Case Study: Espresso Cielo

Espresso Cielo is a high-end coffee boutique based in Santa Monica, CA.
They recently launched another coffee shop in Santa Monica and hired us to handle their online marketing campaigns and social media.
When we were first brought on to assist Espresso Cielo with social media marketing, it was clear that Instagram was going to be a heavy focus for us. Instagram is a major social media channel for coffee shops in Los Angeles, so we made sure to utilize this channel to really make an impact.
We knew that one of the best ways to showcase a brand with a lot of stellar visual content would be on the Instagram platform, and the company already had a decent following, so we allocated a large amount of our budget in that direction from the start.
Our client stressed in our kickoff meeting that differentiating this brand from competitors will be a challenge since there are so many coffee shops in Santa Monica.

Challenges include:

Since there is over 350 coffee shops in Los Angeles, and over 50 coffee shops in Santa Monica, the keywords for   “Best Coffee Shop” “Santa Monica Best Coffee” “Best Coffee in Santa monica..etc” are extremely competitive 
Hard to track the sales from social media when not doing a promotion
Over 60% of their customers are tourists

Project Goals

Overall, the breakdown of our Instagram marketing goals (which ultimately informed our strategy) for Espresso Cielo looked like this:
Goal #1: Increase revenue from getting more 5 star reviews, local SEO and promotions
Goal #2: Increase local SEO, Google Insights.
Goal #3 Increase reviews for Yelp, Google, and Trip Advisor since 60% of the customers our tourists
Goal #4: Maintain High Levels of Engagement
Goal #5 Account Growth

What We Did: Our Marketing Strategy

Researching our industry influencers and engaging with them and their followings in order to bring new followers to our account.
Searching out and sharing user-generated content.
Commenting and engaging with people who use our hashtags and adding them to a list so we know who our most engaged followers (and customers) are.
Also, finding those users’ accounts and following them / engaging with them on other social platforms.
Studying the current brand voice and personality and crafting Click-worthy headlines and descriptions that represent the brand in the best way possible.
Image editing and retouching to match the brand personality
Creating partnerships with industry influencers or similar accounts where we work together to share each other’s content with our own audiences and tag their account (also known as “share for share” or S4S).
Researching various hashtags (their usage and relevance) and using different combinations of image-relevant tags posted in the first comment of every post to increase reach.
Running “best time to post” reports using our own internal tools and scheduling posts to match our “highest engagement” timeslots.
Monitoring and responding to comments and direct messages
Searching out and sharing lifestyle content to help elevate the brand and drive top of funnel awareness
Content planning with content calendar 30 days ahead.
Our team also followed and liked over 500 potential customers posts that brought in additional awareness and followers to their brand.
Design: We focused on creating beautiful images of the new Espresso Cielo location as well as the coffee, to enhance the experience and planned out all of the images beforehand in an Instagram layout to make sure these images would all merchandise well in a grid while maintaining the Espresso Cielo branding.
Influencers: We researched influencers that would be a good match for espresso Cielo’s demographic and offered incentives for them to visit the shop to post about them.
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After we began managing the account, we set up a system for tracking our traffic from Instagram to make sure we were capturing as much data as possible.
We defined our metrics for this strategy as:
# of Impressions per month
# of total followers gained
Average # of likes, comments, tags per post
Total # of engagements per month
Total # of website visitors from our Instagram campaign
# of new followers that are within our target demographic
Activity from Yelp reviews and People taking Action from Google Insights


An average of $6000 profit increase per month from social media
SEO: Listed #2 for Best EspressoBest Coffee is #7
Reviews: An average of 10 5-star Yelp reviews per month. An average of 20 5-star Google and TripAdvisor reviews a month


Partnership Program

Business Partnership Program

For Local business, we created a 20% coupon for anyone working in the local area. I emailed all of the local businesses that are in Santa Monica and sent out  this email campaign to the local businesses in Santa Monica 

National Coffee Day


National Coffee Day 

Since September 29th was National Coffee Day, we created an opportunity for more people to post/tag us with social media, and experience what our coffee is like for free.

We created a promotion that people could get a free coffee from 3-5 pm if they use @espressocielo in their social media accounts. Since we wanted to fully leverage this marketing opportunity, we also created events in Eventbrite, Facebook, and local papers like Santa Monica Patch, Mar Vista Post, and Next Door. We also tracked the links to see how many clicked on which site.


Final Words

The basics of Instagram marketing seem simple enough: post engaging content, gain attention, use it to grow website visitors and sales. Unfortunately, it really isn’t that simple. It takes a combination of business strategy, creativity, analytics, and execution to build and strengthen a brand on any platform, but especially on Instagram.In order to sustain growth and engagement, and have a meaningful connection with an audience, you need to tell a story. And that story needs to be developed using tools, team, budget, content, etc.
It’s a consistent and deliberate process, not a shot in the dark.You also need to have patience, and a little bit of “belief” to pursue a marketing strategy that doesn’t have a clear and immediate payoff. But over time, results compound, and you will reap the rewards.