How Are You Using Twitter?

Recently, one of my favorite local restaurants had their Twitter account hacked. For the first couple of tweets and direct messages, I let them know. I posted on their Facebook wall after the third tweet went out to their followers. After days of this I noticed that other local foodies and bloggers were commenting on this. Their number of followers was rapidly dwindling. They were tweeting their own messages, but ignoring numerous people telling them that they had been hacked. Another person watching this transpire decided to unfollow them. I replied to him that I was waiting to see how many days it would take for them to fix it. That is when something interesting happened.

The conversation grew to five people. Some of the most influential foodies and bloggers in town were discussing how unprofessional this business’s behavior was and broadcasting it to thousands of followers. Someone brought up a restaurant that had a great Twitter feed. Soon, that restaurant became involved in the conversation and invited us all in for a drink. A couple days later, this group was assembled at the bar of this restaurant. We spent plenty of money and tipped very well. The same followers that saw the other restaurant being blasted were treated to many complimentary tweets about the restaurant that invited us in. Today I am even writing a post on this blog to tell you that @grunauerkc is a twitter account you need to be following to see how a restaurant can use this technology to build a loyal customer base.

Here are three things that @grunauerkc does that your restaurant should be as well:

Have A Personality: As soon as I started following the account, I thought to myself that it had to be Scott behind the keyboard. I was a regular of Scott Beskow’s at his previous job and know him as one of the best bartenders in Kansas City. He also has the perfect personality to run this restaurant’s Twitter account. By selecting one person with a personality that matches the restaurant they have a consistent “voice” and convey that to those that follow them.

Be About More Than Business: I know there are tremendous marketing opportunities with Twitter, but that is not why most people use it. Most people still view it as a source of interesting and educational information. If your account is failing to take off, look at your content. Is it something that would interest you if you were not hungry? People will not follow you for the pleasure of reading your advertisements. You should follow a ratio of two non-advertising tweets for every one that you use to plug your business. Here is one of their most recent tweets:

Nothing about the restaurant, but it is being replied to and retweeted around my feed. It just popped up three times from people retweeting it. This is exposure, from there you will find out that their previous one is about the restaurant. You followers come and stay because of the non-marketing information you share.

Interact: The reason this post is being written is that @grunauerkc recognized the conversation and reached out. There are very few other online mediums where you can reach out in real time to join a conversation about your company. Recognize when people are talking about your company and join in the public conversation. Respond to people who mention you and you will further solidify the bond with your fans.

The restaurants that will capitalize on the opportunities that Twitter provides for marketing are those who realize that marketing is about more than simply advertising. Don’t look at Twitter as a free place to post your ads. Rather realize that it is a tool to build connections with your fans and have them do the marketing for you. We have created a far more sophisticate consumer and we need to reach out to them differently than in the past. Doing so will allow you to utilize this technology to reach more guests and higher sales peaks.

While you are thinking about Twitter, take a moment to follow The Hospitality Formula Network (@tips4tips) to keep up with all of the new posts on the network.

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About David Hayden

David Hayden is a restaurant marketing and training consultant based in Kansas City, MO. He writes a series of 9 blogs collectively known as The Hospitality Formula Network and is the author of "Tips2: Tips For Improving Your Tips" and "Building Your Brand With Facebook"

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