In the social media world there are those that tweet and those that don't. Many times people just don't understand how Twitter works and how to make it work for their brand. Here are some tips.
It's not all coupons and deals
Not all of your tweets need to be generated by you. Sure you can post your daily special or offer a coupon on Twitter, but Twitter is an interactive community where people share advice, articles, ideas, even recommendations. Whenever you come across an article, video, or comment that works with your brand's identity, share it! You can still keep your Twitter name out there while re-tweeting things from other people/groups.
Follow and engage with your community
While Facebook is all about getting as many page fans as you can, Twitter is more a two-way street. If you follow them, they'll probably follow you. Follow people and businesses in your own community, especially your neighborhood. Some recommendations: media (TV, papers, magazines), bloggers, business groups and partnerships, networking associations, stores and businesses around you, and local individuals that have large Twitter followings.
The second half to this is actively partnering with some of these people. You can create promotion partnerships where you support and direct business to each other. Sometimes there's a community event or cause that everyone is talking about. An example was when the region around the City of Sacramento took up the #herewestay campaign to keep their NBA team, the Kings, in Sacramento. Everyone was joining in with #herewestay fever.
Hashtags (#) are used to label a thought, topic, or contest to make it easily searchable and/or repeatable. If you have a promotion or a contest that you want to trend, then creating a unique hashtag to track your campaign is important. Once you create a clever hashtag, check to see if it is currently being used by doing a quick search on Twitter's search bar. Keep in mind that you cannot use numbers or characters except for the underscore "_". Examples: #yes_pickles, #no_pickles, #FilipinoFood, #PaniniBurger. When you are ready, simply put your hashtag in the Search field to find every time it was tweeted.
Reservations by hashtag
Some venues are allowing patrons to make reservation requests via Twitter by using hashtags or a specialized Twitter account. Be careful though. If you choose this option you must always be attentive to your Twitter feed and hashtags. You don't want to miss a reservation request and then have an unhappy customer.
Search for your name
It's important to know every time your restaurant might get a mention on Twitter. Hopefully the mentions are positive, but sometime you need to do damage control by seeking out negative tweets such as bad reviews. Large corporations to small businesses use this tactic for customer service. You never know how far a tweet will spread or how many followers that tweeter might have. Be sure to reach out and respond to both good and bad tweets to create communication and engagement.
Save time by scheduling your posts in advance
Twitter doesn't have to take a large amount of your time. You can actually schedule tweets hours, days, even months in advance. This is especially useful for promotions or tweets that you need to repeatedly send out. To do so you need to use a third party site such as Hootsuite or Twitter's own Tweetdeck. Hootsuite even supplies a way to create numerous tweets in advance via a spreadsheet and then upload the schedule.
Use images and video in your tweets
Most people know how to include a link or a photo in a tweet, such as a picture of tonight's special. Did you know you can add video as well?
Vine is a Twitter product that allows you to take short, 7-second videos and post them. Whereas Periscope (Twitter product) and Meerkat are video streaming apps with the ability to tweet a link to a live-streaming video straight from your smartphone (Android/iPhone).
How would you use these? If you are having an event, then capture all or part of it on video. Use Vines to show a quick video of a cocktail being made or a dish being plated. People love images and images will often sell a dish or cocktail and get people into your seats.
Twitter is still a popular social media platform that can drive business to your business if you learn to engage with the Twitter community.