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Is social media worth it for a coffee shop?

Is social media a good investment for my coffee shop?

I know what you're thinking. "My social following loves my brand. Our following is so strong."


I'm calling BS here.


It's not the most appealing advice, but let's cut through the fog of digital marketing worship and get real about social media for your coffee shop.


The prevailing wisdom shoves social media down your throat as the elixir of modern business success. As if beautiful pictures or semi-relevant memes are a true marketing strategy.


Let's pause and inject some skepticism into this conversation.


What's the actual ROI of your TikTok dances, cute Instagram posts, and sassy snaps?


Measuring social media's direct impact on sales is like trying to make a dollar by rubbing two nickels together —frustrating and ultimately fruitless.

What's the ROI on social media?


Now that I've ruffled some feathers, I want to say that I'm NOT against social media. BUT it's marketing channel that is tough to measure, and honestly, tough to get people to purchase through.

Before you budget out for a social media manager, ask the only questions that matter:

Is this thing on?

Is pumping cash into the social media slot machine the smartest play?

Look, I'm not here to trash your organic social efforts. They have their charm. They can bring brand awareness and community announcements.

But if growth is what you're after, social media might not deserve the bulk of your budget (or time and effort).

Test and invest in channels that work


It's time to explore other arenas that might not be as sexy but have proven their worth in gold for driving real, tangible business outcomes:


  1. Event Marketing  Transform your coffee shop into a community hub, not just another pin on the map. Events draw people in—real people, not just "followers".  

  2. Product Innovation Stocking retail coffee bags (online too!), providing lunch offerings, create a brand new coffee product, or even branded merchandise can create real value that no Instagram story can match. It's about giving people opportunities to spend more in your shop. Solve more problems, meet more needs.  

  3. Local Media Yes, old school, but guess what? It works. Local ads can reach the demographic that actually lives, works, and drinks coffee in your area. Newspaper and magazine ads, school/organization sponsorships, and showing up at other events cement your brand in your target audience's memory.  

  4. Email Marketing Direct, personal, and cost-effective. Your promotions land right in their inbox, not lost in a sea of memes and cat videos. The best part is that you get to keep that email list forever, not having to jump on the new, trending platform every couple of years and rebuild your audience from scratch.  

  5. Loyalty Programs Reward the regulars. It's business 101. By now you probably know that it's much easier to convince someone who's been in your shop to come back than someone brand new to come in for the first time. Keep them coming back, and they'll bring friends.

Email marketing in action


I've been working with a bakery for a little while and they had close to 20K followers on Instagram.


The husband-and-wife team made tons of content. Planning, filming, editing, captioning, etc.


It's a lot.


When they hired me on, I asked about their email marketing strategy and was met with blank stares.


Here's the wild thing – they had an email list already!


They'd been collecting emails from customers who place an order, but simply never marketed towards these folks again.


I created a strategy, routine, and template for them to start email marketing to their list with a big leap: upping one of their events from a few times per year to twice per month!


They didn't think it'd be possible to sell these additional events through social media – I think they were right.


But email... well, it went beautifully.


They opened a new channel to sell more of their most profitable offering.


They've been selling more from their email list than they ever thought they could with social media.

Should I quit social media for my coffee shop?


In essence, while social media can narrate your brand story, don't let it be the only story.


Diversify your playbook. And don't expect social engagement to translate into coffee shop sales.


Real growth comes from real interactions, innovations, and investments in strategies that move beyond the screen.


A mantra I say often: "A big social media audience is nice, but sales is better."


Your coffee shop deserves more than just digital applause—it deserves a full house, every day.


If you have an established social presence already – great. Keep going. But if you want to grow your revenue, try one of those other channels first before putting more of your hard-earned cash into social media.

Your challenge

Run a social media audit.

Record how much time, money, and effort (however you want to quantify it) you spend on social media for your business.

Then, ask yourself if you can redirect some of those resources towards one or more of the marketing channels I listed above.

That's it and have a great week!

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