Getting Started with Twitter Marketing
Start atTwitter.comand 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…
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.
Do you own, or do marketing for, a restaurant? Do you want to know how to use social media to market your restaurant?
It’s a common problem – restaurants want to be engaging with their clientele; they want to use social tools to get more patrons walking through their doors – but they just don’t know how.
Adding social media to your marketing mix can hugely increase awareness about your restaurant, generate motivated engagement with your food, and get you more customers in your door.
Here are 21 tactics and tips for using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to drive more customers to your restaurant.
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants #1: Think Like Your Customer
Ok, if you’ve been promoting your restaurant for a while, this should be pretty obvious. One of the first steps in successful marketing is to know who you’re communicating with. This is particularly true in social media. Think like your customer, and about why they would want to visit you. Create a tone for your social media based on this.
If you want your place to known as the neighbourhood hangout – create a tone (or even character) that you’ll consistently use across all of your social media platforms. Post in a friendly, neighbourly tone. You could, for example, have a good, long term waitress or barman be the face of your social media.
If you want to be known for your great food – create your social media postings around your chef (or someone posting as your chef!).
Think about your customer as you plan out your restaurant social media strategy.
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants #2: Facebook Marketing
Facebook provides an incredible opportunity for dining establishments to connect with their clientele. You’d be hard pressed to find a patron of yours who is not on this site – and most of them are checking their updates a few times a day.
Facebook is a place where people go to ‘hangout’ with friends. That’s why they go out to eat too, right? Here are seven tips to use Facebook in your marketing:
1. Cover image – Make sure you take full advantage of your cover image. You have 851×351 pixels to market your business, for free. Include delicious photos of your food, or people having a good time while eating with friends. You could change your cover image whenever you have a menu change, and market the new items or specials.
Include a brief description of your tasty morsels, as in the example below, fromBahama Breeze Island Grille
2. Facebook Page Tabs – Use tabs on your Facebook Page to entice people to visit your eatery. The first four tabs in particular are key – these are the tabs that show up on your front page (without clicking to open them all). You can see how effectively Bahama Breeze Island Grille uses these. Their first four tabs are: photos of food; locations; food deals; and featured menu items.
They are thinking like their customer, and giving them the images and information a patron would want.
3. Use lots of photos of your food – The most shared posts on Facebook are images. You’re in the business of food, and food is a very visual thing. Be sure to include lots of images of your food in your regular Facebook updates. You could even create a lookbook of your current menu items.
Here’s an example of some tasty-looking tuna tataki from Milestones:
4. Exclusive offers and group deals – Post exclusive offers on your Facebook Page. Give deals to patrons if they “like” your Page. Give group deals (using athird party app, as per Facebook rules), to entice your Fans to share your deal with their friends – and get those friends to become Fans of your Page too.
A group deal can lead to immediate foot traffic into your establishment too!
5. Contests and sweepstakes – Use social sweepstakes and contests on your Facebook Page. These social promotions add excitement, and a great reason to get your customers coming back to both your Facebook Page, and your restaurant.
Here’s an example from a client using our sweepstakes app. Wayne Gretzky’s Toronto ran a geo-targeted sweepstakes through Facebook to successfully generate awareness of their newly renovated digs, and their brand new menu.
6. Geo target your ads – Facebook ads lets you do all kinds of very specific, niche targeting. For restaurants and diners, this is ideal. You can target your ads to be seen only by Facebookers in your particular geographic location. You can also target your ads to be seen by those with specific likes, and by those who like certain pages.
In the Wayne Gretzky example, above, this could be used to target the downtown Toronto area; to people who like hockey, sports and dining out; and who like the Toronto Blue Jays Page (ok, and maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs too).
Note: You can also geo tag your posts, too. If you have a chain of restaurants, for example, use this feature to show images or update from your various locations.
7. Embed videos – Videos are very cool when embedded directly into an update, or in a tab. If you have videos about how your food is made, or you have an interview with your chef/ food suppliers/ happy customers – include them in an update.
Learn more tips about Facebook marketing:
- 8 Sure-Fire Facebook Post Formulas That Drive Engagement
- The 5 Most Common Facebook Post Mistakes
- 5 Sure-Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants #3: Instagram Marketing
Instagram is a hugely popular photo sharing site. With its seamless integration with Facebook, it’s used about 95% of the time when your patrons are posting images to their Facebook friends. You can use Instagram in conjunction with your Facebook tactics, or you can use the site on its own. Here are seven tips for using Instagram marketing, on its own:
Use hashtags: Hashtags are huge on Instagram. They’re so prevalent and relevant, I’ll outline three main tactics to employ when using hashtags on Instagram (or any social site).
1. Use trending hashtags – To increase awareness about both your Instagram profile, and your restaurant, include relevant trending hashtags. For example, if it happens to be #nationalcheesecakeday , and your culinary delights include cheesecake, post a scrumptious photo of it.
2. Use niche hashtags – Get found more easily by your niche market by using specific hashtags. For example, if you’re a bakery in New York, and are located in Soho, use geographic specific tags, like #sohoeats. Instagram is a mobile social site – you use it on your phone. Including a specific location in your tags can get you found by foot traffic looking to eat – and they may be just outside your door.
