Ways for Restaurants to Use Twitter

 In 4. Jenny Brooks, Marketing, Public Relations

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By Jenny Brooks

In my last post here on Restaurant Expert David Scott Peters’ site, I discussed Twitter and its move toward mainstream communication methods. I promised I would follow up with a post about specific ways to use Twitter for your restaurant.

At the top of my list is to first remind you to let your customers know you are on Twitter and to follow you on there. You can do this in a variety of ways. Use your POS system (i.e., include it in your restaurant information on the receipt where your address and phone number are [and where your Web site should be], print an extra receipt encouraging your customers to find you on Twitter a la Target or Gap with “survey” offers). Or you can have business-card sized pieces printed up with your Twitter address. Put up signs at the register, or table tents on the table. Whatever you can afford and whatever works for your audience.

Now, once you’ve made it clear that you are on Twitter, encourage your customers to follow you there. On those business cards, offer a discount to anyone who follows you on Twitter. Or give a small chotchke to those who follow you. (Make sure to say hi to them from your Twitter account when they follow you.)

What should you do once you get on Twitter?

Get active! Participate. Comment, retweet (see here for great tutorials on using Twitter and getting the lingo), follow others, get out there.

Your “Tweets,” or your 140-character posts can do many things.
1. List the daily specials for all the day parts you serve. Do this for each day part a couple of times per day. Tweets get buried, so it’s OK to tweet a couple of times per day about your specials so that you’re sure they’re seen.

2. Tweet about any daily offers, such as a discounts, promotions, events.

3. Create special Twitter promotions and tweet about them. For example, to the first three customers of the day who mention your tweet from that day, give them a free dessert, or 50% off their meal, or something great. Reward them for following you and for coming into the restaurant. And you can limit the offers – you don’t have to give them to everyone. Be sure to announce the winners on Twitter to show people you’re really doing it, you’re rewarding your followers/customers and building your community one tweep at a time (Twitter People!).

4. Host a Tweetup in your restaurant – a social gathering formed through posts/invitations on Twitter. Only those on Twitter and following you will know about it, plus to anyone they invite to come along. It’s like an inner circle where entrance into the group is through Twitter. Easy, but people like to feel like they have exclusivity. Then as part of the Tweetup, offer some kind of incentive to have it in your restaurant, such as a private patio, server on staff exclusively for the Tweetup, a free round of appetizers (with limits, of course), or give coupons for those who come back the next time. I think hosting a Tweetup has a lot of potential and would make a good post for the future – the ways to maximize and organize one, which could also be applied to just ramping up your happy hour or lunch hour.

5. Tweet from your restaurant throughout the day, letting people know when is a good time to come into the restaurant, who might be there (list they Twitter addresses such as @customer1), who’s working that day, etc. This builds a sense of community and drives people to keep tabs on what’s going on in your restaurant.

With five tips, I’m done for now. This is a long post, but hopefully worthwhile.

Don’t delay – join Twitter today. If you are already on there, share how we can find you in the comments below – I’ll follow you and so will David Scott Peters, who support independent restaurant owners all the way. You can find us at @jennybrooks and @restaurantXpert.

Jenny Brooks is a public relations professional providing expert and strategic tactics for businesses trying to increase awareness about themselves and their products. She is also the editor of SMART Systems Insider, a monthly newsletter from Restaurant Expert David Scott Peters. Questions about PR and how she can help your restaurant? Email her.

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