I'm not a restaurant owner nor do play one on Twitter, but if you own a restaurant then you should pay close attention to this post because for each reason, I have a solution for success.
From what I've heard from restaurant owners the food business isn't easy in fact it's a grind. Making sure the food is good and dealing with an array of service issues keeps a lot of restaurants owners up 24/7. For many restaurant owners Twitter is a great channel for low budget word of mouth marketing. So why is it that when I talk to restaurant owners across the country the successes they see on Twitter are small?
Something that's more discouraging to me is when I scan my own Twitter newsfeed it plays out like a graveyard of abandoned restaurant Twitter accounts...
There is a number of reasons why restaurants fail on Twitter, these three below are core to why I’ve seen so many failed attempts.
1 - Consistency Social media is a daily grind. One of the things many restaurants lack on Twitter is the consistency to tweet. When I say consistency I mean that a business account on Twitter should tweet 3-5 times per day. For restaurant owners this is no small task, most owners go into Twitter with the best of intentions and then end up passing the tweeting duties to a hostess or manager. Before long, a restaurant will tweet once a week, monthly or not at all.
Solution for success - designate 20 minutes everyday to tweeting for the restaurant. If someone else in the restaurant is doing it make sure it is part of (his or her) daily tasks just like covering up the perishables at night. Twitter has become an ocean of tweets and in order to be heard consistency is king.
2 - Building a story Everyone loves a good story, and social media is no different. Fans want to hear your story, but restaurant owners don’t always think in terms of storytelling. Many restaurants fall into the trap of tweeting food images and promotions, which all too often brushed over by fans or potential customers. Think for a moment, if every restaurant has a beautiful picture of a burger, what makes one burger stand out from the rest?
Solution for success - approach food images and promotions from a storytelling lens. What seems like a long process can actually be simple. For example, instead of tweeting the finished burger, tweet a picture of the burger’s ingredients or the type of beef prior to cooking.
Use a storytelling message with the picture, “Our Texas Burger begins with onions and green chiles the finished burger is waiting for you.”
Keep in mind that the story starts and then ends with the fan coming in to see what this burger looks like.
A great example of storytelling through social media is The Grilled Cheese Truck. Owner Dave Danhi uses Twitter to tell the story about each grilled cheese sandwich he creates. Take a quick glance at his tweets and approach. Danhi says. “We cleared 13,000 followers in five months. Twitter is nothing short of amazing. But following the Tweets can be a full-time job. We get 500 Tweets a day at the minimum.
3 - Acknowledging customers One of the main reasons why fans and customers follow a restaurant is to be acknowledged. The pitfall for restaurants is that peak Twitter feedback comes usually comes during busy restaurant times. Restaurants often forget to respond to tweets because the whole staff is too busy serving food thus leaving customers feeling neglected.
Solution for success - setup a response time window for your customers. Opening a Twitter chat time after peak hours is the best way to communicate.
Tweet something like: We want to hear from you, How were today’s fish tacos? Join us us for #FishTacoChat at 2 pm.
Being transparent with customers about when you can interact with them is what two way communication on Twitter is all about. Customer will understand that your staff is busy.
What do you think? Have you experienced these same types of issues as a restaurant owner or manager? What type of approach worked for you?