Twitter for Restaurants: 7 easy strategies to bring in more guests

You’ve stocked your kitchen, your tables shine, and an assembly line of employees have wrapped hundreds of utensils up in napkins. Your restaurant is ready to open its doors, but is anyone ready to visit? Attracting guests in the twenty-first century has nothing to do with how prepared you are. Okay, it has a little to do with how prepared you are, but more important than ever is how your restaurant fairs in the online world. The internet can seem scary to a restaurant, one of the few remaining businesses whose physical product and level of human interaction hasn’t entirely shifted to virtual. So how do you, as a restaurant, engage with your guests over social media? Let’s talk Twitter. In the past decade years, Twitter has gone from to one of the most efficient platforms for restaurants to directly speak with guests. The famous Wendy’s tweets garnered tens of thousands of likes, and while you don’t have to have as quick a wit as their PR team, you can achieve the same level of engagement with these 7 social media tips for restaurants on Twitter.

#7. Follow, Follow, Follow.

Whether you’re brand new to Twitter, or have long had an account that isn’t performing as well as you’d like, the key to gaining more followers on any social media platform is to get your name out there. Spend quality time following other restaurants in your area, businesses near your location, and influential accounts such as community outreach groups or local small government offices. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your own follower count will increase, and how many local businesses take advantage of happy hour deals, specials, and discounts.

You can start by following us!

#6. Post “Moments”.

Twitter moments are a relatively new addition to the site, but can be significantly lucrative in connecting you to your customer base. On your own homepage, the “Moments” tab appears on the taskbar marked by a lightning bolt. Moments are divided into sections, of which the most applicable to you are Entertainment and Fun. While the site-wide moments are usually more high-profile news stories or celebrity updates, your personal posted moments can be just as important. When you view your Twitter account as a customer would, your moments are saved and organized chronologically, accessed easily from your profile. Like a Snapchat or Instagram “Story”, your moments allow you to promote a renovated bar, seasonal drink specials, or a new appetizer menu. Unlike other sites, Twitter moments can be permanent. Posting details as moments keeps them separate from the information you tweet on your timeline, and allows guests to weed out the information that they don’t need, in order to get to the information that they do.


#5. Use Hashtags to Engage with Trends.

The hashtag has been a staple feature on almost all social media sites for years now. However, there are still a few sneaky ways to use hashtags on Twitter to boost your engagement. When you arrive at your homepage, there’s a column on the left-hand side of your screen labelled “Trends for you”. Listing various hashtags popular that day, or even that hour, Twitter trends and their associated hashtags can skyrocket your visibility if used correctly. Here’s an example: Memorial Day Weekend. Popular for its barbecues and outdoor activities, holidays like Memorial Day almost always trend. If, say, the trending hashtag is #MemorialDay, your restaurant can use that hashtag in carefully constructed, relevant tweets. Maybe it rains, in which case you would tweet: “Don’t miss out on the #MemorialDay festivities just because of the weather. Come down to #JakesCrabShack and keep the celebration going!” Trending hashtags are a great way to stay relevant and engage with the large-scale discussions taking place on Twitter. However, they don’t have to be trending. If you’re not enthusiastic about that day’s trends, simply hashtag common buzzwords like #restaurant, #burgers, or #datenight within your tweets. Anything can be a hashtag, and each one ensures that Twitter users searching for these same terms will see your business listed as a result.
“It doesn’t have to be #MemorialDay to get some tasty #appetizers! At @JakesCrabShack during daily #happyhour specials, all apps are half price! See you tonight!”

#4. Photography is Key.

People love pictures. That’s why Instagram and Snapchat are so popular. However, you can use photography on your Twitter account to access the best of both worlds. Tweets that contain pictures not only perform between 30% and 50% better than their word-only counterparts, but they help, again, with that pesky issue of connection. An audience in the virtual world is going to be more enticed by a well-shot photograph of a burger than a tweet simply announcing the new addition to your menu. Take time to invest either in teaching your own management how to take good pictures, or hiring an outside photographer for a day of kitchen shots, meal shots, and interior photos of your decor. Luckily, phone cameras are almost as good as stand-alone cameras, and finding nice lighting is a quick YouTube tutorial lesson guaranteed to beef up your Twitter page. Start with a profile photo and a cover photo for your homepage, and work from there.


#3. Like and Retweet Community Accounts

Likes and retweets are the most direct way for your new restaurant to engage with the online community. Twitter timelines are organized by tweets your followers send, tweets your followers like, and tweets your followers retweet. In order to receive the maximum amount of your own likes and retweets, you have to do the same for others. Staying relevant or becoming relevant is all about timing. If your account is consistently active, and consistently appearing in the “Notifications” section of accounts in your community, then neighbors, local businesses, and other new restaurants will notice you. Not only that – they’ll be curious about you. Garnering a social media following is all about keeping people interested and curious, which is easily done when you work hard to maintain a supportive and interested presence in your online community. Showing positive reinforcement to companies and accounts in your region leads to positive reinforcement for your own business.

#2. Like and Retweet Your Own Tweets

It may seem silly, but one of the most effective ways to work within the constraints of the Twitter algorithm, or any social media algorithm, is to self-promote. Since social media heavily relies on timing, important posts that you want to be highly visible can often get buried if your community is active. To increase the probability of your followers seeing your brand new patio furniture, post once, with a picture, and then like and retweet the photograph after a few hours. Generally, if your post isn’t performing as well as you’d like in its first five hours, you can retweet the same post instead of making a new one, thereby keeping the same number of likes, comments, and retweets present on that post already. These numbers from the first time around will help entice other users to like or comment themselves. This also means that an entirely new sector of active users whom your post missed the first time will be able to engage with your promotions. Further down from this primary level of connection, the more you tweet and promote, the more friends-of-friends will see your promotions. When a person likes your tweet, that activity shows up on their friends’ timelines, a sort of “here’s what your friends are engaging with” effect. The more your tweets are visible, the more likely it is that your posts will crop up on this secondary level of engagement.

#1. Be Active.

Although this seems like it goes without saying, being active in a community is different than being active as a personal entity. The number one best way for restaurants to connect with their guests is to talk to them. Post signs inside your restaurant with your Twitter handle (an ampersand followed by your username) attached, add your handle to bar signs in chalk outside, or have it printed on the bill so that your servers and hosts can direct your guests toward your profile. Reminiscent of Yelp, Twitter is a faster and more popular way for your guests to tweet at you about bad experiences that need corrected, or great experiences that they want to share with their own follower base. Either opportunity affords you the chance to demonstrate your customer service skills, which, at the heart of all of this, is why you’re working in hospitality in the first place. Restaurants are based on direct personal interaction, and a guest who sees your Twitter account interacting politely and positively in an online space will assume that your business operates the same way with its in-person guests.

With these seven tips practiced consistently over time, your restaurant should see not only a Wendy’s-style boost in followers, but a boost in your clientele as a whole. Stay engaged, and hungry followers will follow.

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