The new TwitterFood social media subgenre offers food aficionados a platform for sharing their favorite foods, meals and culinary experiences. Founded in 2006, Twitter has captured the imagination of Internet and smartphone users because it’s an ideal way to communicate on small screens. Internet marketing provides the personal touch for all kinds of industries, but few stand to benefit as handsomely as restaurants from the TwitterFood platform.
All About TwitterFood
TwitterFood is just a specialized area of Twitter, the microblogging platform where people send short messages with 140 or fewer characters. Registered users can send and receive short these messages, which are known as tweets, through the Web, mobile applications and short message service (SMS). The platform has more than 400 million monthly visitors, and it’s an ideal forum for real-time communications because 255 millions users re actively sending and receiving tweets each month.
You can show off photos of your best dishes, dining room, kitchen staff or customers while composing thoughtful food-related messages like “Grab a Bowl of Roanoke’s greatest gumbo at Mike’s – layers of flavor, slow-cooked roux and the Cajun method of preparing veggies.” You could then follow up by listing ingredients, offering a discount or explaining what the “Cajun method” is. Pretty soon, you’re building a following of people who want to know more about food in general and your restaurant in particular.
Twitter’s format is an ideal way to share ideas about food, links for followers and short messages about daily specials, upcoming events and menu changes. Short and pithy, most people read their Twitter messages, so you get great response rates. As long as you say something interesting and relevant, even 50 messages a day might not be excessive, but you should exercise some restraint so that your followers and customers don’t think that you’re spamming.
Take the Pulse of Food Trends
Quick monitoring of TwitterFood allows restaurants managers and chefs to see what flavor trends are popular in their cities, which breakout ingredients are likely capture the public’s imagination and what food and beverage pairings are most popular with social posters.
It’s probably no big surprise to find that bacon and chocolate are among the most popular foods mentioned in the fledgling social site. Other trends that the early posts on TwitterFood identify include:
- Many posts involve bacon and pork.
- Cheese is mentioned in about 25 percent of tweets.
- The #foodporn hashtag is tremendously popular for decadent foods and desserts.
- Cajun flavors receive a lot of tweeting.
- Spicy and bold flavors make up 50 percent of posts.
It doesn’t really matter what’s popular today — you can change things by promoting foods that have their own followers or craft your messages to relate to currently popular tweets.
Starting a Marketing Campaign with Hashtags
Restaurateurs can create compelling promotions with simple hashtag campaigns on TwitterFood, but these campaigns take some thought because simple phrases can be easily misinterpreted. If your restaurant is relatively unknown, it might take time to build an audience with your name.
Using Hashtag Services
You can research hashtag trends yourself or hire a professional consulting company that tracks the top hashtags, retweets and mentions. Online tools like Keyhole.com allow you to search hashtags on posts at TwitterFood, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Hashtagify.m helps you find related tags that you might not have considered. Best practices for your hashtag campaign include:
- Use humor.
- Keep hashtags short.
- Optimize for keywords.
- Encourage retweets.
- Always supply new ideas.
- Try to connect with customers who are receptive.
- Sometimes, just recommend interesting content.
Cross-Promoting with TwitterFood
Deals, discounts, special events and interesting observations can drive marketing success by encouraging people to visit your website or restaurant. You can strengthen your online message and brand with just a couple of tweets per day, and including links to your other Internet content will strengthen your responses. Best practices for cross-promoting your restaurant’s interests include:
- Create hashtags (#) that are clearly associated with your restaurant, website or concept.
- The more popular a particular hashtag becomes, the more often you should include content that’s relevant to your restaurant under that hashtag.
- Announce deals and discounts to encourage retweets or sharing of your messages.
- Promote special events like #ChiliDay, #ChiliCookOff or #BBQThrowdown.
- Link to your website, landing pages, food blog, videos or promotional content.
Many marketers wrote Twitter off when it debuted in 2006 because the format seemed so limited, but smartphone technology made the short post an ideal way to reach people. TwitterFood offers restaurants a dedicated platform for promoting their interests, and restaurateurs stand much to gain and few financial or time-loss risks by crafting a few of these short and tweet campaigns.