Client Feature: How a Local Cafe Uses Instagram for Marketing

Katie the marketing and social media manager at Coyote Coffee smiling while holding a cup of coffee at their Powdersville location.
Amanda Meadows November 6, 2019

Client Feature: How a Local Cafe Uses Instagram for Marketing

One of our website clients, Coyote Coffee Cafe, is a locally-owned cafe that has been serving drinks and food in the Upstate for 10 years. We’ve followed them on Instagram for a while and have noticed how well they’ve done with their Instagram business account. You’ll find a lot of creative shots of the drinks, food, and people that make Coyote Coffee Cafe a local favorite.


They do such a great job, in fact, that I reached out to Katie, Coyote Coffee’s marketing and social media manager, to ask her some questions about how she uses Instagram to market the cafe. Because Red Razor Marketing’s client base is largely local, family-owned businesses, we wanted to share some tips and insights from another local, family-owned business.


The main takeaways from my conversation with Katie:
1. Nobody has social media completely figured out.

It takes time, research, and experimentation to find what works for the platform and for your specific company. Social media is constantly changing, so something that might work one day might not work the next. And something that works for one business might not work for another. Don't be afraid to experiment and see what works well for your business and audience.


2. Posting on Instagram is different from posting on Facebook.

You can’t simply post the same material on Instagram that you would on Facebook. Facebook tends to be more informational and conversational; Instagram is all about sharing moments and making a visual impact. Your Instagram audience doesn't want to see a feed full of ads. They want to see in-the-moment glimpses of your business--the faces behind the brand, your product or service at work, stories, behind-the-scenes snapshots, and more. Give them a look at behind the curtain.


3. Social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Kontentino help you maximize your limited time, BUT…
4. ...Keep your eyes open for opportunities to post spontaneously, too.

Your customers and prospects want to see the real moments that make up a day in the life of your business. They want to see behind-the-scenes, work in progress, before/after transformations, and the faces behind your business. Show your Instagram audience what their lives could look like if they buy from you.


5. Even if an agency handles your social media marketing, Instagram requires much more participation and collaboration on your part than Facebook does.

Facebook is a fairly easy social media platform for you to delegate to a marketing agency. But Instagram is all about sharing real and meaningful moments--and that's something that isn't easily done by someone outside your company. Instagram posts, stories, and live videos are all designed for your brand to make a personal connection with your audience.


Without further ado, here are the highlights from my conversation with Katie, the marketing and social media manager at Coyote Coffee Cafe.

Listen to the audio of our interview or read the summary below.




Tell me about Coyote Coffee Cafe and what you do here as the marketing manager.

Coyote Coffee has been open for 10 years now. We’re a local business and have the location here in Powdersville, Easley, and Pickens. I’ve actually been with this company on and off for 6 years, and I started out as a barista and now I’m the marketing manager. It’s been nice to learn everything and then take it to that creative point. So I really enjoy my job. Everyone here is very friendly, they’re always open. I have ideas all the time and they give me ideas. It’s a great environment to work for.


I handle all of our social media platforms--that’s our Instagram and Facebook pages. Also, I do all the design for the java jackets, T-shirt designs, any of the marketing like billboards, menus, all that stuff. I handle the Yelp accounts, Google Business.


How and when did the Coyote Coffee Instagram account begin?

I didn’t start the Coyote Coffee Instagram account. The owners actually started it several years ago. But I recently took over in April, maybe a little before that, so the past 6 months it’s really been part of my full-time job.


A lot of people wonder if they should start an Instagram account for their business. So what was the reasoning behind Coyote Coffee creating an Instagram account? What is the overarching goal for it?

I would say a big thing is making our products, our food, our drinks more accessible to the customer as well as showing them the behind-the-scenes. Or if you’re new to Coyote Coffee, we have a lot of flavors, and it can be kinda overwhelming. So if you see a frappe that’s dressed up all pretty on Instagram, a new customer might think, “Oh, what’s that?” And you can tell them, and they can come and get that specific drink instead of being completely overwhelmed with something new.


And now technology is growing, so it’s just like popping into a shop and seeing what’s the best. I think that's more of why we started the Instagram business account in the first place--to have that accessibility for everybody.


How would you say posting on Instagram differs from posting on Facebook?

It’s really interesting the differences between Facebook and Instagram, even on a personal level. It’s crazy how different it is. Instagram seems to be all about the looks and how it’s portrayed. When you’re on Instagram, you’re scrolling, and you see photos. If you like something, you double-tap--you don’t really care to read the caption as much. Or if it’s a meme that says something funny on the photo, you’re going to see that first versus looking for a long caption to read.


Now, Facebook is sort of the same. But on Facebook you get that caption first--it’s not the photo and then the caption, like on Instagram. It’s flipped. But people are on Facebook to discuss, to collaborate and argue (or whatever you want to call that!). So they’re looking for that description. I’ve noticed that we get more likes on our Instagram than we do on Facebook. And I think that’s because as a coffee shop on Facebook, we’re not here to talk about stuff. We’re here to say, “Here are our drinks.”


But I have noticed that our giveaways get way more of a response on Facebook than on Instagram. And I think it’s because it is that conversational outlet for people to get on there and like it, share it, comment on it. It’s not as easy for people to share those posts on Instagram. We get a response on Instagram, but we get way more of a response on Facebook. Even just the number of comments is crazy.


