Most people have heard of Twitter, but there are still quite a few who don’t know exactly what it is. By the end of the article, you should not only know what Twitter is, but how it can help you promote your business online and engage with your customers.
Twitter is a social media platform where users can share links, information, thoughts, and comments in up to 140 characters. Unlike Facebook, profiles are usually public, meaning that you can see anyone and anyone can see you. With Twitter, users ‘follow’ other users to have discussions and find links to information and stories that interest them. Read further on how to promote restaurant online using Twitter.
Basic Twitter Terminology
Tweet: A 140 character message.
Retweet (RT): Sharing someone else’s tweet.
Favorite: Twitter’s version of liking a tweet.
Feed: The real-time news feed of tweets from the users you follow.
Handle: Your username.
Mention (@): This is a way to mention another user by their username in a tweet, for example @BonApp. It allows for public discussion, and is similar to Facebook’s tagging feature.
Direct Message (DM): If you don’t want your conversation to be public, you can send a 140 character private message to another user. You can only DM a user who follows you.
Hashtag (#): Adding a hashtag in front of a word indicates a certain topic of conversation. It also allows other users to find your tweets by searching for that hashtag. For example: #restaurant or #yourcity or #BBQ. You can also click a hashtag to see all of the tweets that mention it, even from people you don’t follow.
How Twitter Can Benefit Restaurants
Food is all over the internet, and most importantly, all over social media — especially Twitter. You’ve probably noticed it in your restaurant or when you go out to eat with friends. People just love taking photos of their food and posting them to social media. According to Twitter, 52% of its users dine out at least a few times a month. Twitter is mainly used on smartphones, so it’s an ideal platform for posting on the go. In the UK, 55% of users log onto Twitter while in a restaurant, and 37% of those tweet about food and restaurants have posted a photo of their meal.
How To Start
So how can you join in the fun? Easy! Here’s how to start with Twitter. First you have to sign up and complete your profile. As a handle, you would most likely choose your restaurant’s name. Next, upload a profile picture and a background photo. Briefly describe your business. You can also add a link to your website here.
Like with Facebook, post often, so that users who look you up don’t see an account that hasn’t been updated for months. This tends to scare people off and stop them from following you.
What to post
Post good food photos with your tweets. If you are advertising a lunch special, add a photo of it. Encourage your customers to post their photos and tweets with an @ mention. Then, offer a discount or just say thank you (online, of course) to those who shared their experience in your restaurant.
Following and Followers
Once you’ve set up your Twitter profile, you are now ready to start following others. Like with Facebook, start with people you know. Then, look at who your friends and family are following. Because you are a business, you should follow other local businesses or your suppliers. If someone starts to follow you, you don’t necessarily have to follow them back. And if you start following someone and you find you don’t like what they have to say, you can unfollow them.
Tips for Gaining Followers
Watch your tweet length. In other words, keep them short, but not too short. If another user wishes to retweet your tweet, then a tweet under 110 characters will leave room for them to add their own comment. At the same time, try to keep your tweets above 70 characters. Short tweets tend not to get as much attention. For example, ‘Try our new spaghetti carbonara–with a twist!’ sounds much more interesting than, ‘Try our new pasta dish.’
Retweeting can help you find new people to follow and also share interesting posts with your followers. There is also no shame in asking for your tweet to be retweeted. Say you have a new dish on the menu — ask your followers to spread the word by retweeting your post.
Like with Facebook, add photos to your tweets when you can. If you tweet about your new menu item, include a great photo of it, too!
You’re probably wondering about hashtags. Hashtags are a quick and easy way to gain new followers because by adding a hashtag to the end of your tweet, you open yourself up to a wider audience. Let’s say you tweet: New menu item; (photo of said menu item included); (link to menu); #freshpasta #italianfood. Those searching for #italianfood would see your post with your great photo and may be inclined to come and try it out, or at least Favorite it.
Twitter only allows 140 characters at a time, so if you are adding a link to your website or menu, you may wish to shorten it. This can be done through apps like TweetDeck. You can also shorten your URL through different websites like this one.
Using Favorites is also a good way to get new followers. People are alerted when their tweet is favorited. They will then see that you favorited the tweet, and if curious, will look at your profile and follow you back.
Twitter for local business
Like most small businesses, you probably rely on local business. Twitter can help you find people who tweet and live near you, as they are the ones that are more likely to come and visit you. Here’s how you can find them:
Start by doing a local search for your city name, neighborhood, and local venues. You can do it without a hashtag. You can use the search box at the top of the screen to find tweets posted near you. Local people can be found if they have listed your city name in their profile. If you are still not satisfied with the results, you can try an advanced search. This allows you to add a geographical range to you search. For example, you can search New York, NY within a distance of 5 miles.
Social media is an easy way to promote your business online. Think of Twitter as an ongoing conversation with millions of people. Don’t be shy, join in!