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How Restaurants are Incorporating Social Media—Part 2

On Tuesday April 24, we broke down the latest on restaurants using social media and some information on using Pinterest.  The other heavy hitters in the social media game are Facebook and Twitter.

It may seem like there is a lot involved with keeping up with social media—but it’s really not as time consuming as you think, especially when there are websites available such as HootSuite or Later Bro.  Sites like these enable you to post in advance, because let’s face it, during any meal time rush, the last thing you have time for is to post.

Here’s a breakdown and the latest on Facebook and Twitter as well as a few ideas to help you rejuvenate your pages.


On March 30, all Facebook fan pages got a facelift as they were automatically switched over to the new Timeline.  Some hate the new Timeline while others love it–but if you want to be on Facebook then you’re stuck with it. Don’t look at it that way though; the new Timeline feature actually brought on a few new really neat features that help to humanize your business. After all, your restaurant is more than words typed on a screen.

1. Cover Photo

The cover photo is at the top of your page and it’s a way to display what your business is about and grab attention.  Facebook did set a few rules on cover photos such as no calls to action, purchase information, contact information or references to interface elements (i.e. “Likes Us”).  So if you use one of these no-nos in your current cover photo, you may want to get it updated.  View the rules and cover photo tips here.

2. Contact/About Information

While you can’t outright promote in your cover photo, your contact and “About Us” area is where you can promote your business in your account settings.  There are actually a few different sections you can fill out—so write whatever works best to describe your restaurant.  The more information the better, so be sure to put in your address, website, phone number(s), hours of operation and anything else available.

3.  Apps

New word and new page placement, but same concept.  What are we talking about? Apps. Remember how you had “tabs” on your old Facebook page that were on the left side? For instance check-in, Like Us, maps, notes or a link to your blog? Those are now called “Apps” and they are located at the top of your page instead of at left. Four apps appear and you can add more (up to 12) in a drop-down. Just be sure the top four are your most important.

4. Top Pin

If there is something you want to be sure people see, such as a menu special or event, there’s an option now to make it a “top pinned post,” and it will stay at the top of your page. Do keep in mind, if you mark something as a top pinned post and it’s time sensitive, set a reminder for yourself to change it or un-mark it. According to a SmartBlog on Social Media article, top pinned posts can stay up for a week.

5. Pictures, Timeline and More New Features

It’s called the Facebook “Timeline” because it now allows you to tell the story of your business.   Things you posted in the past are easier for viewers to find and you can add milestones in your restaurant’s history such as when you first opened or a huge memorable event. It’s whatever you want to portray.

With the new Facebook Timeline, there is more of an emphasis of pictures–so if you can post some, whether it’s in a status or an album, do so!  And they don’t have to be anything epic.  Let’s say you’re having a special on one of your sandwiches. Instead of just posting a status update about the sandwich, why not include a picture with it?


While Facebook and Twitter are both social media sites with a concentration being on words, they are completely different and should be treated that way.  You get 140 characters.  That’s it.  But it’s really not that much of a challenge.  In a recent Sociable360 infographic, they describe Twitter being best for “short, to-the point updates; monitoring conversations about your brand and finding potential customers.”

We live in a world where people’s attention spans are low. If you don’t capture someone’s attention in the first sentence of anything, they move on. So with Twitter, they make you get straight to the point. Here are a few quick tips on making the most of your restaurant’s Twitter:

  • Make your tweets different than your Facebook posts so your audience has fresh content on both platforms.
  • If do have to have Twitter linked to Facebook, or vice versa, try to make the Facebook status 140 characters or less. It’s obvious to people when a tweet is just an actual Facebook post because it cuts off.
  • Only use Twitter terminology (hashtags, @ symbol) on Twitter and not on Facebook.
  • Post specials or tips to get people to come in! Restaurants are really the exception to the “don’t be over salesy” rule for businesses on social media. It’s okay to post “Two tacos for $1 until 6 p.m. today!” or “Doesn’t a personal pan pizza sound like the perfect lunch?”
  • Use hashtags to your benefit. The hashtag (#) marks an important keyword in a post. It spreads your posts out further, just beyond your own followers.
  • Use trending topics to your benefit.  If there is a way to incorporate a trending topic into a post, do it! Don’t add it in if it’s irrelevant though—only if it fits with what you’re saying.
  • Tweet back. Engage with your followers that are trying to interact with you. And interact with people you follow.
  • You can post pictures and video by using sites like TwitPic or yfrog.
  • Don’t spend too much time trying to compose “the perfect Tweet” because it’ll already be old news within five or 10 minutes.  Don’t waste time, just post.


Using Social Media for Your Restaurant: Twitter

In last week’s crash course on using Facebook for your restaurant, we learned just how important social media really is and how it can increase business to your restaurant. This week we’ll delve into Twitter.

