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The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Twitter Marketing for 2019 and Beyond

by | Oct 15, 2019

When was the last time you interacted with a customer on Twitter? Don’t remember? If not, hang on tight as we discuss restaurant Twitter marketing and how you can leverage it to increase your revenue takings.

First, picture yourself in a time machine hurtling back to 1985. When you get out of your travel pod, you walk up to a restaurant owner with big hair and oversized sunglasses. Remember: it’s the 1980s. You greet him and say, “In the future, you’ll get to surf something called the Internet, a global framework of computer networks. On it, you’ll get access to virtual platforms visited by billions of hungry people daily. There, you’ll advertise to potential customers, communicate with them, and market your restaurant offerings. All from the comfort of your own home.”

Your fictional restaurant owner would probably say you were “juiced” (1980s slang for acting crazy). However, he would likely swoon over the idea of such a powerful marketing platform. This, in a nutshell, is precisely what Twitter is.

It’s a free platform filled with billions of hungry customers ready to respond to your marketing campaigns, given the right incentives. Here’s the problem — 30% of restaurants aren’t using it!

If this were still 1985, we would be telling you about the future benefits of Twitter. In 2019, however, we’re going to focus on why you have to be on Twitter, how to use it effectively, and how to score more diners through the avenue of organic social media marketing.

Understanding the Value of Twitter

With over 500 million tweets sent out daily and over 300 million daily users, Twitter is a social media powerhouse. For newer restaurants, the Twitterverse may seem a little intimidating. Everything is #hashtag ridden, short sentences are the norm, (think of Twittering as a form of micro-blogging), and your entire message has to be packaged in 140 characters.

However, hidden in this unique ecosystem of rapid posts, meme superhighways, and fast-firing food feuds is an incredible marketing platform that lets restaurants unleash their brand messaging, highlight promotions, and showcase their latest LTOs. In a nutshell, Twitter is an amazing marketing platform. But, first things first. Before you can start bringing in diners, inspire them to utilize your online ordering system, and score big profits, you have to create a profile.

How to Create a Twitter Profile

Creating a Twitter account for your restaurant only takes 9 easy steps. Yes, it really is that easy.

  1. Go to Twitter.com and click on the big blue “Sign Up” button.
  2. Insert your name, date of birth, and phone number (or email address).
  3. Next, you’ll be sent a text (or confirmation email).
  4. Create your password. We heavily recommend using at least 12 characters as well as a mix of numbers and letters. Here’s a thorough post that chronicles how long it would take someone to hack passwords at various lengths. Remember, the average restaurant subjected to a cyberattack will shut its doors within 6 months. Getting hacked can do serious damage to your brand reputation and result in plummeting revenues.
  5. Upload your profile photo. This is usually an image of your cuisine or the restaurant itself. We typically recommend that restaurants use their logos as their profile pics. It makes your restaurant instantly recognizable and adds a dash of branding to your page and the search results. Customers will see your profile pic when they’re researching different restaurants.

Don’t Forget That All-Important Bio

  1. Put some thought into your bio. You have 160 characters to sum up your restaurant’s value proposition, which isn’t much! So, just stick to the basics. Save your musings about Mediterranean cuisine for individual tweets. Here, we recommend including your restaurant name, menu, address, and a link to your online ordering system.
  2. You’ll get an option to import your contacts at this point. This means your email contacts will be added to your Twitter account. This WON’T mean your contacts will follow you. However, you’ll be following them.
  3. Now you’ll add your specialty. There are tons of great categories for food. So, you can add pizza, noodles, or whatever your restaurant offers.
  4. That’s it! You’re now on Twitter.
  5. Optional: If you have multiple restaurant locations, we recommend creating a separate Twitter account for ALL of your locations.


How to Build An Amazing Restaurant Twitter Profile

Restaurant Twitter Marketing in New York City.

Any restaurant can create a Twitter profile. Only a few restaurants will build AMAZING Twitter profiles. Let’s go over some tips and strategies to help you own Twitter.

#1: Build Up Your Twitter Followers

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to get some new followers. You can send out some interesting tweets, but without followers, you’re basically talking to an empty room. That said, there are plenty of ways to go about gaining followers. Some of the more unscrupulous methods — like buying followers — should be avoided at all costs. First, it may cost you your business. Second, your competitors can use Twitter auditing tools to find out if you have fake followers. How bad can it get? Read about how Devumi paid a high price for selling fake followers to celebrities and companies.

Here’s the honest truth — building a follower base takes time. However, you can speed up the process by utilizing smart marketing strategies.

Here are 3 quick ways to boost your follower count.

