Twitter is still one of the largest social networks after Facebook.
Twitter is fast-paced and highly interactive, so it’s important to post regularly. Let your presence on Twitter be known on your website, your menus, and in your restaurant so customers know how to find you.
Getting set up:
- Create your account and username – use your restaurants name if possible. Make your profile pretty, add a profile picture and a header. This is the first thing people will see of your account, so make it stand out!
- Follow people and accounts that you think are relevant and interesting. Don’t be afraid to engage with people, even if you don’t know them. Think of Twitter as a big party, and to make connections you have to talk to someone! It could be useful to start by following people connected to your business (like your staff or suppliers), your customers, and other key figures in your industry – both locally and on a larger scale. You can even check out who relevant people or competitors are following, and see if there’s anyone you should be following also.
- Hashtags are great for bringing attention to your account, as they help identify what you’re tweeting about and connect you with relevant users. You can use locations (#Wellington, #NZ), general tags (#restaurants, #dinner, #food etc), tags specific to your style of food (#italian, #texmex), the name of your restaurant – it’s up to you!
- There are generally accepted ‘rules’ around hashtags – don’t overload your tweets with hashtags as this is looked on as spamming. Use relevant hashtags, don’t use them just because they’re trending if they have nothing to do with what you’re tweeting about.
- On Twitter, as with the rest of the internet, photos are ever popular. Make the most of it. Tweet pictures of your staff in action, of dishes from the menu, teasers for upcoming changes/promotions – there are so many opportunities. Keep in mind however that you should always make sure you have any customer’s permission before taking or posting photos of them online.
- Think about when people will be online, and thinking about food – this is when you’ll want to be posting your tweets. Before work, lunchtimes, and before dinner will be ideal. You can use this to your advantage when planning tweets or promotions. There are also great tools out there like Tweriod, that shows you when your followers are likely to be online so you can plan your Tweets for maximum impact.
- You can schedule tweets to go out at specific times, and in the future. Think about using a program like HootSuite or TweetDeck to organize this – it is more efficient to spend an hour or two planning and scheduling content than it is to be online all of the time.
- While it does save a lot of time to schedule the majority of your tweets, Twitter is all about interaction, and there should be someone checking daily for ways to engage with your followers and people you follow.
The Basics – Twitter Terminology
Tweet – A tweet is basically a status update that is up to 140 characters long. You can add links, photos, or mention other users.
Follow – This is how you connect with other users. You can follow other members, and they can follow you. You can do this by clicking ‘Follow’ next to a username. Some people think it’s polite to follow back when people follow them, and others have policies about who they will follow.
Retweet – this is used when you come across something that you find relevant, useful or entertaining that someone else has ‘tweeted’. A retweet will send the original tweet out to your followers while crediting the original ‘tweeter’.
Reply – you can have public conversations on Twitter, by replying to tweets. This is a good way to engage with other important people in the industry, and also with your customers.
Direct Message (or DM) – For when you want to communicate privately. You can only DM people that are following you, so if you are using DM’s for customer service don’t forget to follow the person that you are trying to contact.
Hashtags – Categorize tweets by adding a # symbol (a hashtag) and a word or phrase that describes what you’re tweeting about. This helps sort tweets when people are searching.
Now that you have the basics under control, you can get creative! Remember, content is king, and if your tweets are providing value to your followers you’ll create more of an impact. As with all things on the Internet, Twitter is about being fresh, fun, and sharing ideas. Make your restaurant stand out, and you’ll add another level of engagement for your customers.