3. Use campaign specific hashtags – When you’re running a particular marketing campaign (such as a contest or group offer), create a tag just for that promotion. This lets your followers – and anyone else – engage with your campaign by using your hashtag in their posts, too.
4. Photos of menu – Instagram is a site of photos. Use this opportunity to post delicious photos of your menu items.
5. Engage with menu items – Take photos of you menu one step further – get your customers to upload their favourite items, to help build your menu of images on the site.
This type of user generated content not only gets your customers involved with you socially, it creates a stronger bond and customer loyalty. Appreciate your patrons enough to invite them to be a part of your menu decision making process. They will want to eat at your place – and bring their friends to show off their winning contributions!
This is what Catch 122 did, using #Catch122Menu as a common tag.
It’s kind of an amazing way to get your customers talking about and showing your amazing food to their friends on the site too. That’s word of mouth marketing gone viral!
6. Employee Appreciation – Take a photo of your staff working with your product or menu items. It could be a chef, a waitress, or even a busboy. Post them to your company Instagram feed, with a short description.
You can use these types of photos to shows that you’re an establishment that values the people that work for you. At the same time, you’ll likely create a cool working environment for your staff too! It also shows that you’re a fun place to be, and likely with great customer service…
7. Photo Contests – If you want to gain a lot of user generated content (UGC), set up a photo contest – on Instagram. A photo contest can motivate your customers to engage with you, your menu items, and your restaurant. They can generate a lot of customer loyalty, as someone who takes a photo and submits it in your contest will care if they win or not. They will likely think about that photo and your menu item and your place for a least a little bit of time.
Here’s an example of how a local gourmet cafe used a photo contest and a $15 gift card to get UGC from their dedicated customers:
Read more about Instagram Marketing:
- 5 Best Types of Instagram Photos to Drive Engagement
- [INFOGRAPHIC] How Much Engagement Are Top Brands Getting on Instagram?
- Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing for Bars & Nightclubs
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants #4: Twitter Marketing
Twitter is a very successful marketing tool for restaurants, both large and small and from high end to fast food (including street trucks). With only 140 characters per update, tweets get read, and shared at a phenomenal, immediate rate. Twitter is also used a lot through mobile.
How can you best promote your culinary delights on this site? Here are seven tips for your restaurant Twitter marketing.
1. Include a link to your menu – Include links in your tweets. This gives your followers further action to take, and lets them interact with your more. Include a link to your menus, so your Followers can make an easy choice of dining with you.Tip: This is especially great if you deliver!
Here’s an example from Domino’s Pizza
2. Include images of your food – Although Twitter is a text based site, updates with photos in them get shared, can get you more followers on Twitter , and can drive traffic into your establishment. Here’s an example of a scrumptious and delicious looking image from La Dolce Vita:
3. Group offers – Promoting your establishment through coupons and discounts has long been a part of successful marketing. Add in a social element, and make it a group deal – and you could have a viral campaign on your hands. You could, for example, run a group offer for a free appetizer. This will encourage your patrons to share your group offer tweet to their friends – and it will drive people into your eatery.
4. Hashtags – Hashtags are very popular on Twitter too. Include them in your updates. Use similar tactics to the ones mentioned above with Intstagram. Tip: You don’t want too many (given the character constraints on this platform – and you want to leave room in your tweets to get RT’s and shares with @mentions – so a friend can send your tweet to a friend).
5. Time your tweets – Send out tweets close to breakfast, lunch and dinner times. Unlike Facebook, your tweets will show up in Followers’ feeds immediately as you send them. Invite your followers to join you for your special deal for Twitter followers. And use hashtags for the meal times, like #lunch or #dinner. It makes it even easier to find you on a Twitter search. Remember: think like your customer!
6. Use Promoted tweets – Choose your best tweets, and pay to promote them to a targeted audience. This is particularly effective for your timed updates being sent out around meal times. Check out how Merridees cleverly uses this tactic to promote their daily lunch specials.
7. Geo-target your ads – The only problem with the Merridees tweet, above, is that they are located in Tennessee, and I am not. It is incredibly important to geo-target your ads on Twitter. If your place of dining is located in Seattle – make sure you check off the geo-targeting location of Seattle when you are paying for your promoted tweets.
Getting your message to the right patrons in the right location is particularly true for your mobile users. You might just reach your customers as they are walking by your door!
Read more about Twitter Marketing:
- 52 Methods: How to Get Your Tweets Retweeted
- The 9 Most Common Mistakes on Twitter
- [Infographic] The Top 7 Tips to Get More Followers on Twitter
- Tweeting Content about your Company (and how not to)
I hope you’ve learned a little more on how to use these social media platforms to market to your restaurant patrons. There are many more tactics you can use, such as using Foursquare, Yelp, or creatively marketing with YouTube videos.
What do you think? Have you used any of these methods? Have they worked? Did you get more customers dining with you? What other tips can you suggest?