  1. Use conventional marketing to support your digital marketing efforts: Put your Twitter account on the back of your receipts, print it on takeout bags, and put up store signs with your Twitter handle.
  2. Leverage your existing relationships: Do you know other restaurant owners? Or, do you have any loyal customers with a huge Twitter following? Lean on them, and ask for a shoutout. Don’t forget to offer them a discount coupon for the favor.
  3. Reach out to influencers: You can also directly utilize influencers to grow your follower base. Did you know that over 40% of Twitter users say that Twitter influencers often inspire them to make purchases they wouldn’t otherwise make? Influencers can be powerful partners in your marketing campaigns. Note, however, that it can be expensive. We’re talking +$1,000 per post for an influencer to promote your products.

#2: Engage Your Diners

Restaurants new to Twitter often make this mistake: overpromoting themselves while ignoring their followers. It can be tempting to focus on your signature dishes, LTOs, and promotions. However, your followers need to know you care about more than just dollars and cents. Don’t just force-feed them marketing lingo 24/7. Engage with them, comment on their posts, and show genuine happiness that they’re open to connecting with you.

It will pay off big time. 80% of customers don’t believe that their favorite brands care about them as individuals. In going against that trend, you’ll create loyal customers for life.

#3: Create The Perfect Tweet

Wondering what to post? It can be tough figuring out exactly what to write before you press that “submit” button. However, there’s a formula to every tweet. We call it H.I.L.L.S. (Hashtags, Images, Links, Love, & Simplicity).

Hashtags: Remember to include relevant hashtags with every tweet. Not sure what those are? Check below.

Images: Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets and 89% more likes on average!

Links: Remember to post a link to your online ordering system.

Love: Be authentic and always stay true to your brand’s values.

Simplicity: You only have so many characters to introduce your restaurant to the world. So, keep things simple. The Twitter universe runs on short bursts of information.

#4: Leverage the Power of Hashtags

Hashtags can take your localized tweet and make it global. If you don’t know what hashtags are, they’re the secret sauce that makes Twitter so powerful. Hashtags are words (or phrases) with a hash sign (#) in front. Every tweet sharing the same hashtag is aggregated, and users can search by hashtags to get a stream of relevant posts — one of which could be yours.

Here are some of the best hashtags for restaurants.

  • #foodporn
  • #nom
  • #foodgasm
  • #chefmode
  • #foodie
  • #cleaneating

However, you should also include hashtags that are relevant to your post, restaurant, and location. For example, a pizza place in San Diego posting about its latest coupon could use the following hashtags:

  • #foodporn
  • #🍕
  • #SanDiegoEats
  • #coupons

This gives you a good mix of hashtags. Don’t overuse hashtags, however. Include a few with each post, not 30.

#5: The Keyword in Restaurant Twitter Marketing is “Relevance”

Being relevant isn’t about writing a specific number of posts every day or trying to connect your restaurant to every major industry event — it’s all about being in the moment. Keep up with current events and utilize current event hashtags when they make sense. If #keto is trending and you have a bacon burger with lettuce buns on your menu, consider including #keto to your post.

Be honest, thoughtful, and create posts that are relevant to the topic at hand.

Tip #6: Use Your Own Brand of Wit

It’s no secret that humor and wit are revered on social media. Wendy’s famous (possibly infamous) Twitter account is known for its sometimes acerbic tweets, and it’s not afraid to get a little sassy with customers. Arby’s Twitter prose is right up there, with witty ripostes and tons of smooth pop culture references thrown into the bargain. Let’s be clear — don’t copy Wendy’s tweeting style. There are about 5 million other restaurants already doing that. Instead, remember this one rule — be your wittiest, most authentic self!

Guess what customers long for most in a brand? It’s authenticity. 91% of consumers WANT to follow brands that post authentic content. Do you have a corny sense of humor? If so, your Twitter feed should bear this out.

5 Restaurants That Are Nailing Restaurant Twitter Marketing

Now that you know how to create an account and use some nifty strategies to stand out, let’s take a look at 5 restaurants that have mastered the art of tweeting.

1. Wendy’s

Wendy’s social media team set the gold standard for how “big restaurants” should engage with consumers online. Its Twitter account exploded in 2017 after users noticed its hilarious “oh snap” comebacks. However, beyond the witty retorts, Wendy’s has shown what authenticity looks like. As a result, the Twitter-verse will never be the same again.

The Top Restaurant Twitter Marketing Strategies To Steal from Wendy’s:

  • Be authentic.
  • Create your own unique brand voice.
  • Communicate with your followers.

Warning: We’ve seen plenty of restaurants attempt to mimic Wendy’s style. Yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, many of these restaurants have opted to use bad memes and flamboyant tweets for notoriety’s sake. Try to use the good parts of Wendy’s marketing style (authenticity, for instance), but don’t just copy its voice… unless that happens to be the voice of your brand, as well.

