You’ve got to be on Twitter! — or so everyone keeps saying. We here at ShiftZen don't think anyone giving this advice actually uses the service. At a conference we once heard a “social media expert” recommend that businesses should “get verified” on Twitter to increase their status — though Twitter famously (or infamously) doesn’t let users control that. This “expert” probably read a lot about Twitter, but, quite obviously, didn’t use it.
And that’s the problem with most social media advice, it isn’t “social” at all since it often wasn’t developed within the community itself. But luckily for you, ShiftZen’s team was, and we have a few tips that will actually get your restaurant’s Twitter account rolling towards long term relationships with users and ultimately driving sales. Yes, these principles actually work.
1. Don’t sell.
This one seems obvious but it’s the most common mistake across marketing Twitter accounts. Listen, restaurant owners, DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE. Restaurants have a built-in advantage in that brands related to food (much like entertainment brands) are something people naturally want to share anyway. People tie food to memories. You’re not selling tires, so don’t act like it. Do not sell your product, just share “fun” content.
2. Be fun. Or be informative.
Notice we didn’t just say “create great compelling content” or something horribly vague. “Fun” is easy if you just literally try to have fun, and informative tells people stuff they want to know, about you or otherwise. Make sure your tweets always do one or the other (or both!) What’s something funny you could tweet involving a great picture of your food, building or employees? A gentle joke at a competitor, a sarcastic quip, or an indulgent photo with a funny hashtag? Find what works and go with it. But remember, at first, you’re not selling, you’re just trying to have fun and possibly update them on some news, and your followers will do the work for you. People want to share funny or informative tweets, so let them!
3. Get good pictures & video
People don’t have $800 HD screens in their pockets for no reason! Hire a professional photographer, or throw up a cheap Craiglist ad for a local design student. It doesn't matter — just get some decent photos. You should get a bank of at least 50-100 photos or clips of your food and staff around your building that you can use at will for tweets and posts.
4. Don’t get personal.
Are you on the local radio show every week? Are you recognized around town? Are you Anne Hathaway or George Clooney? If the answer to these questions is “no” — then don’t tweet from the first person or about your personal issues. Just don’t do it. There’s nothing weirder than seeing a tweet about great local coffee and then another complaining about crying babies on airplanes from your local java grinder’s account. Twitter is supposed to be informal, but that doesn’t mean TMI isn’t in full social force.
5. Use it.
No, really. This is the only way this account will be successful, and no matter how painfully unfunny you may be, if you watch Twitter enough, you’ll get the hang of it. Trust me. In fact, use it as a great resource for ideas! Try this: follow about 100 restaurant or restaurant tech/marketing accounts, and get on twitter for about 20 minutes a day and just...read . Not only will you see what your competitors are doing, you’ll learn other valuable news and tips while you’re working.
If you tweet funny things, and people like your restaurant and food, they will share it. Just give them a chance!