Participating in local food events and trade shows is a great way for restaurants to increase their visibility and gain new customers. But having a booth and serving delicious food at these events is just the tip of the iceberg – you’ve also got to market yourself before, during and after the event to capitalize on the full event experience.
We are fortunate in Seattle to have many outstanding food events every year, drawing hundreds of people who are eager to be wined and dined and learn about your restaurant. For example, coming up in the next few months are the Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s Restaurant After Hours, Pike Brewing’s ChocoFest, Cochon 555, Seattle Wine and Food Experience, and Taste Washington.
So as a restaurant participating in these events, how can you use Twitter as a potent marketing tool to maximize your results at these events? Here are my 20 tips for marketing your restaurant at special events:
Before the Event:
1. Follow the event (or organizer) twitter account
2. Help promote the event by tweeting about the event and linking to ticket sales page
Reminder, Pike Brewing Company’s Chocofest is this Sunday. Every year we create a new flavor using Pike beer! We… fb.me/EBQVNfuo
— GELATIAMO (@GELATIAMO) February 5, 2013
3. Entice us to attend the event by tweeting a delicious description of the dish you’ll be serving
4. Cross promote by retweeting comments from event organizer
Mmm.. talk about a tasty treat! @alliumonorcas is dishing out a Oregon Shrimp and Mushroom chowder… guaranteed to be a hit! #SWFE
— #SWFE (@seattlewinefood) January 26, 2013
5. Remind your followers that they can come see you (and your chef!) at the event
We’ll be at #Chocofest this Sunday. Not the one in #Zagreb but the one @pikebrewing. Are you going?
— Trace Seattle (@traceseattle) February 4, 2013
6. Make a short video marketing of your chef prepping the dish you’ll be serving
During the Event:
7. Remember to use the specific event hashtag in every tweet (#SWFE, #TasteWA,#RAH13, etc)
8. Have a display card at your booth table with your Twitter handle, so it’s easy for attendees to tag you correctly in tweets (don’t make them search for it!)
9. Tweet a photo of your booth/table and ask people to stop by and see you
C’mon! @chefwaj and team are ready for you at #TasteWA table 16 by the stage twitter.com/raysboathouse/…
— Ray’s Boathouse (@raysboathouse) March 31, 2012
10. Tweet a great photo of the dish you are serving WITH a description!
David from @elgauchosteak Bellevue shucking Totten Inlet Virginicas at @tastewashington … yum! #TasteWA twitter.com/AquaByElGaucho…
— AquaByElGaucho (@AquaByElGaucho) March 31, 2012
11. Take photos of people who visit your booth and then tweet a thank you/great to see you message
12. Watch for photos of your food being tweeted by attendees and retweet those with a comment
13. Follow what attendees are saying at event (search the hashtag) and comment or retweet them
14. Take a moment to walk around the event and tweet photos of other vendors/food
15. Tweet a photo of your team working the booth, having a great time!
After the Event:
16. Tweet a thank you message to twitter followers (use their correct handle!) who stopped by booth
17. Tweet a thank you to the event promoter for hosting a great event
18. Retweet a few select comments made about you at event (don’t overdo this!)
19. Tweet a reminder to people they can come have that same dish you served today at your restaurant
20. Follow (on twitter!) new people you met at the event
If you are attending an upcoming event and need a little help getting your Twitter strategy in place, please give me a call or send me an email! My mission as a marketing and social media consultant for restaurants is to make you look good online, so please let me know how I can help. Thanks!
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