While many still consider Twitter an emerging online social networking service for businesses, it has been forcing us to condense our online communication to 140 characters. Fortunately many restaurant organizations find 140 characters is more than enough to adequately engage and give restaurant followers a Michelin star worthy experience. Here are six tips to get you started:
Restaurants can manage their Twitter account through Hootsuite. This social media management app allows you to keep track of tweets (and other social media profiles) when your restaurant is mentioned and set up a stream for covering different topics. For instance, if you’re a Baltimore diner that specializes in grilling, create a stream for bbq in Baltimore. Hootsuite also lets you schedule your posts, so you can organize the flow of information in advance.
Tweet three to five times a day with the latest news on the restaurant. What’s tonight’s special? What new wines have been added to the happy hour menu? Special offers and discounts?
Be proactive with fans online who are mentioning your restaurant as well as participating in daily Twitter posts.
When a restaurant goer dines at your establishment and posts a favorable tweet, always acknowledge it. The least you can do is “favorite” it. Think of it this way: Twitter users are giving you free publicity and if their pictures are of great quality and they’re telling everyone about your restaurant, how can you not thank them? It’s Twitter etiquette. Also don’t shy away or ignore negative comments. A simple apology or gift card may be all it takes for an upset diner to give you a second chance.
It’s always great to take a step back from the daily restaurant promotions and cheer on other restaurants and chefs in your industry circle by retweeting a picture or posting a congratulatory tweet with a news article attached.
To get followers, you need to follow others. Unless you are launching a famous chef’s new restaurant like Anthony Bourdain, you need to follow fans and influencers to build an audience.
After you have built a fan base, leverage their social network to generate buzz. Run a creative hash tag contest for discounts or free meals at your restaurant or encourage more tweeting by periodically selecting a random loyal and socially actively follower to receive a prize.
Every restaurant wants people talking about them. So be gracious and social. Take advantage of Twitter and begin the conversation.