For a lot of business owners, Twitter can feel like a one way street. You post updates about your restaurant. share photos of your dishes, and do what you can to gain followers. But it can be hard to interact with those followers in any meaningful way. Facebook has “likes,” and you can comment on things people post to build your profile up and establish yourself as a unique and valuable voice. But twitter can feel less interactive than other social media platforms, and it can seem like you are just shouting your updates into the void. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about interacting on twitter. With these tips to “talk the talk,” your presence on twitter will do a lot more for your restaurant and feel a lot more rewarding.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to interact with your twitter followers in more productive ways, it’ll be helpful to clear up a few bits of terminology that can seem confusing to newer twitter users. First off, anything you post directly is a “tweet,” and can tweets can be just text or include photos or links. If people like your tweet and decide to share it with your followers, they can “re-tweet” it to post it to their page. If they think your tweet is cool but don’t want to share it with their followers, they can “favorite” it to show support.
You can “tweet at” another twitter user to converse with them in a more public forum. And if someone wants to communicate with you directly on twitter in a more private manner, they can do so with a “direct message.” Understanding what each of these terms means, and how to use these communication channels, is key to mastering twitter interactions.
Starting with the ubiquitous “tweet.” Tweets act like status updates, and they are a great way to share information about your restaurant to all of your followers. But they don’t have to JUST be used for updates and news. Feel free to tweet out anything on your mind, as long as it is poignant or interesting and won’t make your restaurant look unprofessional. If you want other users to interact with your content, it’s key that you post content that people want to interact with. So sharing witticisms, famous quotes, and other pithy updates is never a bad idea.
If you have something particularly interesting that you want another specific user to see, try tweeting it to them directly with an “@” symbol and their twitter handle. When you do, they will get a notification that you’ve shared something with them. You’ll have to be careful with this feature: overuse it, and twitter will put a freeze on your account, since you look like a spammer. And be sure to only share info that the person you are tweeting at will find interesting or will want to engage with, or you will look like you are just harassing other users.
To build up a bit of a twitter relationship with other users before you start tweeting at them directly, try “favoriting” their tweets, and retweeting ones that are relevant to your follower base. When you favorite and retweet the tweets of others, they will get a notification as well, and if you interact with a user a lot in this manner, they will probably take notice. Twitter is a very symbiotic platform, so the roe that you show appreciation to other users by “favoriting” and “retweeting” their tweets, the more likely they are to find their way to your page and potentially show some appreciation back.
If you have something that you want to show or ask another user that isn’t necessarily of any public interest, you can try direct messaging them, which will send them a private message. Before you direct message another user, you both have to follow each other. While this feature can seem limiting, it stops people from spamming direct messages, and makes the twitter culture a lot more productive. Once another user follows you, send them a polite “thank you” direct message. On twitter, every little pleasantry like this goes a long way, so don’t feel shy about showing niceties and being polite and supportive to everyone you interact with.
In general, new twitter users probably worry a bit too much about all of the ways that the platform is different or unique, and get lost in the details of how to interact with others. When it comes down to it, twitter is fairly straight forward, and as long as you are lit, considerate, and supportive of others, you are doing a lot right. Watch how users in similar niches with more followers than you interact with others, learn as you go, and don’t stress about it too much. Try out the tips in this guide, and get tweeting!
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.