#SocialRestaurant: How to use Twitter effectively

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

They’re all on it. Big national chains, high-profile chefs and small emerging brands across the UK have realised the power of Twitter. But in the fast-moving world of social media, how can you use the networking site to convert followers to customers?

This BigHospitality podcast should help. More than 200 members of the restaurant industry recently attended a seminar organised by reservations specialist Livebookings, and we were on-hand to gather some simple Twitter tips.

Bruce Daisley, director of Twitter UK (@brucedaisley), highlighted a number of key elements you should be focusing on to ensure you’re making the most of your business’s account. We also spoke with restaurant marketing consultant Vikki O'Neill (@VONmarketing) and The Table Café (@thetablecafe) owner Shaun Alpine-Crabtree, for their advice.

Daisley advised that a bit of variety is needed, whether it be photos, videos, competitions or exclusive special offers – things that engage those followers and potential customers. We’ve pulled out a few recent tweets from businesses across the UK as prime examples of the points that were made made.

Images

According to Daisley, photos are the number one form of content across all social media networks – they are around seven times more effective than the average tweet. ‘Behind-the-scenes’ photos of your restaurant, or simple pictures of dishes like the one in the tweet from The Table Cafe below, can be particularly effective.

Video

Highlighted in the audio by Vikki O'Neill as 'the next big step' in social media for restaurants, mobile app Vine allows users to record a six-second movie​- either with continuous or broken up video clips - and post it on Twitter. This one from Pizza Express is a great example of using Vine to promote your product and generate some interaction with your followers. 

Tone of voice

It is important to keep it conversational but always consider what will fit with your brand and think about your customers. The tweet below from Turkish restaurant Mangal 2 is a great example of using humour to give your brand a point of difference on Twitter - but of course this might not be the best approach for a high-end establishment. 

Competitions

Twitter competitions are a great way to promote your business. They can bring in many more new followers and potential customers, but only if you play the field well. Beware of ‘spamming’ your follower’s news feeds, and make sure the prize is going to generate excitement and make your followers press that all-important 'retweet' button. This one from Mexican chain Benito's Hat is a great example.

Our podcast concludes with the burning question: Is all of this actually worth it? Alpine-Crabtree from The Table Cafe certainly thinks so. "You're asking the million dollar question," he said. "You can see the return on investment - we ran a very specific event which we were able to moniter and therefore monetise based on one particular moment. 

"What is the value of 10,000 people talking about you? Can you put a price on it? Absolutely not? Is it necassary? Absolutely."

If you’re still looking for social media help or advice for your business, take a look at our Special Feature​on the subject – and don’t forget to read our Top 5 Twitter Do's and Don't's.

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