Starbucks’ Community Management Skills

Starbucks Responds to Customers Partaking in Social Media Backlash Over New Drink

Last week, Starbucks rolled out a somewhat unconventional new type of coffee and people are not too pleased. Demonstrating effective community management skills, the multinational coffeehouse chain has recently been interacting and engaging with their (typically) loyal following.

For context, the new coffee and olive oil mixture – which Starbucks has branded as Oleato – was unveiled at a dinner at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan. Strategically on the first day of Italian fashion week, the dinner was invitation-only and in attendance was Anna Wintour, editor and chief of Vogue magazine, and featured a performance by Lizzo. The night finished with the guests tasting Oleato in the form of an espresso martini. 

The coffee was available for the public to enjoy on Wednesday and, while it’s still too early to see what those that have tasted it think, the speculations on Starbucks’ social media, and Instagram in particular, are quite critical. Many customers expressed their frustrations in the comments criticising Starbucks for not introducing more sugar-free syrups and flavours to their menu, and instead creating a coffee and olive oil mixture that “no one asked for.” Starbucks’ social media team engaged with these outraged customers, fighting fire with warm, understanding replies.

[Image Creds: Starbucks Instagram Comments]

While an overwhelming majority of the comments were negative, some users were looking forward to tasting the coffee and olive oil combination. Similarly, Starbucks were on hand to respond, giving the brand a human, relatable online presence.

[Image Creds: Starbucks Instagram Comments]

Whatever your opinion is on the controversial ‘Oleato’, this is a strong example of how to interact as a brand, engaging with your community – as best practice – when dealing with both positive and negative sentiment online.

Check out our latest social short here!

  • Outstanding Agency! I've been working with Influence Digital and they consistently impress. Their expert team, clear communication, and innovative approach make them invaluable partners. Highly recommend!Alvaro Lopez, Primavera Sound
  • Across Paid Social and Creative, ID are experts in their field. Their collaborative approach, expert insights, strategic optimisation and passion for our business have been pivotal to the success of countless major film releases over the years.Chris Besseling, eOne Films
  • From straightforward project management and scheduling to more creative ideas, Influence Digital are flexible, innovative and adaptable. I am always grateful for the support and incredible experience.Niko Michault, Push Music Management (Jack Savoretti)
  • It has been the biggest pleasure to work with Influence Digital, both as a team and also as individuals. They’ve felt like an extension of our team and I’m so grateful for it. What I especially appreciate is their ongoing motivation to make things better. They’ve set a very high benchmark for me.Sophie Rix, The Prince’s Trust
  • We were very fortunate to have had Influence Digital involved in promoting the P!nk Summer Carnival 2023 shows in the UK. They managed the campaign throughout and ensured we achieved the results we were after. It is always a great pleasure to work with the talented Influence Digital team.Ben Martin, Marshall Arts (P!nk and Elton John)
  • Influence Digital have a fantastic and dynamic team who truly understand their client’s needs. Having worked with a number of agencies, it’s great to come across one who genuinely feels like they’re part of your team. They’re highly collaborative and ultimately get things done and deliver results.Tom Noeding, RS Group
  • Influence were and continue to be paramount to the success of a number of projects across the ATC roster. They are brilliant creative thinkers, always on the ball, understanding of the artist's vision and a joy to work with.Jai Shaw, ATC Management
  • Influence Digital has really helped us reach our digital marketing goals. They are experienced, attentive and effective, and have proven to be an important asset in our organisation.Naoise Kavanagh, Jigsaw
  • Influence Digital have been a crucial part of the Anjunabeats and Above & Beyond story for over 15 years, and we hugely appreciate the cutting edge expertise and sage advice they have given us during that time.Tony McGuinness, Anjunabeats / Above & Beyond