Twitter has effectively been our micro-blogging friend for a decade, which has changed the face of marketing because this great promotional tool allows brands to push strategic initiatives in concise, 140-character chunks. Still, in this online age, it remains true that many are still somewhat in the dark about all the features and benefits this social media venue has to offer brands. To that end, here are 13 pointers on maximizing that little bluebird's many features.
1. Profile basics:
Your profile picture and brand "bio" are the most relevant information in your profile because they both describe your brand and stick by every tweet you send out. Make sure you incorporate appropriate business details, like hours, menu items and your personalized logo.
2. "Lists" and how to use them:
Lists are all about the many people, vendors and organizations your brand engages. For example, a restaurant may interact with bloggers to generate buzz around promotional activities or vendors to stay on top of the latest products and services for topnotch restaurant performance. And there's plenty of room for lots of subjects since brands can now make up to 1,000 lists and each list can include up to 5,000 accounts.
3. Following: An exercise in 'selectivity'
Remain selective in the people and brands you follow, lest you end up clogging your own account with too many, often brand-irrelevant tweets that end up watering down your own message. Seek the twitter accounts that matter to your brand and deactivate the "automatic follow feature." For informed input on which accounts you are best fit to follow, tap into tools like Audiense, Twitter Analytics and FollowerWonk.
4. Voila! Instant story creation via 'Moments'
Twitter’s newly launched storytelling feature, Moments, can be an effective way to optimize engagement on your account. This content curation tool allows you to gather and share a collection of tweets about a specific topic, like a brand-related event or trend.
5. Make a direct connection to Direct Messaging
Brands often disable direct messaging by default, which can be a mistake. Instead, poke around in those privacy settings and make sure this particular feature is enabled. This allows your brand to receive often-critical private messages that your followers would not otherwise post in a more public venue.
6. Twitter ads are targeted ads
Restaurants catering to specific groups of people can benefit from Twitter advertising since it allows specific ad customization and delivery to people who matter the most to your business. Consider targeting followers of similar accounts through Twitter ads to capture the exact clientele you're seeking. Ads also give you the option to search according to relevant hashtags and help target previous customers, using your existing customer database.
7. Use the trending topic to stay 'of-the-moment'
Some of the highest traffic online revolves around trending Twitter topics, so tapping into these can yield big benefits. Though many trending topics are breaking news, others can be planned well in advance if they are pre-scheduled and high interest. These topics also give brands an opportunity to create awareness among whole new sectors of potential customers.
8. Coupon-based marketing makes effective sales platform
Twitter is well equipped to increase restaurant sales online and in-store through coupon-based marketing that offers numerous benefits, like exclusivity with Twitter followers, who brands can then reward and simultaneously get measurements from for overall brand performance with this particular group. Coupon-based marketing also increases brand visibility and loyalty, so adding features that allow followers to like and retweet your offerings only multiplies your audience.
9. A time-sensitive customer service tool
Customer service conversations via Twitter have multiplied 2½ times over the last two year alone. The immediacy the venue offers for brand response and problem-solving goes a long way to show your restaurant brand cares and works to keep loyal customers.
10. The engagement formula
Twitter engagements work on the 80/20 rule. That is, about 80 percent of your conversations should be follower interaction, while just 20 percent should revolve specifically around the brand's programs and goals. This means wise brands send customers personalized messages, while regularly reviewing customers' opinions and criticism and keeping track of who is saying what.
11. An excellent path into better 'influencer marketing'
The wisest brands on Twitter are constantly keeping watch for key influencers to follow as well as what types of content they're sharing in order to hack some follows, likes and retweets. Klout is an imperative tool that helps brands identify Twitter's most influential users. Similarly, be sure to acknowledge influencers who do share your content because just a single share from an influencer can put you on the map.
12. You ought to be in pictures
Research indicates that tweets with photos or videos have a wider reach than unadorned content. In fact, the retweet percentage for tweets with images increases 150 percent, while the number of clicks increases 18 percent. And remember that these images don't necessarily need to be professionally produced since often just a photo snapped on a smartphone can be tremendously effective when the right content is the subject.
13.Twitter Analytics makes invaluable tool
Reviewing your target audience's tweets can provide keen insight into the pool of possibilities you should consider tapping. Twitter analytics can easily measure your tweets' visibility and how they engage your customers. These analytic results are a great means of learning the types of content your customers prefer.
Photo source: iStock
/ A serial entrepreneur with a focus on restaurant marketing, working on the latest venture mKonnekt. mKonnekt is a platform that mines customer data to create personalized and unique dining experiences.