2. Arby’s

While Wendy’s is driven by humor, authenticity, and a little sarcasm, Arby’s Twitter account is all about pop culture memes, arts and crafts, and good vibes. This sets it apart from the competition. While Wendy’s is busy throwing out pun after pun and McDonald’s is trying to bounce between marketing conventions and “Twitter culture,” Arby’s is keeping things simple.

Want to see a video of a hand-crafted boat from the popular anime series One Piece coasting along a sea of Arby’s curly fries? Arby’s has you covered. Are you a massive Legend of Zelda fan with a taste for hashbrowns? Again, Arby’s has you covered. It’s important to note that these aren’t small undertakings. It took the Arby’s team 30 hours to handcraft that One Piece boat. That’s not all: the team puts out similar content nearly every day.

Sure, you may not have access to a full-blown marketing team. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage pop culture to get more followers and likes on your Twitter account.

The Top Restaurant Twitter Marketing Strategies To Steal from Arby’s:

  • Pop culture references can help you sell food.
  • Put a little more creative effort into your posts.

3. Sprinkles

With 24 locations and cupcake ATMs across the fruited plain, Sprinkles is one of the world’s most popular cupcake bakeries. Yes, that’s the same bakery that sells up to 1,000 cupcakes daily via its pink cupcake ATMs, the world’s first such pastry ATMs. This puts it in an interesting position. Should it try to inject tons of personality into its Twitter posts? Or should it stick to making people drool over high-definition shots of sugary, glittery, sprinkly deliciousness?

The bakery wisely chose both. Not only does the Sprinkles Twitter account showcase gorgeous shots of its signature cupcakes, but it also unleashes witty, fun, and positive posts on a frequent basis. On September 9th, Sprinkles asked customers which cupcake they’d like to see in the bakery on Thursday, September 12th. Everyone took a vote, and the winner was announced on Twitter (it was banana sugar, by the way).

This cupcake brand may not have the engagement levels that some of the bigger “fast food” brands have, but we’d say +140k Twitter followers is a big deal.

The Top Restaurant Twitter Marketing Strategies To Steal from Sprinkles:

  • Leverage #foodporn to the hilt.
  • Be positive. Always.
  • Ask your customers for advice.

4. Voodoo Doughnut

Not only does Voodoo Doughnut run one of our favorite Instagram accounts, but they also have a great Twitter account. In short, Voodoo Doughnut is absolutely outstanding when it comes to color schemes, photo presentations, and #foodporn. Its entire Twitter page is almost a twin of its Instagram page. With thousands of pictures drenched in its signature Voodoo-pink color, its Twitter feed is a seamless branding experience.

Let’s highlight a sample of what you’ll see when you get to Voodoo Doughnut’s Twitter site:

  • A picture of a corgi next to a branded box of donuts.
  • New merchandise on display next to its signature donuts.
  • Cool street murals.
  • Inventive takes on the humble donut, such as a customized donut wedding cake.

The Top Restaurant Twitter Marketing Strategies To Steal from Voodoo Donuts:

  • Brand early and often.
  • Leverage your food to cross-sell complementary merchandise.

5. Myers + Chang

This husband-wife restauranteur team takes an incredibly personal approach to social media. They celebrate guest birthdays, talk about their personal life and their cats, and have deep, meaningful conversations with their customers. For a restaurant with a single location, Myers + Chang has perfected being in the moment and being part of a larger community.

If you’re small, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow on Twitter. Myers + Chang shows the way with aplomb: the way to a customer’s heart is through caring authenticity. The duo even announces lunch specials on Twitter. On September 4th, Myers + Chang highlighted the incredible dish their sous chef, Chris Thompson, made for the lunch special: an octopus-wakame poke bowl. Then, the restaurant included a link to its Instagram account so customers could see how delicious the dish looked.

The Top Restaurant Twitter Marketing Strategies To Steal from Myers + Chang:

  • Be part of your community.
  • Engage in meaningful conversation with your followers.
  • Combine Twitter and Instagram to highlight your love of creating good food for your customers.

Restaurant Twitter Marketing and Online Ordering: A Symbiotic Relationship

You can have the best Twitter account on the planet. But, that may not be enough, especially if you don’t have a way to convert some of those hungry followers into diners. With 9Fold, you can create a hyper-branded online ordering system that’s filled with gorgeous photos of your signature dishes. Best of all, you don’t have to sell your soul (er…give a huge chunk of your profits) to 3rd party delivery apps.

Sound good? Contact us to arrange a free demo of our powerful platform!

Own a restaurant? Let’s chat.

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