Twitter has 3.42 million active registered users and 1.95 million unique users visiting the site every month. These impressive numbers say a lot about the micro-blogging site’s massive user engagement. Being a restaurateur, it only makes sense to piggyback on Twitter’s vast user base to not only engage with your current customers but also reach out to new ones. Thus, it only makes sense that you use Twitter for Restaurant Marketing (get the complete manual for marketing your restaurant here). It not only facilitates information but is also the place where people gather to share thoughts and opinions.
How to Use Twitter in Your Restaurant Marketing Plan
Here are a few foolproof practices to use your restaurant’s Twitter handle for effective restaurant marketing.
1. Start with Twitter Basics
The first thing to do is to create a Twitter handle. Try to create an account with a unique username that is closest to your restaurant’s name. Even if it’s an official account, you may take some time to get it verified, and the way to get it done is to be consistent and relevant in your Tweeting activities.
- Tweet often and regularly. Tweet around two to three times a day about the latest happenings about your restaurant. Keep your audience updated about the Special offers and discounts, the new items have been added to the happy hour menu, tonight’s special, etc.
- Get creative with hashtags. If possible create your own unique hashtags.
- Use appropriate photos in tweets, whenever possible.
Image Source: Cafe Delhi Heights
2. Engage, Encourage and Respond
When somebody posts a tweet about the dining experience at your restaurant, follow the Twitter etiquette and always acknowledge it. If it is favourable, you can “favourite” or retweet it. Offer a coupon, discount, or just a word of thanks to those who give you free publicity by sharing their experiences with the world. However, don’t ignore or shy away from the negative comments. An apology message accompanied with a gift card or special coupon may persuade the displeased customer to give your restaurant a second chance.
Encourage diners to post personal pictures from their experiences in your restaurant. Mention your Twitter account on the menu. With permission, take and post pictures of the customers enjoying their meals. Engaging and interacting with your customers is one of the most prime steps of restaurant marketing.
3. Jump into Conversations
Twitter allows you to read other people’s tweets and jump into appropriate conversations. This will help to raise awareness about your restaurant. There are a number of Twitter conversation tracking tools available that allow you to keep a track of the conversations happening. For example, if someone tweets about craving a dessert, you can reply to their tweet and invite them to try out your sweet treats. Also, talking to people regularly builds an emotional connect, which means true engagement. So, initiate conversations and talk to people the way you would at your restaurant.
4. Tailor your Tweets
According to the stats from Twitter’s blog, among those who visited a restaurant as a result of something they saw on Twitter, 52% cited promotional offers and discounts; 43% said it was a photo of the food, and 39% said it was a great customer service. So, you can:
- Post appealing photographs of food- You can even hire a professional photographer to make sure that your food items look savoury and tempting. Take photos of your daily menu and let customers see what options they will see when they walk into your restaurant.
- Promote deals of the day- Let followers know your special menu and deals of the day like happy hours, discounted corporate lunch or ladies evening, etc.
- Acknowledge your customers- Thank your customers- within 24 hours of dining at your restaurant. You can also request them to share their reviews in the same conversation.
- Spread the news out about your local events- Inform people about the wine or cheese tasting event, karaoke night or other such specials.
- Share the insights- Sharing ‘Behind the scenes’ from the kitchen are one the best ways for your customers to know what goes on in the kitchen.
- Include your Chef- You can also make your chef a key part of your Twitter restaurant marketing strategy. For example, the award-winning American chef, Rick Bayless, who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine, shares occasional updates, tips, and tricks about the various Mexican food preparation from his restaurant, books or cooking channel. This makes him a must-follow for anyone interested in Mexican food and drinks.
5. Be a Part of the Community
Blowing your own horn or doing the same promotion day after day might bore your followers. Hence, cheer other restaurants or chefs by posting congratulatory tweets on their accomplishments or by simply retweeting their pictures. It promotes goodwill in the industry and more often than not results in others doing the same for your restaurant. Killing two birds with a stone, ever heard of it?
6. Host a “Tweeters’ Special Day”
If your restaurant has a large Twitter following, you can host a “Tweeters’ Special Day” where Twitter enthusiasts can meet their fellow Tweeters in person – at your restaurant.
You can also attract your Twitter followers to form a group by offering them a discount or voucher. For example, you can tweet something like, “Mention this tweet and get 20% off for a group of 10 or more!”
7. Reward Loyalty
Once you have built a fan base, leverage their network to create a buzz. Encourage more tweeting by handing out exclusive prizes to Twitter followers. This way, people will feel special for following your restaurant. For example, offer a 5% discount to everyone who retweets your daily special or free appetizers to the first person who retweets your promotional tweet. You can also run hashtag contests for free meals or discounts on drinks at your restaurant. Running Twitter campaigns and contests are a great way to engage with customers.
Image Source: The Beer Cafe
The Beer Cafe ran a successful Twitter campaign and their hashtag, #Loveforbeer generated a lot of appeal among the customers.
8. Be Consistent. Be Patient
Social media in Restaurant Marketing is all about being consistent and so is Twitter. Don’t just use Twitter for a month or two only to abandon it later for want of overambitious results. It takes time to build a loyal fan following. So, be patient, and put in a little bit of your effort every day. You won’t see the results instantly. Wait for a few months and the world of social media will definitely acknowledge your consistent efforts.
Be social and gracious on Twitter and let the people talk about you. So, make a Twitter profile of your restaurant today, and let the conversation begin!