Twitter, now with a base of 140 million users, has taken the world by storm since its launch in 2006. From celebrities to the average Joe down the street, Twitter has them all. And chances are some of them 140 million users are already your customers. People that have already dined with you are waiting on Twitter for you to build a relationship with them outside of the restaurant. Build a relationship with them and you can be sure that the next time they’re hungry, the next time they have a date, the next time they treat their partner, you’re the one they will think of.
Twitter, to some people, is a way of connecting with friends. To others it’s a way of building their brand. To many more it’s nothing more than a social network that they just have to be a part of. But to you, the restaurant owner, the restaurant marketer, Twitter is your chance to build relationships with your customers, but more importantly build relationships with potential customers. It’s your chance to fill those empty tables on a Wednesday evening. It’s your chance to become closer to the people that make your business tick. Today, we share five ways you can use Twitter to attract new customers.
Customers love coupons and discounts. In times gone by, you may have had to hand out flyers on the street or spend money on newspaper advertising, but with Twitter you can advertise for free. Whether the offer is a free bottle of house wine or a discounted lunch, your followers will spread the word for you.
You may already place a quirky handwritten note from the chef on each table. Or provide a personal welcome from the restaurant owner each time a customer enters. The front-of-house manager may even take her time to remember customers’ names and their favourite bottle of wine. All these go a long way in providing a human touch to the dining experience. But what happens outside the restaurant? How do you entice customers in to the restaurant in the first place? With Twitter, the opportunities are endless.
Customers are always curious to see what happens behind the scenes of any business, especially a restaurant. Use Twitter to show photos of how your meals are prepared, where your ingredients are sourced from or even of the kitchen staff hard at work. By using Twitter to show things that the general public wouldn’t normally see, you’re instantly building a relationship with potential customers.
By using Twitter to show things that the general public wouldn’t normally see, you’re instantly building a relationship with potential customers.
There’s a tendency when using Twitter for the first time to ‘sell, sell, sell’, but this is a sure fire way to lose touch with your audience and push them away. Twitter should be used to build conversation with your audience. By conversing with them and by taking a real interest in them like they do you and your business, your restaurant will be naturally promoted. While a gentle nudge in the right direction is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged); a coupon or a special offer for example, you shouldn’t be pushing your restaurant down the throats of those that follow you on Twitter. Converse with them on a personal level, and they’ll naturally shift from prospects to customers.
The food you serve may be the star of your show, but your chef is the supernova that creates those stars. Your aim, in any business, is to stand out above the crowd. Your job is to ensure that from the very first moment you converse with a prospect, to the moment they walk through your door, dine in your restaurant and walk away, you stand out and provide a better service than the restaurant down the street. By allowing your ‘supernova’ to share their recipes with your Twitter followers, you’re standing out above and beyond every other restaurant in town and are laying the foundations of a great relationship with your customer.
Using Twitter’s search function to search for people talking about you and your business is a fantastic way of receiving positive and constructive feedback. But it’s not only your restaurant that should be of interest. Tracking conversations about your competitors should be high on your list too. A bad review of a competitor may be the perfect opportunity for you to introduce yourself to a new prospect. And likewise, a good review of a competitor may be a great way for you to improve your own service.
However you use Twitter, remember it is a conversation tool. Aim to build a two-way relationship with prospects and customers, as opposed to forcing your marketing upon them. By building a relationship, your restaurant won’t just be “the Italian on 51st street”. It’ll be “Joe’s Italian. Joe who I was talking with on Twitter yesterday.”