Engaged Fans Promoting Starbucks on Facebook
The image at left is a screenshot of a Facebook application dubbed "My Starbucks." I received an invitation to join it by way of my Facebook friend, Betty. "My Starbucks" Facebook widget enables fans of Starbucks to have a conversation around their beloved brand.
It's also possible that engaged fans (like Betty) could persuade a few new folks to think about (or try) Starbucks, based on a personal endorsement. When Betty (or any trusted friend) points me to something they believe might be of interest to me, I am inclined to take a look. It's another marketing touchpoint for Starbucks. This is the power of social networking, the power of the groundswell.
The beauty of this, and the take-away point: "My Starbucks" was created by two college grad students from Wisconsin. It wasn't created by Starbucks. And it has 4,565 active users.
Repeat: Starbucks didn't hire them to do it ... or authorize them to do it. They were driven to do it on their own. And that carries far more credibility than if Starbucks created this and tried to dump it on their customer base.
Here's a bit of description from the introduction page:
About My Starbucks®
Starbucks® is moving from every street corner to a profile corner near you. My Starbucks® lets you sport your favorite drink, send drinks to your friends, and caffeinate your Facebook experience!
Update (Dec 14th)
We have been listening. There is now a drop down link on the order page to get "Advanced Options." Now there are tons more options to make your drink yours! Have fun, keep the ideas coming, but we do like to sleep some times! :-)
The developers of and this application are in no way affiliated with Starbucks®. This application is for the enjoyment of fans and customers of the company.
Supposedly, this widget enables users to order their favorite Starbucks beverage (in advance, online) via Facebook for pick-up at the Starbucks location of their choosing. From what I could see in the comments, the application still has a few technical kinks to be resolved. But who cares. In our new Web 2.0 environment, you only need to inspire some customers to become fans. Look what they can do ... to help you, or to hurt you. Starbucks has absolutely no control over this.
The point is this: Marketing geniuses around the world are learning how to tap into the power of Web 2.0 and social networks, benefiting from the groundswell!
And here's a great resource, if you'd like to learn more: Next Generation Marketing.
A fantastic new book from which to learn more: Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research.