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How Caribou Coffee Drove 8,653 Instagram Likes and Comments with Just 14 Posts

How Caribou Coffee Drove 8,653 Instagram Likes and Comments with Just 14 Posts

unnamed-6Instagram is a great driver of engagement for brands, and Minnesota-based coffee and espresso retailer Caribou Coffee is no exception.

In the month of October, Caribou Coffee earned 53.48% engagement as a percentage of audience on Instagram. That means that, of Caribou Coffee’s 16,265-strong audience on the network, more than half engaged with Caribou Coffee.

When measured against Caribou Coffee’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest presences, the closest competitor for engagement as percentage of audience is Twitter at 4.61%. That’s a pretty big difference.

So what is Caribou Coffee doing on Instagram to make its content so successful?

Keeping It Local & Celebrating Game Day 

Caribou Coffee has retail locations in forty states and even in other nations, but its brand identity is largely tied to where it began — Minnesota. The strategy clearly works, because this was Caribou Coffee’s most engaging Instagram post in October, with double the channel average for engagement.

Staying awake for game day. #gophergameday

A photo posted by Caribou Coffee (@cariboucoffee) on

The Minnesota Golden Gophers is the University of Minnesota’s sports team. This post won by leveraging that fan fervor and striking while the iron’s hot — posting right before the big game, when their followers are likely to be active on social media. 

Staying on Brand Message

Caribou Coffee lovers enjoy receiving midweek encouragement from the brand. 

The roasters are fired up and our baristas are ready to go. Let’s do this, Wednesday! A photo posted by Caribou Coffee (@cariboucoffee) on

This post also does well at following through on Caribou Coffee’s peppy, proactive slogan: “Life is short. Stay awake for it.” That’s important for your brand to think about when crafting posts: is what you’re creating in line with company voice and message and, most importantly, what your followers expect from you? It might be good content, but if it’s not the right fit, you better quit. 

Animals FTW 

Instagram users love posts involving our furry friends, something I found out when I wrote about puppies and L.L.Bean awhile back. I bet you clicked through on that link already, didn’t you? You don’t even need an image if there’s the promise of a puppy just a click away. While the caribou isn’t necessarily an animal you’d take for a stroll in the park, Caribou Coffee found similar success with this post. 

Despite our name, we actually don’t get to play with real Caribou very often. Don’t worry, he’s not making the coffee. A photo posted by Caribou Coffee (@cariboucoffee) on

The animal image combined with the witty caption make this post an engaging superstar. 

A Little Video Action 

If you follow Caribou Coffee on Instagram, you’re probably a coffee lover. If you’re a coffee lover, behind-the-scenes footage exposing the process of how coffee beans go from the plant to your cup are probably right up your alley. This post earned Caribou Coffee 721 engagements. 

This is surprisingly beautiful and dramatic. #slowmotion A video posted by Caribou Coffee (@cariboucoffee) on

This inherent interest, plus the hypnotizing poetry of slowmo video, make this post a must-Like. 

(Have you seen our fresh-off-the-presses 2014 Instagram Study yet? Research shows that the average caption length for the Interbrand 100 is 138 characters long, including #hashtags.) 

The Arch of Hope

While none were in the top ten, seven of Caribou Coffee’s most engaging posts during October centered around their Arch of Hope, a collaboration between the Caribou Coffee and the artist HOT TEA designed to encourage and inspire those impacted by breast cancer, both past and present. 

This is a good example of how philanthropic efforts can drive engagement on Instagram if they center around a specific and visually entrancing subject.

Download Our Q3 2014 Instagram Study 

This study analyzes the activity behind thousands of posts and hundreds of millions of likes and comments to find the most successful brands, tactics, and content types.

This study uncovers findings around:

  • Hashtags
  • @Mentions
  • Photos vs. videos
  • Location tagging
  • Posting frequency

Here’s a teaser. The full study is available to download for free by clicking the button in the graphic below. See how your brand stacks up to the best in the world!

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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