There are thousands of restaurants on Twitter, but it takes more than a username and followers to really get it right. It’s important to vary your content and to provide information that your followers will want in their stream—after all, they’re your potential customers!
Here’s a look at ten ways restaurants use Twitter effectively, with examples from some of our favorite places in New York and Los Angeles:
They provide coupons, discounts, and giveaways.
Posting exclusive deals on Twitter is a great way to get a following. Luna Park is known for their 50% off days. Even if your discounts aren’t as steep, customers love being rewarded for following. Complimentary dessert, a free meal to the first person who retweets, or a few dollars off are all great incentives for your followers to walk through your door.
They list food and drink specials.
Almost every restaurant has daily or weekly specials, and Twitter is the quickest and easiest way to broadcast these selections. Akasha does a great job here.
They provide information that’s actually useful.
Here, Beachcomber Cafe lets its followers know that they’re booked for Mother’s Day. This is good information to know. Other helpful tweets can include parking info, nearby road closures, or subway directions.
They link to photos, especially ones of food.
This, for me, is the one of the biggest motivators to actually dine at a restaurant I follow on Twitter. There’s nothing like a picture of the day’s special to stir up cravings. In this case, Joan’s on Third doesn’t even have to post their own picture—they retweet one that a customer took! It doesn’t get much easier than that.
They acknowledge existing customers.
Supper replies to customers who mention them in a tweet, and Xoom thanks customers who check in on Foursquare. POP Champagne Bar takes it a step further and tweets to someone who hasn’t even arrived yet, giving them a great impression of the restaurant before they even set foot inside. Thank the ones who come into your restaurant and end spread the good word to their own network.
They link to relevant pages on their website.
Border Grill provides their detailed updates on a webpage that they link to in this example. A shortened link (use bit.ly to make it fit) is one of the easiest calls to action you can put in a tweet.
They showcase their accomplishments.
Yummy Cupcakes lets their fans know that they got some major press Some restaurants also highlight favorite reviews on Yelp and Citysearch and link to other media mentions. If people think your business is great, let your potential customers know!
They know how to use hashtags.
Not only does Upper West tweet what’s going on and their phone number, but they also use effective hashtags, which makes them more likely to be found by customers.
Cute, funny statements, like this one from Wafles & Dinges, make a restaurant Twitter account feel more human and less like a series of marketing blasts.
They show the people behind the scenes.
Featuring an employee or a chef, like Cube did here, is a simple way to make your followers feel like they’re insiders, as well as foster a great sense of community.
These don’t just apply to restaurants. Bookstores, boutiques, and all other small businesses can take these tips and apply them to their tweets.
GIVEAWAY: Want more tips like this? Lara Dickson wrote the book (literally!) on this stuff. We’re giving away copies of her book, Twitter for Restaurants, to a lucky winner at each of our Sidewalk Collective events later this month. If you’re NYC or LA, come out to an event on May 25th (details here) for a chance to win!