So you run a restaurant and want a few tips on how to excel in the social media world as well as the food world; well you’ve come to the right place.
Although some may argue that Twitter is falling behind many of its social media counterparts, such as Facebook and the increasingly popular Instagram, there are still approximately 17.1 million users in the UK, which is a huge market that you can potentially target, getting them to know more about your restaurant business and encouraging them through the door too.
But how can you do this? If you’re a social media novice or know your way around a retweet or follow, we’ve got a few hacks that will stand you in good stead, building up your following and increasing the likelihood that you’ll see more customers coming through your front door.
Run Twitter only promotions
Any social media user likes to be treated as a reward for taking the time to follow your account, no matter how easy it might actually be!
So, consider running Twitter only promotions that are exclusively for your followers and unknown to the rest of the world. However, you can rest assured that the message will quickly spread and your follower count will be on the rise as more and more people want to get in on the action.
Why not consider some of the following ‘Twitter Only’ offers:
- Promote a ‘one night only secret special’ that you can add to the menu and those who follow you on Twitter have to mention a secret codeword on arrival to order it.
- Thank your followers with a contest or special prize, which could be a free meal for two or gift card, and sees you select a follower at random.
- Offer ‘Insider’ specials which give your Twitter users the opportunity to grab a free drink every Friday night or a free dessert on a Saturday night.
- Run a competition to guess the head chefs favourite dish on the menu to be in with a chance of winning the dish the next time they visit.
Always respond to your customers
When you put yourself out on a social media platform, you are out in the open for people to interact with you, both good and bad.
If a customer asks you a question, make sure you answer it. If a customer has a complaint, respond to them in a professional manner and fix the problem in the most effective way possible. If a customer praises you, be sure to thank them and retweet away to show yourself off to the rest of our followers!
Twitter is the home of the hashtag, so be sure to spend a bit of time doing your research so you can jump on the hashtag bandwagon.
If you are promoting a new item on the menu or are running a special event at the restaurant, create a unique hashtag that your followers can use to get more people taking about the event and spread the word.
Be sure to make use of the ‘trending now’ hashtags too that are relevant to your restaurant so any people that search for those hashtags see your tweets too.
Explore using Twitter cards for improved customer experience
Whilst regular tweets are simple text and imagery, you can take this a step further through the use of Twitter cards. They allow you to add photos, videos and other rich media to tweets to help drive traffic to your website.
All you’ll need to do is add a small line of HTML code to your website and then people who tweet a link to your content can have a ‘card’ added that is visible to all of their followers.
On a platform where text is generally seen as the norm, you’ll certainly stand out from the crowd as you select from the seven card options available to you:
- Summary card- including title, description and thumbnail image
- Summary card with large photo- as above but with a large featured image
- Photo card- a photo only card
- Gallery card- lets you showcase four photos, so you can link to specific menu items or special offers
- App card- provides details of your mobile app and the option to download if you have one
- Player cards- showcase videos, which could be customer testimonials or your head chef running through the specials
- Product cards- specifically designed for products, so consider using for items on your menu
Run a regular Twitter chat
Why not use the platform to really get some quality feedback from your customers via a Twitter chat? You could run these on a regular basis, focusing on a different topic each week or month to keep things interesting and get some fantastic interaction with your followers.
You could run chats that explore the things people love and are less keen on from your menu, get their thoughts on restyling the décor in your restaurant, what they’d love to see on your specials board or the drinks they’d like to be able to get behind the bar.
You’ll again need to think of a great hashtag for your chats, as these will pull the whole thing together and ensure everyone taking part can see what the other Twitter users have to say.
Once you’ve got your topic for the chat and hashtag sorted, get your staff involved too as each week/month a different team member could run the chat, for instance one week it can be your head chef and the following chat could be led by your lead bartender.
When starting out on Twitter, it’s important to be patient as it takes time to build up a genuine and loyal following who will engage in what you are putting out there and share with their followers too. However, if you keep doing a great job in your restaurant and are pointing these customers in the direction of your Twitter profile, you’ll soon see your follower count and interactions start to rise.