If you’re completely unfamiliar to Twitter, visit the Twitter Guide Book for everything you need to know. This is also a great resource for frequent users as well.

Today’s blog will cover the basics. For those who use Twitter regularly for your restaurant, please comment below how it’s working for your business.

So what is Twitter? They said it best:

So you, the restaurant, are what people find interesting and compelling.  The end goal is to have people follow you—and they will. Like we said, you won’t see drastic numbers overnight. But as time goes by, your following will increase. Spread the word to customers in your signage, menus, website, etc. and it will help increase your number of followers too.

Getting Started

Get an account here. When choosing a name, you may have to be a little creative based on availability–but still pick a name customers will easily recognize.  They’ll walk you through the rest of the steps.

Composing Tweets

For anything people are reading, from news stories to magazine articles, if you don’t catch someone’s attention in the first couple sentences, you have lost them as a reader.  You can actually accomplish a lot in the 140 characters Twitter gives you because it’s forcing you to get down to the point. Keep it simple and relevant. You can tweet about things in the past or for the future, but as a restaurant, you can take advantage of the moment and tweet about what’s going on right now.  It might drive someone in the door. Twitter has especially been great for food trucks in letting people know where they are.


“Serving breakfast from 7a.m. to 11 a.m.!”

“Pork tenderloin special only available today.”

“Stop in for our famous BBQ bacon burger for lunch this afternoon.”

“The ABC food truck will be at the corner of 10th and Smith Street today from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.”


Many restaurants, like McDonalds, Hard Rock Café and Dominos, tweet conversation starters related to their restaurant but engage readers without just promoting a special. We learned last week in the Facebook blog that it’s okay to promote, but over-promoting drives people away.

“Today’s topic: diversity and inclusion at McDonald’s. We are a leader in the area and proud of the recognition we’ve received.” –@McDonalds

“Happy Birthday to the legendary Les Paul! He would have been 96 today.” –@HardRock

“Another 90+ degree day today at Domino’s HQ. No truth to the rumor that we’re cooking pizzas on the sidewalks.” –@dominos

Just like Facebook, you can connect with others too—which is a great way to get your name out there. Keep in mind Twitter is a live newsfeed, so the more you tweet the more people will see you.

The Twitter Vocabulary

Here are a few of the most commonly used words you will see when using Twitter. For all Twitter vocabulary words, check out the Twitter Glossary.

Tweet: Your message to the world.

Retweet (RT): A forwarded tweet.

At symbol (@): You have your username, i.e. ours is CRPRestaurant. The @ sign is used to call out usernames on Twitter. So, for instance, to message us, tweet @CRPRestaurant.

Mentions: You can click on @Mentions, next to timeline just under the “What’s Happening” box to see any messages tweeted to you.

Direct Message (DM): A private way to send messages.

Follow: Following is exactly what it means. When people choose to follow you, they’re following what you have to say because they’re interested. You can follow people (i.e. customers, resources) you’re interested in and respond to them.

Hashtag symbol (#): Marks keywords in topics in a tweet. You can use them in sentences or after. It’s a good way for people who aren’t following you to find you in the search box or even in trending topics. (i.e. “Stop by for #dinner tonight and enter in our #contest.” OR “Stop by for dinner tonight and enter in our contest. #dinner #contest”)

Trending: A trending topic is one of the most popular topics on Twitter at a particular moment in time. You’ll see everything trending on the right side of your page. You can take advantage of these when you can relate something you’re about to tweet. Let’s say “wings” is a trending topic and you just happen to have a special going on, take advantage of it. (i.e. “We have 2 cent wings tonight! #wings”)

In Conclusion….This is Just the Beginning

When it comes to the message, Twitter is incredibly simple. If anything, get an account to tweet information about your restaurant to customers.  But if you’re even the slightest bit of technologically savvy or simply interested in what else Twitter has to offer—there is so much more. Here are some other Twitter resources to look into that will help you utilize Twitter best for your restaurant. Happy Tweeting!

Tweetr: iPhone app with many high functions including scheduling tweets.

TweetDeck: Personal real-time browser allowing you to connect through a variety of social media sites.

Twitter Search: Find what topics you’re interested in on Twitter.

Tweet Button: Add this to your website or anything web related for you—especially great for blogs.

HootSuite: Another social media dashboard.

Link/URL Shortening: Your 140 characters are important—Twitter just began a feature that shortens links for you, or you can use sites to shorten URLs like Bitly, Ow.ly and Google URL Shortener.

Pictures: Similar to link shortening, you can use certain websites to upload pictures to then share them on Twitter from a link such as TwitPic, Lockerz, Yfrog, Pikchur or Twittxr.

Twitter Apps: As a restaurant owner, you probably find yourself most of the time helping your staff. Use a mobile app to help you with your on-the-go schedule.