Twitter’s significance as an online marketing tool for small businesses is obvious, but we still hear from clients that they don’t understand how the social media site works, or don’t know how to take advantage of it. I have discussed its marketing potential previously. It is time to explain how people use Twitter, and give you a few tips on how to best use Twitter for your restaurant. Understanding the basics is the key to utilizing any tool to it’s fullest potential, and Twitter is no exception. This article is going to be an overview of a few of the most important Twitter’s “must-knows.”

The Setup

After you create an account, the first thing you have to do is distinguish yourself from everyone else. Just as you would a new house that you move into – you’ve got to spruce up your profile and make it your own, so that when someone looks at your page they know that it’s your account. Most of this can be done under the Profile section of your settings page. Click on the little wheel in the right-hand corner, click Settings, then Profile when it appears on the left hand side of the screen. From here you will able to upload a header image and a profile picture. If you only have time to do one of these, it should be the profile picture as this is the image that is linked with your tweets most of the time. The last aspect of your profile that you can alter is uploading your background image, which can be done under the Design tab of your Settings page.

Creating Relationships

One of the best features of Twitter is just how quick and easy it is to talk and interact with people. At risk of stating the obvious, all you need to do is put an @ sign in front of the person’s twitter handle. If you’re using Twitter on your computer, simply visit that person’s Twitter page & type your message to them on the left side of your screen. It’s very simple! I like to think of Twitter as a text message, but public. It is a good place to not only create new relationships, but nurture existing ones as well. Best practice is the keep the messages short, but interactive, so that you can generate conversation and connect on a common interest.

Utilizing Hastags

The signature of Twitter, hashtags are one of the most defining features of the social media site. They can be used to expose your tweets, or content, to a wider audience or they can be used as more of a fun tool to play around with. If you are looking to use hashtags to expose your content, it is a good idea to check to see if others are using the hashtag as well. You can do this by simply typing the hashtag into the search bar on Twitter. Then, you’ll be able to see if others are using the hashtag and how much they are using it. You can then choose a hashtag that people are using frequently, or you can go out on your own and create a new hashtag. When you do this, you should do it with little expectations, not expecting others to suddenly start using the hashtag as well. Most of the time when you create your own, it should be done with a wink and a nod, use it as a way to show your sense of humor as a brand.

Managing Your Account(s)

This is incredibly easy to do, even if you have multiple accounts. You can sign in through the regular website and access your account through there. If you have a smartphone, there are a multitude of apps that allow you to tweet from your phone. I use the basic Twitter for iPhone app myself, but many are fans of UberSocial which has an app for Blackberry and Android, in addition to the iPhone app. There are also apps for some tablets and laptops which mean that you can access the accounts straight from those platforms. If you have multiple accounts to manage, you can use social management tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. These two are the most popular and make it simple to tweet on multiple accounts, and check the feeds of multiple accounts.

Shortening Your Links

The 140 character limitation means that there isn’t much room for full URLs. While many sites that most share from now have built in link shorteners, and even Twitter itself shorteners links automatically if you’re tweeting from it’s website or it’s app. If you want to share a link from your own website, you can utilize sites like or Hootsuite’s (which you need an account for) to do this for you. A great feature of these sites is the ability to see the number of people who have clicked on your link. This will give you some insight into whether your tweet is successful or not.

Knowing how to use these features to the best of your ability can only help your restaurant or bar. Don’t let Twitter be a daunting social media tool, it can be a very beneficial one for you if you just spend a few minutes learning and apply the basics.