There’s no doubt that us marketers love our coffee shops. Not only do they provide the wonderful gift of caffeine that we need to make it through our daily routines, but they also provide us with an office away from the office.

But like any business, coffee shops need to market themselves to get people through the door—especially in big cities like New York and Chicago where there’s a promising cup of joe on every street corner.

Of course, some coffee shops do social media marketing better than others. So we set out to find the best example of coffee shop marketing, and after sifting through hundreds of Instagram pages, found our favorite: Sweatshop Coffee NYC.

Sweatshop is an Australian-inspired coffee shop and design incubator in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Over the years, the brand has amassed nearly 20,000 Instagram followers by posting delicious photos of coffee, which has undoubtedly brought thousands of people through the door.

In this article, we’ll show you everything Sweatshop Coffee NYC does right on social media. Use these tried-and-true tips to help curate your (or your client’s) social media presence.

Sound good? Let’s get started!

Sweatshop posts super well-crafted photos

You know how we said that Sweatshop Coffee is a coffee shop and design incubator? Well, their eye for design really shines on social media—every single Sweatshop Coffee social media post is accompanied by awesome photos of coffee, food, or the coffee shop itself.

All of Sweatshop’s coffee and food photos are well-composed and perfectly lit. As you can see in the example above, these photos will make any coffee lover’s mouth water, and no doubt drive people through Sweatshop’s doors.

Oh, and the photos of the shop itself are great too—they show people working on laptops, engaging in conversation, and otherwise enjoying their lives and their work.

This shows that Sweatshop Coffee is laptop-friendly, encouraging Brooklyn-based remote workers to come and work at the space. Talk about knowing your audience!

Photos are essential to any modern social media marketing plan

It’s been said that a first impression is formed within the first 50 milliseconds of seeing or reading something—and trust us, images are the fastest way to create a good first impression. Just make sure it’s high-quality.

This good first impression leads to more engagement and conversions, too. Reports show that tweets with images get 18 percent more clicks and 150 percent more retweets than tweets without, so don’t lose precious engagement by not using images.

Sweatshop Coffee aren’t the only ones that know this. 32% of marketers now believe that images are the most important form of content that their business produces, so get on the visual media bandwagon if you haven’t already. Trust us, you’re in good company.

Need help making visual content for social media? Try one of these tools.

The captions don’t disappoint either

But the image isn’t everything. Regardless of how awesome your images are, you still need a good caption—after all, how else will you sell the product you just photographed?

As you’d expect from a team of coffee-loving creatives, Sweatshop Coffee does a pretty stellar job of caption writing. Attached to each of its photos, you’ll see a quirky caption that really embodies the personality of a caffeine-fueled patron, or simply conveys the latest happenings—like new menu items—at the shop

One thing you won’t find on the coffee shop’s social media is long, drawn out captions. Everything the shop posts is perfectly measured and to the point—like a shot of their espresso. This gets the point across without wasting the reader’s time or requiring too much thought.

Try doing the same when posting photos to your Instagram account. Posting short captions allows your audience to easily digest what you post. This is especially important when you consider the fact that the average user reads just 20-28 words per social post or website visit.

Sweatshop Coffee uses the right Instagram hashtags

One thing we see way too often is brands using the same hashtags for every single photo they post on Instagram.

We understand the thinking behind this: there are likely some hashtags that have performed well in the past.  But when you use the same set of hashtags for each post, you’re limiting yourself.

Plus, if you’re posting a unique photo every time, you may be missing out on reach by not posting a tag that’s related to the photographed product or service that you’re trying to market.

With that in mind, we’re huge fans of the fact that Sweatshop Coffee always uses unique hashtags on its photos. Obviously some hashtags (like #nyc and #Brooklyn) are used in every post, but pictures of lattes are hashtagged differently than a picture of avocado toast—as they should be.

Adding unique hashtags to unique posts allows Sweatshop Coffee to expand its reach and get new eyes every single time it posts to Instagram. There’s little doubt that this approach is a major factor in how Sweatshop Coffee has amassed a significant Instagram following while also maintaining an incredibly high engagement rate on new posts.

It focuses on the social networks that matter most

Sweatshop Coffee posts to just three social networks: Instagram, Facebook, and Google My Business. It completely ignores Twitter, Pinterest, and others, but for a good reason: Sweatshop Coffee knows its target audience and where they’re active.

No one goes to LinkedIn or Twitter when looking for a new coffee shop in Brooklyn. Instead, coffee lovers likely go to Instagram to view beautiful pictures of coffee, or search on Google Maps for a great coffee shop (and in turn, see a Google My Business listing).

Further, if the coffee shop posted to every social network, it would likely dilute its quality on Instagram, which would severely hurt its brand image on a network where people are actually looking for coffee shops.

So, next time you perform a social media audit, look at the networks where you get the most business and engagement. If you see—for example—that Twitter isn’t working out for you, assess if the network is where your target audience hangs out. You can likely cut the network if it isn’t.

Still trying to figure out which networks your brand should be present on? Check out our article on what social networks each type of business should post on.

Bottom line

As you can see, Sweatshop Coffee knows how to create and maintain an awesome social presence. Through their unique and wonderfully-designed content, the shop appeals to both coffee lovers and creatives—creating an incredibly strong funnel of potential customers looking for a good cup of joe, a place to work, and—as a major bonus—an authentic community they can feel a part of.

Now we’re curious—do you frequent a coffee shop with an amazing social presence? If so, who? Drop us a comment below, we’ll check it out after this quick coffee break at Sweatshop ?

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