Do you have a formal strategy or schedule, or do you just post when you think of it?

I really just keep specials in mind, but not everyone wants you to just post about specials all the time. That’s just repetitive and redundant after a while. So I try to feature our Barista Drink of the Month, feature any new merchandise. I would love to get to a point where I have a set method-behind-the-madness. But sometimes I think it works better to work on a whim because we’re always in here and it’s really fast-paced, it never stops, it’s always going, so our Instagram can reflect that.


It’s really hard to sit down and visualize what you want your Instagram to look like. There are all these influencers out there, all these other coffee shops, and you wonder, “Wow, how do they really come across that way?” But for Coyote Coffee, I want our profile to be vibrant because that’s just what Coyote Coffee is--it’s upbeat, it’s fast-paced. It’s not your typical coffee shop that is laid-back and mellow. Something more colorful and vibrant just portrays Coyote Coffee better. That’s what I go for.


Right now we post only once a day. But sometimes we do more if we have an event. But we usually post that in our stories and thank people for letting us do the event.


What are some things you consider when posting on Instagram?

I try really hard not to post the same things. And that gets really hard. We have a lot on our menu, but when it comes to taking photos of that, you’ll find yourself posting the same things over and over. I do keep my posts related to the seasons--I keep those things in mind. Even when we used to have the color java jackets, I tried to rotate the colors so that it didn’t look like I was just posting the same picture all the time.


So we do post the Barista Drink of the Month. But then there is one special that I tend to post about a lot--not every week--because it’s our biggest special, Thirsty Thursday, that everyone freaks out over because you get an extra-large at the price of a large. And that’s something that I really try to push because it brings people in, and they get excited about it. So that’s really the only special that I post about a lot. That and Free Shot Friday, but that’s only once a month, so that’s always on there.


Do you consider yourself to be creative? What would you say to someone who doesn’t think they’re creative?

Yes! I actually went to school for graphic design, and I actually did my senior thesis project on social media. And now I’m the marketing manager for social media.


But research always helps--I’m constantly researching. Even hashtags, captions, other ideas. I’ll get on Pinterest and look around at coffee photography or latte art, and sometimes it will just spark an idea.


I mean, it doesn’t matter how creative you are--you could be the most creative person in the world and still draw a blank, kinda like writer’s block. People feed off of each other. Yeah, I could be the most creative person, but I’m not always going to have an idea on the top of my head, so I do lots of research.


So if someone struggles with creativity on their Instagram, they could look up other businesses like them, look at what they’re doing, and let your ideas go from there.


Obviously don’t copy the exact same thing, but see where your ideas go from there. I love feeding off of other peoples’ ideas, picking peoples’ brains--it’s so fun to me.


Some of our clients don’t have a dedicated marketing person, which is a big reason why they hire Red Razor Marketing to help them. What advice would you give to someone like that who doesn’t have a lot of time to do Instagram but wants to have a presence on Instagram?

For instance, for a company that does a lot of projects, especially before and after projects, there are a lot of opportunities to post in the moment. Even if they don’t have a lot of time to create posts, if they have their phones with them, they can post on their stories and just say, “Hey, this is happening right now!” and they don’t have to worry about creating a whole Instagram post about it. Put it on your stories so that your clients, customers, whoever can see what’s happening, what’s going on--especially like a before/after project. That’s one of the most fun things to post about. So that’s maybe one solution.


There are programs out there where you can schedule a post for a week, two weeks out, as long as you want. I do mine weekly. I go take my photos, and then on Tuesdays, I schedule out my posts for the week. And then I’ll start over again the next week. It just makes it easier so that you can do all your other tasks for the rest of the week.


So if there’s one day someone could be willing to sit down for an hour or so and schedule posts for the coming week. It can be time consuming, but if they have a stockpile of photos already, they can just sit there and schedule those posts and then be done.


What’s your favorite aspect of marketing on Instagram?

I love everything I get to do for social media, like taking the pictures, editing them, even creating something for a photo. The process is fun. But my favorite marketing aspect? Well, the owner has really given me free rein of the social media, the marketing, creating the merchandise, all of that. For me, that is very new for me because I’ve never had a job like that where they give me 100% creative liberty.


So, like whenever I do something like create the java jackets or the T-shirts or post on Instagram, seeing the person’s response to that is kinda encouraging. Because it’s very intimidating to put your art out on display. But when you put your art out there for the world to see and they respond well, it’s encouraging. Not in an approval-seeking way, but in a way to gauge what works and what people respond well to.


It’s easier to figure out what works when there is a metric that measures peoples’ responses. It helps guide your creativity because you can see what’s effective and what’s not, and then you can focus on doing the things that do work. Again, not for approval or validation. It’s a unique aspect of the time we live in.


Finally, what’s your current favorite Coyote Coffee drink or food item?

You’d think that I’d love the most difficult drink here, but my favorite Coyote Coffee drink is cold brew coffee with caramel, two raw sugars, a shot of espresso, and cream. Nothing fancy at all.


Female hand holding a cup of coffee by the store front of Coyote Coffee Cafe.

Any closing thoughts?

I just really love my job!


Thanks again so much, Katie and Coyote Coffee Cafe! Keep up the good work!