No matter where you go, it seems there’s always some serious brand loyalty for the area’s favorite coffee.
When it comes to coffee drinkers, the love of their favorite brands is powerful, and that love comes out in the form of social media follows, likes, comments, and shares. Who among us doesn’t eagerly await their favorite coffee chain’s announcement of their fall flavors as summer comes to an end, keeping a careful eye on their social media pages for the big news?
We love seeing our favorite coffee brands online, whether it’s because of their new offerings, behind-the-scenes content with master baristas, or something else entirely. Coffee brands just seem to know how to talk to their customers, but some coffee companies definitely speak that language more clearly than others. Let’s get into some of the best-performing coffee brands on social media and how they’re standing out online.
The Four Best Coffee Brands on Social Media
Best Overall: Philz Coffee
What Makes Them Stand Out: Understanding each social media platform
Philz Coffee had one of the best performances when it came to the rankings of the best coffee brands on social media. Philz came in second on both Facebook and Instagram, third on Twitter, and first on TikTok. What was most impressive was that Philz demonstrated a profound understanding of what gets engagement on each of these four social networks.
Over on TikTok, where the brand scored the highest marks, Philz focused on behind-the-scenes content. According to our Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, the food and beverage industry, in particular, saw great success with content hashtagged #BehindTheScenes, demonstrating that people want to see how their favorite foods and drinks get made and get a glimpse behind the curtain.
Grab the full 2023 Benchmark ReportDownload the report now
However, our previous report on the top 100 beauty brands on social media found that food and beverage isn’t the only industry benefiting from behind-the-scenes content. This report found that TikTok loves these types of videos, regardless of the industry putting the video out.
It’s no wonder why Philz’s TikTok with the highest engagement rate between September 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023, was a video showing a barista making one of their most popular beverages, the Iced Coffee Rosé. The post generated an engagement rate of 75%, nearly 11x the average engagement rate of the food and beverage industry on TikTok.
Over on Instagram, Philz is scoring high marks due to their frequent use of Reels. According to our Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, Reels were the top-performing type of content for the food and beverage industry, despite much of the industry posting static photos more often. Philz shared 53 Reels during this time. Their top three posts during this time period in terms of engagement were Reels.
Over on Facebook and Twitter, Philz used similar tactics. The coffee company used the social media platforms to share updates about their business and information about deals and other goings-on at Philz.
According to Sprout Social’s research, older generations are more likely to use Facebook. Facebook is the top social media platform for Gen Xers, while 92% of Baby Boomers also have a Facebook account. Many Gen Xers like using Facebook to find information on sales and discounts, while Baby Boomers enjoy using the platform to learn about what’s happening at a company and get the lowdown on new offerings. Both demographics do not like direct ads and can be turned off from a company if their Facebook content is too bogged down with advertisements and irrelevant content.
Baby Boomers’ desire for newsworthy content might be why one of the brand’s top Facebook posts during this time period was an announcement about a new location in Long Beach. The post earned a 0.46% engagement rate, about 12x the food and beverage industry’s average engagement rate on Facebook.
Philz Coffee also uses Twitter to post company news, which falls in line with how many people use the platform. According to Statista, Twitter is the social network most people turn to for news. As on Facebook, one of the brand’s top Twitter posts was an announcement for a new location, this time in Thousand Oaks. The tweet earned a 1.01% engagement rate, about 25x the average engagement rate for the food and beverage industry on Twitter.
Best on Facebook: Dutch Bros
What Makes Them Stand Out: Sharing deals and promotions
Dutch Bros came in first on both Facebook and Instagram, but they used different tactics to engage their audience on each social platform. On Facebook, the coffee brand primarily posted about new drinks and shared deals and promotions.
While younger generations are moving away from Facebook and using more video-centric apps, like TikTok and Snapchat, older generations are still going strong on Facebook. As we’ve previously discussed, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are two of the biggest demographics on Facebook, according to Sprout Social’s research.
To appeal to these demographics, companies should focus less on direct advertisements and more on company news and deals. Both demographics love finding a good deal, whereas Baby Boomers enjoy learning about what’s happening at companies they support.
One of Dutch Bros’s posts with the most engagement on Facebook during this time period was an announcement of the company’s Fill-A-Tray deal, which saw customers get four medium drinks for $15 on one day only. The post garnered an engagement rate of 1.14%, 30x the average engagement rate for the food and beverage industry on Facebook.
Best on Instagram: Dutch Bros
What Makes Them Stand Out: Leaning into pop culture references
Over on Instagram, Dutch Bros is focusing on appealing to younger generations by referencing what’s happening in pop culture. Whether it’s a post about Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s relationship or a photo using the Spirit Halloween meme format, Dutch Bros is attempting to speak the language of those who use Instagram most often.
