Starbucks’s anti-bias training earned it praise in the wake of an incident in April that resulted in two black men being arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks for sitting at a table, sparking mass outrage. However, the coffee chain’s bold move may not have made much of an impact on Twitter users. Social media listening and analytics company Digimind found that in the past 7 days (May 29-June 4) 45% of social mentions were negative, versus 29% of social mentions that were positive, and 26% that were neutral.
In the past 30 days, there have been 2,034,936 tweets mentioning Starbucks. Peak tweeting activity took place on May 29 when 8,400 stores were closed for a few hours for the anti-bias training, and people seemingly swapped their afternoon coffee break for an afternoon tweeting break, sending out a grande number of tweets about Starbucks. Specifically, 188,291 tweets, which according to Digimind, had a social sentiment that was more negative than positive at 44%.
It wasn’t just coffee lovers looking for ways to wile away the hours while waiting for their Frappuccinos, either. On May 22, when the racial bias training was first announced, there were 118,401 tweets mentioning Starbucks and, similarly, the social sentiment around Starbucks was also more negative than positive at 55%.
However, the training may not have been entirely wasted on the social media masses: “While the sentiment the day of the training was more negative than positive on social, Starbucks is at least gaining some positive recognition from its efforts via social,” said Paul Vivant, CEO of Digimind. “That the training has, at least initially, led to some of its desired impact online.”