Twitter Tips for Restaurants, Part 1 in 2-Part Series.
To Tweet or not to Tweet, that is the question. Twitter is loved by many, but perhaps misunderstood by more. When many people think about Twitter, they think about random posts about mundane daily things, and say “I don’t need to tell the world what I’m doing every step of the way.”
But the reality is, that’s not how most people actually use Twitter – it can be a valuable news source, a networking opportunity or a great way to learn about new products or places. And, as part of that, many people do use the medium to report on some every day occurrences in their life. That is good for your business: they may be telling the world when they are at your restaurant or place of business or when they plan to be there. If you were on Twitter and getting alerts, suddenly the little tweet about a daily activity has some legs.
Using Twitter for restaurants allows you to:
Answer customer questions – many business Twitter accounts become “customer support” in a way. But you must be online often enough to answer questions or inquiries in a timely manner. On Twitter, that is usually within the hour, but definitely within 24 hours. Gone are the days of calling your restaurant to learn if there is a wait or what’s on tap – customers will tweet (or post to Facebook) to get a quick answer. Just be sure you are quick with your answer!
Monitor buzz and respond – you can track your business mentions easily on Twitter, especially if you use a social platform such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to do so. Through these tools, you can search or receive alerts every time your restaurant is mentioned or tagged. This allows you to see in real time guest check ins, plans, compliments or even complaints, and gives you a chance to do something about it, respond or prepare in the most timely manner. Let’s not forget the infamous Morton’s story – known as “the greatest customer service story ever told.” If not for monitoring their Twitter account and acting fast they would have lost out on millions of free impressions that were generated from this story.
Have conversations with followers – Twitter has different privacy settings than Facebook, so it’s easier to connect one on one with followers, regular customers, or those who mention you. While Facebook limitations generally don’t allow your brand to interact with customers unless you are responding to their posts, Twitter allows you to follow just about anyone or view just about any post, unless they have specifically changed their settings to private – but the nature of Twitter is such that most people have open accounts.
Talk about yourself – you can tweet more often than you should post on Facebook, so there is more opportunity to tell the Twittersphere about specials, promotions, hours, chefs, who is on staff that night, how long the wait is, if there are seats at the bar, if there is a celebrity (local or national) dining there, if there are reservations available, what’s on tap, etc. It’s a great way to keep communication current, immediate and newsworthy.
Talk about other things – again, with the best practice of tweeting more often (vs. posting on FB no more than 1-2 times per day), there is a lot more opportunity to talk about more than just you. What is relevant to your followers/customer base? Let them get to know you or your staff a little better, talk about community events, and give some great tips for cooking or pairing or baking. Link to blogs or articles that are relevant or to photos you’ve posted on Instagram.
Remember, social media is about your customers and being where they are – not expecting them to be where you are. If your customer base is Tweeting, you should be too!
Stay Tuned for Part 2 in this Twitter for Restaurants series: Best Practices Using Twitter for Restaurants