Tweet-a-Coffee allows consumers to give a coffee to another Twitter user with a tweet. After synching their Twitter account to their Starbucks account, consumers tweet to @tweetacoffee and include the Twitter handle of the user they want to send a coffee to. That person then receives a five dollar electronic gift card, charged to the sender’s Starbucks account, that they can redeem in store by printing it, showing it on their phone or loading it on the Starbucks app.
In a release, Richard Burjaw , vice-president of Starbucks Coffee Canada, said, “Tweet-a-coffee is a brand new way for our customers to connect with friends and followers and share the gift of Starbucks instantly. Whether it’s to say #thank you, #congratulations or simply #justbecause we’re thrilled to enable the ability for customers to spread some kindness.”
Kirstine Stewart, head of Twitter Canada, added, “We’re excited for Starbucks to bring this program to Canada. Shared experiences, be they a television show, a sporting event, or a thoughtful gift, are at the heart of the Twitter experience and to what it means to be a modern brand.”
The program initially launched in the U.S. in October 2013, earning Starbucks a great deal of press as well as a significant bump in sales. About five weeks after the American launch, the initiative had prompted $180,000 in purchases by 27,000 consumers, according to a report by Keyhole, which tracks conversations on social media.
The real benefit for Starbucks, however, wasn’t just sales. By participating in the program, consumers voluntarily synching their Twitter account to their Starbucks account – linking up their social presence, mobile device and credit card – give the company a much fuller picture of who they are and how they spend.
As Keyhole points out, it’s also validation that social media can have a very direct return on investment. With an initiative like this, Starbucks can track sales and compare them to the investment it made in Tweet-a-Coffee.