The London Coffee Festival is the perfect opportunity for gourmet coffee shops to boost brand awareness. I looked at how ten of London’s leading independents performed on social media during this year’s event.

Out of the ten brands, west London coffee shop, Artisan, won the largest share of voice: 31 per cent of the conversation (see fig.i). Artisan has a respectable and engaged Twitter audience (4K) – but nowhere near as many followers as the more established Prufrock and Kaffeine (16K and 15K respectively). So, what was the Stamford Brook & Putney-based coffee shop doing right?

London coffee shops share of voice during #LCF16 (graphics courtesy of Brandwatch)Fig.i: London coffee shops share of voice during #LCF16 (graphic courtesy of Brandwatch)

For a start, Artisan had some enthusiastic celebrity advocates, including tennis star Laura Robson (367K followers on Twitter) and kids’ TV presenter Andi Peters (357K). It can’t do your brand any harm when Andi Peters boasts that you’re his local, or Laura Robson endorses you as a pre-training essential.

Artisan was the most consistent coffee brand on Twitter during the festival with around eight mentions a day (see fig.ii). Other brands saw peaks and troughs or (worse) barely registered at all on the social radar (a shame as consumer-friendly events like these are perfect for relevant, topical – and free – social media content).

Artisan made the most of the four days by running a series of barista training sessions and talks, including one with co-Founder Edwin Harrison sharing tips on setting up the business (all under the hashtag #ArtisanCoffeeSchool). Artisan also won the Best Coffee Entrepreneur award, and ran their own barista competition, #LatteArtSmackdown. A slow but steady drip of updates kept fans informed.

London coffee shops daily mentions during #LCF16 (Graphic courtesy of Brandwatch)
Fig.ii: London coffee shops daily mentions during #LCF16 (Graphic courtesy of Brandwatch)

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs and Black Sheep Coffee also punched above their weight. I bumped into Black Sheep at London Social Media Week a couple of years back and I know they’re social-savvy, but they didn’t seem to run any specific campaigns during the festival. Department of Coffee created a buzz around their event for homeless charity, the Central London Rough Sleepers Committee (#CLRSC) on 9th April, cooking dinner for 70 people in their kitchen. Kaffeine London saw a spike in mentions on 9 April when they announced their @UKCoffeeWeek fundraiser.

So, the festival wasn’t all about Artisan, but they did west London proud: proving their reputation for being a little bit of Shoreditch in the heart of Stamford Brook!

Photo: Artisan Coffee make the most of the #LatteArt hashtag on their Instagram account

This post is one of a series written in collaboration with Brandwatch. For more on how small businesses are using social media, see State of Independents.