Get more people to your restaurant in 140 characters or less. Sound impossible? Learn to master Twitter and it won’t be. Twitter is a social media superpower with 271 million active users sending 500 million Tweets daily, and it is one of the best tools to communicate with your customers in real time.
Well, first things first, create an account. Head over to twitter.com and fill out the information in the box that says “New to Twitter?”. After sending the information, it will ask you to select a username (aka Twitter “handle”) that is less than 15 characters. This is the name your followers will use when sending replies, mentions, and direct messages to you, e.x. ours is @UpperLakesFoods.
Twitter will send you a confirmation email shortly after creating your account. Click on the link within the email to finish your restaurant’s profile.
Now it’s time to start building your first connections, and Twitter can give you some suggestions. It’s a good idea to follow fellow businesses in your community and leaders in the industry. Pick five new connections whose Tweets will appear in your timeline.
Customizing your account:
After you build some connections, it’s time to access your settings and complete your profile. Click on the gear icon, located on the navigation bar on the top right, then select “Edit Profile.”
From this screen you can fill in the basic information that appears in your bio, which appears on the left side of the screen below your profile image. You can update the full name of your restaurant and add your location, website, and 160-character bio.
Now it’s time to upload a profile pic. Some businesses opt for their logo, you could also use a pic of a signature dish or the outside of your restaurant. The next step is to upload a cover photo that tells more about you. Make sure it’s a large (at least 1500 x 500), high resolution image for optimal display.
How to use #hashtags:
A hashtag is any word that begins with the # sign. They are used to organize conversations around a specific topic, like #food. Clicking on a hashtag in a Tweet takes you to search results for that term. By using hashtags, you are creating and joining conversations with other users who Tweet about food.
Using hashtags properly gives your Tweets more visibility, but be careful not to overdo it. Here are a few things to avoid:
- #Using a #hashtag for #every #single #word
- Using too many similar hashtags: #delicious #tasty #yum #yummy #superyummy #getinmybelly
Not sure what to Tweet about? Define your goals with Twitter and form a strategy to make it happen. Do you want more impulse take-out orders? Do you want to entice people to try a new menu item? Check out your remodel? Learn about your local sourcing efforts? Every time you Tweet, think about what content would interest your followers, and if it doesn’t interest you, it sure as heck won’t interest them.
You want to promote your restaurant of course, but barraging your followers with “Come eat here!” Tweets can be monotonous and cause them to lose interest. Here are some ideas on what to Tweet:
- A picture of your food! We eat with our eyes, and a mouth-watering photo might be just the thing to entice someone to come in.
- A new item on the menu
- If you post any recipes to your website, share the link
- Behind-the-scenes photos
- Ask followers for feedback on an event, remodel, menu change, etc
- Upload videos using apps like Vine or Tout
Building your network
With the rare exception of the CIA, your first Tweet will not go viral overnight, building a network of followers from scratch takes time. Follow the people who follow you, it could be the beginning of a fun and meaningful dialogue. You can also connect with others by re-Tweeting messages that are reflective of your brand or the city you live in. It takes less time and it shows you are an engaged user. Twitter is a great platform for hosting contests, even something as simple as “Mention this Tweet for 10% off your bill!” and it is also an excellent way to measure the impact your Tweets have.
Now, go forth and Tweet!