonen, 2010). Despite this, there is room for locally-owned small businesses to compete with larger organizations using social media (He, Wang, Chen, & Zha, 2017). Using a social media audit, this project will give insight into what type of content garners high engagement for local coffee shops. The results of this study will be a set of 3 recommendations for locally-owned coffee shops to enhance their social media presence and competitiveness.