Starbucks today launched a new way for customers to gift coffee — the tweet-a-coffee program. U.S. customers can now sync their Starbucks accounts to their Twitter accounts and tweet to @tweetacoffee and the Twitter handle of a gift recipient. They can then send the recipient a $5 digital eGift.

The e-gifts are redeemable at participating U.S. Starbucks stores by printing out the e-gift, showing it directly on a mobile device or loading it to a Starbucks mobile app.

According to the company, tweet-a-coffee, which launched today in beta form, will be an ongoing platform that allows customers to engage with one another online to gift a Starbucks beverage "spontaneously and respond proactively with gestures of encouragement, kindness and just because."

Starbucks launched its eGifting platform in 2011 on Starbucks.com and has extended that offering to Facebook, its iPhone mobile app and now Twitter.

Through Nov. 6, the first 100,000 customers who tweet a coffee using a Visa card will receive a $5 Starbucks Card e-gift for themselves, courtesy of Visa and Starbucks.

"What's so exciting about extending our eGifting platform to Twitter is the open and real time nature of the platform," Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, Starbucks, said in a news release. "Tweet-a-coffee allows us to do something quite different in eGifting in that people can now give the gift of Starbucks to anyone on Twitter in the moment. This can be between the closest of friends, the most distant of colleagues or even between people who have not even had the chance to meet yet in person, but have connected in some way on Twitter. We love the possibilities that the Twitter community can unlock to share acts of kindness with one another. Tweet-a-coffee is a key next step as we innovate our social digital gifting offering."

Joel Lunenfeld, VP of brand strategy at Twitter, said the new platform shows what it means to be a modern brand.

"Starbucks is really breaking ground here," he said in the release.

Read more about social media promotions.

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