According to Sprout Social’s research, millennials and Gen Zers are both likely to use Instagram. Gen Zers, in particular, enjoy light-hearted content as long as it fits within the brand’s voice. If the content comes across as inauthentic, Gen Z is likely to reject it.
However, because Dutch Bros has carefully curated a brand voice that’s very fun-loving and relatable, their pop culture references don’t feel out of place. One of the brand’s top posts during this time period on Instagram was a strong example of their playful brand voice.
The post is captioned, “Send this to someone who owes you Dutch.” In the photo, the image of Kourtney Kardashian announcing she’s pregnant has been doctored to say, “Travis, I want Dutch Bros.” The post earned an 8.70% engagement rate, about 18x the average engagement rate on Instagram for the food and beverage industry.
What also works so well about this post is that it encourages conversation. It garnered 520 comments, with people tagging others asking for a visit to Dutch Bros, others simply talking about how much they too want Dutch Bros, and more users joking about the meme format and talking about Kardashian and Barker’s relationship.
Best on Twitter: Blue Bottle Coffee
What Makes Them Stand Out: Celebrity partnerships
Blue Bottle Coffee came in first on Twitter in the coffee brand social media rankings, and they primarily have celebrity partnerships to thank for that. Blue Bottle Coffee managed to combine the use of their celebrity partnerships with announcements of company news, which is in line with how many people turn to Twitter for news content.
The coffee brand partnered with singer The Weeknd to announce a new coffee line called Samra Origins. Throughout several tweets, the company talked about how the partnership came to be, why it’s named what it is, how the coffee was produced, and what’s being offered as a part of the coffee line. Additionally, the company posted updates to keep people aware of when it was coming and how they could be the first to try it.
These tweets could have been simple advertisements for the new line, but instead, Blue Bottle Coffee made their content more valuable by using the tweets to teach people about the coffee, the history of Ethiopian coffee creation, and heart-warming information about The Weeknd and his mother.
Blue Bottle Coffee’s top 17 tweets during this time period talked about Samra Origins, with the post with the most engagement being the launch announcement. The tweet garnered a 6.85% engagement rate, about 171x the food and beverage industry’s average engagement rate on Twitter.
Best on TikTok: Caribou Coffee
What Makes Them Stand Out: Being entertaining and informative with ads
Caribou Coffee was the only other brand on our list of the best coffee brands on social media that surpassed the average engagement rate of the food and beverage industry on TikTok, aside from Philz Coffee. According to Statista, over 76% of active social media users aged 18 to 24 were on TikTok. It’s no wonder why the social network is considered such a Gen Z playground, although younger millennials are also a high demographic on the platform as well.
See how you're doing on TikTok with a free Rival IQ trial.Get started today
To appeal to Gen Zers and young millennials, the key is authenticity and light-heartedness, according to Sprout Social’s research. Gen Z focuses on entertainment first. They’re also more likely to turn to influencers to get buying advice rather than a brand’s own social media channels. That fact can mean that advertising to Gen Z can be tricky.
Even beyond Gen Z, brands may be finding it hard to advertise through social media. According to Cheetah Digital’s 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index, 67% of respondents don’t trust advertising on social media platforms, which means that brands need to get creative with how they post ads to make them feel less like just ads.
This tactic appears to be something that Caribou Coffee has mastered on TikTok. Many of the brand’s top posts leaned into pop culture references or the sharing of helpful information while also promoting the brand’s drinks and products.
The top TikTok during this time period was a post sharing a list of drinks you can get at Caribou Coffee with non-dairy milk for no extra charge. The post worked as an advertisement for the fact that Caribou was no longer charging for non-dairy milk, at least if you were a Caribou Perks member. However, the TikTok was also both entertaining and informative.
Providing value to viewers is a great way to go beyond simply posting an advertisement. TikTok users like content with information they can benefit from, as is evident by SEMRush’s study that determined that posts with advice and life hacks are one of the top types of posts most likely to go viral.
The fact that the post is not just an ad but also a fun-to-watch and value-adding video is likely why it earned a 170% engagement rate, about 25x the average engagement rate for the food and beverage industry on TikTok.
To determine the top coffee brands on social media, we compared the engagement rates of several of the biggest coffee companies in the world against the average engagement rates for the food and beverage industry according to our Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, looking specifically between September 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023.
Then, we compared the brands that outperformed that average engagement rate against one another. In order to be chosen for this list, brands must not only have the highest engagement rates but also post at least once per week.
Wrapping Up the Best Coffee Brands on Social Media
If there’s any takeaway from the list of the best coffee brands on social media, it’s that it is crucial to understand the social media platform and its largest audience demographics. When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, older generations can typically be found here, who are looking for deals, discounts, and company news.
Meanwhile, younger demographics are on Instagram and TikTok, where they want to see fun, entertaining, and informative content. Especially on TikTok, it’s vital to find a way to make an ad feel less like an ad and more like an interesting, helpful piece of content.