Tweeting the bean

14 May 2010

Written by: Kelly Theobald

What coffee do they drink on Network Ten’s show Neighbours? C’mon, it’s been on at 6:30 every evening for the past twenty-five years and they spend at least two scenes at the café in every episode.

It’s Genovese, and it is a clever way to market a product that mostly moves by word of mouth.

There is not a lot of advertising surrounding coffee. Apart from McDonald’s McCafé and the occasional love story intertwined with a latte-art heart on a Gloria Jeans commercial, coffee is such a quick, routine grab that to go out of your way for one requires a more intimate endorsement.

I go to places that are recommended by friends; people that have been there and experienced all that the beans and baristas have to offer. They are the best coffees, because my friends know me and they know what I like.

But with more cafés joining the social media stage by tweeting and hiring professional bloggers to sing of sweet beans, where to get a good coffee has never been so readily at our fingertips

St. Ali, one of Melbourne’s most successful cafés, hired reputable blogger Ed Charles a little while back to video blog, or vlog, all things newsworthy about their growing business. To supplement this, they regularly use the micro-blogging site, Twitter, to re-tweet clever 140 character promotions which usually turn viral.

Last week, they tweeted: “Roasters ready. Kitchen ready. Baristas ready. Floor ready. St Ali is ready for you. Coffee subscription to whoever mentions this tweet 1st.”

Eight other people and I re-tweeted the dare. Who won? Absolutely no idea, but I have nearly 100 followers and if they ever look at what I have to say, they now have St. Ali in their vocabulary.

And so on for the eight others that thought they were up early enough to catch the 8:03 am tweet.

Other coffee affiliates that tweet good bean are Market Lane, Seven Seeds, Melbourne Coffee Review and Stumptown.

It’s so simple; follow a couple cafés, maybe a barista or two and the coffee community is on your screen whenever you log onto Twitter. It is a hell of a lot cheaper for cafes than paying for a thirty second ad spot or even a product placement on a popular sitcom for that matter.

A step beyond that is to actually sell coffee on the networking site, which is what a US based roasting company has recently engaged in.

Their Twitter alias is Atomic_Cafe and they are a micro-roaster in Massachusetts. Although they have a site for their company listed, it has been “under construction” for the past month.

Atomic_Cafe has been using Twitter to conduct business, I assume until their website is all sorted and functioning.

Recent Tweets include: “you bet bro let me know what you want for coffee your address and if you want it whole or ground, will ship it out Monday”

And: “Just brought in a classic Guatemala Antigua (la flor) coming soon to an airpot near you…….”

The fact that the social media airwaves are perpetuating this word of mouth and movement offline is happening, is good enough proof for me that you can be successful even if you don’t have a stake in one of the most popular television shows in Australian history.

The people you follow on Twitter are usually the people you want to hear from. And just like I do with my friends, I’ll take a coffee suggestion from any of them.

Megan Lodwick is a Master of Global Communications Student at La Trobe University. This piece was first published on her blog, For the Love of Beans!