With tweets limited to 280 characters, Twitter is not the obvious choice for most restaurant marketing campaigns. But the platform can be very helpful if you know how to use it properly.
Among the social media platforms, Twitter for restaurants is no longer is more than a “nice to have” marketing tactic. It's practically mandatory because it allows you to engage countless current and potential customers through simple messages that get shared by both regular customers and strangers.
For restaurants, Twitter is basically a free, easy-to-use source of advertising, customer support, and even order management. If you haven’t adopted it yet, you really should do so. Here are 10 great examples of what Twitter can do to improve your social media marketing:
Twitter is basically a large group conversation where everyone has the ability to chime in. At times, it can feel overwhelming. But if you make good points and entice diners with your posts, the follows and shares start rolling in. The more eyes and ears you reach, the more people become aware of what you’re promoting.
Adopting some best practices to promote your restaurant include following, responding to, and retweeting other local businesses that are on the platform. Pay attention to other restaurants in your area to monitor their specials and take notice of people who like to comment about dining. It is a good idea to engage other businesses in your area to make professional connections. One tip: Don’t get frustrated if your list of followers seems a little lean after the first month. It takes time.
Offer incentives for customers to tell you when they came in based on a Twitter promotion so you can track those visits. You can also post coupon-like graphics that customers will need to show to redeem their reward. If followers see they’re getting exclusive opportunities, they’ll share them with people they know and grow your follower list.
An active Twitter account shows customers and followers that you are an interactive, approachable establishment that cares about its guests. Be sure to acknowledge all customers who leave nice feedback about their dining experience. To turn regular discourse into marketing savvy, solicit input about possible menu tweaks and encourage them to come back and try a new menu item. When customers see you are making a concerted effort to reach out and connect, it will reflect favorably on your restaurant, and boost the number of reservations you book down the line.
To make the most of Twitter marketing, make sure you NEVER badmouth your competitors or your customers. It reflects poorly on you and your business.
On the other hand, be sure to address any criticism head-on. Don’t ignore these folks because their next angry statement will be that you also don’t bother to respond to your customers.
This is your chance to turn haters into your new restaurant evangelists, or at the very least, put out a fire before it grows. One simple resolution or apology can turn a post about “The waiter at @YourRestaurant is so rude,” into a post that says “Thanks so much to @YourRestaurant for the free drinks—much appreciated!”
Always tweet your daily specials, upcoming events, and any news items. But be sure to mix in conversations you’re having with customers, support for your community, and tips and tricks that offer value to your followers.
Use more than just words. As part of your tweets, create fun, promotional images to announce a special event on your calendar or shine to spotlight on your food. Take photos of your nightly specials, or a crowd shot of a busy night at the bar. Photos inspire people to come check out your restaurant.
Many customers forget to add the @ sign when they mention your restaurant, which is why a service like Hootsuite is a big help. It allows you to monitor when someone mentions your restaurant so you can respond. Twitter also allows you to search for the name of your restaurant in posts where you were not officially tagged.
Local tweetups, or in-person networking events between Twitter acquaintances, are a real thing. Figure out what’s going on in your area, and see how you can participate. Consider sponsoring the hors d’oeuvres at a local tweetup to build your list of followers. That can earn you dozens, if not hundreds, of free public "thank you’s" on Twitter.
Consider using your face as the restaurant's avatar, rather than a logo. Your account should also provide a flavor of the real person behind the account. Be sure to reach out to your regular customers who follow you. Write a tweet along the lines of, “Hey @theirname, it was nice to have you in tonight. Hope that ribeye was perfection!” The more you use social media marketing for restaurant brand awareness and promotion, the better you’ll get at it. Twitter is among the best platforms to achieve that in a cost-effective manner.