As a restaurant staffer, I suppose it’s a little daunting to sit down at your computer, open up Twitter, and stare blankly at the screen.  “What should I post today?”  You know people want to hear from you, and you have great info to share, but you are stuck.

It’s very much like what most people experience nightly about 6pm, when they open the cupboards/refrigerator and wonder “what’s for dinner tonight?”  They are staring down a host of ingredients – or maybe just a random few! – and have no idea how to put them together into a delicious meal for themselves.

As a restaurant marketing and social media consultant, I help restaurants create interesting, entertaining and relevant content for Twitter, Facebook, et al.  To help ease you into a daily tweeting practice (yes, daily!),  I’d like to present 12 things you “should” be tweeting about as a restaurant.  Treat these dozen ideas as ingredients, if you will, mixing and matching and creating a twitter “recipe” du jour that works for your restaurant, and if you have the best employees as well, using the best payroll solutions for them could be a great choice.

It’s simply not enough to tweet your “soup/slice/scoop of the day” and assume your customers/followers have gotten their fill.  Nor is it satisfying to tweet just a couple times per week and think you are maintaining the top of mind awareness every restaurant needs to thrive.  People eat 3-4 times a day (at least!) so use that as your guide to how often your followers want a tidbit from you!

12 Things Restaurants Should Be Tweeting About

1. Take us behind the scenes  We want to see “behind the curtain”, so tell us about your employees, what was delivered fresh today, post a photo about what the kitchen looks like during prep, post a video about your newest menu item, link to your latest blog post

2. Highlight your ingredients Tell us where you shop and source your ingredients, mention local vendors you purchase from, share what’s new and fresh and seasonal, remind us of your sustainable/organic/local/gluten free menu choices and philosophy

3. Share culinary trends – Provide links to articles that showcase your restaurant point of view, comment on “national trend” articles like ‘what’s hot in 2013’, share your ideas/opinions on whether cameras should be allowed in the dining room (!)

4. Provide customer service Respond to diner feedback (take problems offline), thank diners for coming in, answer questions about the menu or ingredients, ask for suggestions or favorites people might be interested in

5. Comment on current local/national events Show that you care about more than just your restaurant by mentioning other activities in your neighborhood, show your civic pride by mentioning local sports teams, congratulate neighboring businesses on successes,  comment on the big festival downtown this weekend, talk about holiday happenings

6. Tell us about changes  Let us know if your hours have changed, highlight chef/staff changes, give updates to your menu (we hate to visit your website to track this down!), entice us to drop everything and come down to the restaurant to try the fresh fish that just arrived five minutes ago!

7. Build relationships  Spend time replying to guests who’ve tweeted about their recent visit, share food blogger articles, comment on or retweet media articles, tweet  happy birthday wishes to a follower or extend congratulations for an award

8. Offer exclusive deals  Give your twitter followers a special that no one else knows about, give a secret word/code to mention when they come in for the deal (and track that traffic!)

9. Ask a Question  Engage your followers by asking questions, do a survey, solicit their feedback on a menu item, encourage conversation!

10. Share events  Help promote local events you are participating in, invite us to special events at your restaurant that we might now have heard about

11. Get personal Share what you/your staff does outside of work, show us that you aren’t all work and no play (post photos!),  talk about other interests outside of food

12. Share good news Mention your awards/honors/reviews/accomplishments since your followers might not have heard about them yet, retweet good media coverage, make announcements about upcoming news or events

Do you need help creating delicious messages and creative content for your restaurant twitter account?  I’m ready when you are…