Get Twitting

Getting Started with Twitter Marketing
Start at and open your free account – choose a name that represents your business eg CafeTropix, or use your own. Don’t be strange or mysterious – this is about promotion!
Next, answer the simple question on your Twitter home page: ‘what’s new?’ in 140 characters or less – that’s about the length of this sentence. In most cafes, restaurants or bars there’s a constant stream of news and changing events – it’s what attracts so many people to the industry! Here’s your chance to share it with hungry, thirsty and interested fans.
Once you have an account, you’ll want others to follow or ‘subscribe’ to your news – or ‘tweets’. It’s a little like moving to a new town, with no friends on the first day but they’re all around if you make an effort to find them. Use Twitter’s search function to find other restaurants or cafes, and see how they use the service – examples below.
Add a button like this to your website
Add a button like this to your website

Now promote your twitter name to customers, in promotional material and email signatures – you may have seen the little blue twitter-bird or logo that shows someone is using Twitter. If people follow you, follow them back if they look interesting – some people follow everyone, others are much more selective. Just click on the Follow button on their Twitter page.
You can post your Twitter updates directly on your Twitter home page, or use one of the ‘twitter tools’ that will follow updates and allow you to post without needing a web page open.
Popular tools for managing Twitter include:
Find people who Twitter in your local area usingNearbyTweets- make sure you include your city/town in your profile to help others find you in the same way.
Tweetr,TweetdeckandTwirhlto watch and post tweets.
UseTweetlaterto set up a series of Tweets for later – a great way to look busy and manage your time!
Create a special background for your Twitter page usingTwitbacks.
Important:Tweetbeepwill keep track of your name or the business name if it’s mentioned on Twitter.
…and many more – do a search for ‘twitter tools’.
Taking the first steps is simple…
1. JoinTwitter
2. Add a picture and write your profile – make sure to include a business name and describe what you do
3. Tweet something
4. Find and follow others
One tweet a week is OK, but one a day is better: managing the posts could be a good task for one of your young staff who always have their thumbs on their mobile, but make sure they can spell and run the item past you first! The main thing to remember:be interesting, don’t just rave on.
Your first twitter comments could be:
A menu highlight — A customer story — A local story or event
A staff comment — a surprising best seller — Wine tip — Special offer
Retweet (ie copy) of someone else’s tweet that caught your eye — Looking for a recipe
Unique ingredient or flavour — Wedding or function pictures — Another local business that twitters…
Watching how how other businesses like yours use Twitter will give you ideas about what to write. In your tweets, you can post links to websites and photos. For sharing pictures, use a service likeTwitPicand when you post a website link, it will be automatically shortened to fit within 140 characters.
Ideas for special Twitter promotions:
Ask followers for feedback on something specific eg ‘Please let us know how you liked Saturday night’s band?’ or ‘New menu now up – we’d love to hear you comments’
Promote a happy-hour event, music, food or sudden special
BUT: if you promote the same type of event every day, people will stop noticing or following you. Make the announcementrealnews, not just endless promotion.
Promote a Twitter-only Special. Customers who mention the Twitter special receive a special deal, free drink or something tasty. They will feel like ‘insiders’ and want recognition for being techno-savvy – make sure your staff know what Twitter is. Hopefully they are tweeting too!
‘Twitter Tuesday’ or ‘Twitter Thursday’ have a good ring to them – promote a special deal to be revealed in a tweet on that day. Promote your Twitter address on menus, blackboards and websites (where of course there’s a link to your Twitter and Facebook pages).
Offer a special prize for people who follow you eg ‘Follow @CafeTropico by 5pm EST to be entered to win a $100 gift certificate.’
Run a twitter feed on a screen or side of screen in the restaurant – one that tracks your Twitter feed or a special topic. Use a Twitter widget like the one at the bottom of this page, running it on the screen of a PC set up specially. It’s a small extra item of interest – an unused 17″ screen would be fine.
UPDATE: How to Use Twitter Searchfor business feedback, tracking news and discovering trends.
Restaurants, Cafes, Hotels & Bars Using Twitter
A very small selection of hospitality businesses using Twitter well – suggestions welcome:
SweetMandarin- a Chinese restaurant in the UK with a huge following
CarriageWorks- a Sydney event and entertainment centre
Kogi Korean BBQ- mobile food in Los Angeles
Double D’s Pizza- promoting regular deals and specials
FlatIron Cafe- they like talking about food!
Starbucks- keeping up a conversation with fans
Cafe Ba-Ba Reeba- updates from a busy Chicago restaurant
MuMu Grill- restaurateur very active with social media
Fix St James- restaurateur and sommelier very active with social media
Ken Burgin- the person who wrote this article!
There are more examples and videos about Twitter atTwitter Updateson this site.
You may want to include certain keywords in your tweets, called ‘hashtags’ eg #cafe or #Sydney – these are tracked by some people who use Twitter tools to keep an eye on certain themes. They’re also extensively used by people attending events – a hashtag will be promoted and everyone can follow subjects related to the event eg search for events about a recent internet conference with the tag #sxsw was used by the South by South West Technology Conference. Anyone can make up a hashtag.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s