Author Archives: destein525

Starbucks vs. Peet’s on Twitter

Let’s compare and contrast the success of the Twitter marketing efforts of Starbucks and Peet’s using a couple of popular social media analytics tools: Topsy and Klout.

According to Topsy, the @ mention volume of @starbucks is much higher, with 146k mentions over the past month, vs. 4.2k for @peets_tweets. Starbucks also have a higher sentiment score of 90, vs. 62 for Peet’s. It was difficult to find any negative tweets for Peet’s, however, so the difference may be due to idiosyncrasies of Topsy’s sentiment algorithm.

Peets Topsy results:


Starbucks Topsy results:


According to Klout, Starbucks and Peet’s have very similar influence scores, which is a good sign for Peet’s given its much lower volume of mentions on Twitter.



Because the algorithms used by Topsy and Klout are a black box, it’s difficult to reconcile Peet’s relatively low sentiment score on Topsy with its relatively high influence score on Klout. As a marketer for Peet’s or Starbucks, the best strategy is probably to monitor & diagnose how these scores change over time vs. competitors rather than place too much stock in their absolute value at a single point in time.


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Introducing Puget Sound Youth Enrichment


Puget Sound Youth Enrichment’s mission is to help Seattle area youth find fun and enriching extracurricular activities that match their passion!

We promotes organizations that offer opportunities such as:

  • Volunteering
  • Active lifestyle
  • Special skills development
  • Education
  • Enhancing social skills
  • Music, Arts and culture

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Activity Tree

Activity Tree is an organization that supports a cause similar to that of Puget Sound Youth Enrichment: providing ideas for classes, sports, and other activities to enrich kids.

 Does it look like they follow a content calendar?

No, their posts on both their blog and Facebook are fairly freeform, arriving at irregular intervals and covering a variety of topics, from inspirational quotes to links to kids’ activities.

 How many people contribute to the social channels?

It’s not clear exactly how many contribute, but it may be just a single person given the fairly low volume of content.

 What is the message they are getting across?

Inspire kids to stay enriched by finding activities they are passionate about.

 Who are they trying to reach?

The target audience is mainly parents.

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Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe’s: How do their social media strategies compare?

Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are both highly successful chains that have carved out a unique niche for themselves in the grocery market industry. Let’s compare and contrast how each company uses social media to bolster its overall strategy.

Whole Foods

Whole foods has an extremely comprehensive set of social channels:

  • Twitter: 3.6M followers, of which 1M joined in the 1st year of opening the account.
  • Facebook: 1.5M likes.
  • Flickr
  • Blog on
  • Get Satisfaction: for customer feedback and support.
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

Here are the key ways in which Whole Foods uses its channels…

Local Social Media Presence

While Whole Foods operates central accounts on each of the social media platforms mentioned above, it encourages each of its branches also to run its own social media channels. For example, the Bellevue Wholefoods Facebook page has about 3k likes. The store uses the channel to share local news at the store, including free samples, seasonal food, and sales.

Whole Foods also has Twitter feeds customized to specialized interests, including a feed for cheese lovers curated by the company’s chief cheese procurer.

A Specific Purpose for Each Channel

Whole Foods does not mirror its content across all its channels. For example on Facebook, the majority of its content gives recipe advice to customers. It also announces product arrivals and sales, and a photo accompanies almost every post.

Whole Foods uses Twitter largely for customer dialog and support. According to the Smartblog on Social Media, 85% of the company’s Twitter traffic is responses to customers. Only 10% of tweets are content based, and 5% are promotional.

WholeFoods uses Get Satisfaction, an online support community, to resolve customers’ questions and support issues.

Unique Content with Authentic Personality

Whole Foods’ YouTube channel is full of professionally produced videos that are full of fun and personality. For example, a short black and white comedy film “Mango Madness Sweeps the Nation!” indirectly promotes the current crop of mangoes in stores. Another video with over 125k views is a series of interviews with kids about their quirky eating habits. Whole Foods creates a very likable corporate personality with such content. Because they are cute and funny, these videos also have a decent chance of going viral.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s has no company managed social media presence at all!

Its newsletter the Fearless Flyer (mailed to customers in both print and electronic format) is its main direct method of customer outreach. The flyer includes recipe ideas and news about new and seasonal products available in the stores.

For its social media presence, Trader Joe’s relies entirely on fan generated pages, such as Trader Joe’s Fan, which has half a million likes. The fact that Trader Joe’s relies on its fans for social media is a testament to the word-of-mouth appeal of the chain. As a former employee pointed out, however, the company’s lack of a public voice can be damaging in the time of a crisis. For example, Trader Joe’s had a series of food recalls in 2012. In part because the company had no good way to shape the public image of the stories, most mentions of the company in mainstream media that year were negative. A recall of Sunland peanut butter (which is sold in many grocery stores) was falsely dubbed the “Trader Joe’s peanut butter recall” in the media, because Trader Joe’s was a recognizable brand and an easy target for blame.

Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe’s: Which Strategy is Best?

There could hardly be a greater contrast between the prolific social media presence of Whole Foods and the intentional social media silence of Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s fan-generated content perhaps reinforces its image as a chain with a cult following. However, it can leave Trader Joe’s blindsided by brand damaging events like food recalls. By delegating social media responsibility out to each of its stores, Whole Foods achieves a great balance of centrally managed customer support and locally relevant content.

— Daniel S.


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