Have you ever looked at tweets or Instagram posts and wondered just what @, # and RT mean? If so, Maria Miranda of Miranda Creative, Inc. in Norwich, Connecticut can help you understand social media-speak and learn how to harness its power to put money in your pockets. She has presented numerous times at the Nightclub & Bar Show wand her sessions are always loaded with useful information for Twitter novices (and even some of the more experienced tweeters among you).
What is Twitter?
The easy and obvious answer is that it’s a smartphone app…one that confounds plenty of people. The answer that Miranda gives is just as succinct but much more accurate: “It’s a place to communicate.” It’s also a research tool. Not only can you search for keywords, users and hashtags (more on that in a bit), you can search for your own venue and see how it’s doing. Twitter should be viewed as an advertising tool as well. You should view it no differently than you view Google; it’s just a different technology.
Of course, to use Twitter as any sort of tool in an effective manner, you need to know the basics:
- @ - You use this symbol in conjunction with a username (or handle, if you prefer). This “tags” the user and notifies them that you’re communicating with them by tagging them in your post.
- # - This is a hashtag. These help your posts get discovered by other users, including your target audience. It’s also a search and communicational tool that allows users to be part of a conversation, see what’s trending, and create a specific message or topic. You can create as many hashtags as you like so get creative with them.
- RT – This lets you re-tweet another user’s tweet. It also tells your followers that your tweet is actually someone else’s. This function is built into the app itself.
Now that you have a better understanding of hashtagging, retweeting and tweeting at other users, you need to know why Twitter is such a powerful tool. More than 135,000 new Twitter accounts are established each day. The largest demographic on Twitter is males aged 27. Speaking of males, they make up 60% of Twitter users. However, the fastest growing age demographic is 50 and older.
Consumers aged 25 to 34 spend 66% over the national average on alcohol beverages. Consumers between the ages of 21 and 25 spend 30% over the national average on the same type of beverages. When you put that together with the demographic information regarding Twitter users you can see why this social media platform presents such an attractive market opportunity.
To engage with these demographics, you have to keep in mind that Twitter is a real-time social media platform. To use it effectively you need to use it on a consistent basis to build your brand, stay on top of social media trends and be dedicated to physically posting to it every day. You must also follow Twitter etiquette: using it the right away means equal parts listening, speaking and responding. Adhering to this protocol makes your brand seem more personable, allowing for a higher close rate: there is an 80% close rate for businesses that respond to inquiries from their social media followers.
Before you jump onto Twitter and start tweeting, keep the following in mind:
- Best practice is to set goals for gaining new followers on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Have a plan to reach your target audience. This can be in the form of specials or promotions.
- Designate an account manager since Twitter is 90% real time and requires real-time posting. You can choose a Twitter manager based upon shifts or positions. You can use an external social media management tool to handle your Twitter account but it’s important to realize that many followers won’t engage with you if your posts seem programmed or robotic.
- Try a service such as Namechk.com to see if your desired username or handle is available. It’s wise to make sure it’s available on other platforms you’d like to use as it can be awkward and challenging to your followers to have to find you using multiple usernames.
- Look into services such as DoubleClick by Google to better use Twitter as an advertising tool and stay ahead of your competition.
Now that you’re really ready to open a Twitter account and get to posting, here are 7 steps from Maria Miranda for effective Tweeting:
- Include a menu link. Your menu should already be on your website.
- Get visual. Use images of your venue, food, drinks, menus, loyal guests, promos, holiday specials, etc. If you don’t have an environment at your bar or nightclub in which pictures can be taken, you need to fix that immediately. The solution is as easy as a step-and-repeat, a display covered in your logo, a dedicated wall or a photo booth. You should also encourage your guests to take.
- Create group offers only redeemable on Twitter.
- Time your tweets: 30 minutes before dinner (with a picture), 2 hours before happy hour, 30 minutes before happy hour (with a photo), and 1 hour before nightclub doors open. You should also be live tweeting.
- Use promoted tweets.
- Get clever with your hashtags: brand hashtags, unique hashtags for events, unique hashtags for promotions. Hashtags help you get discovered, start conversations and otherwise engage with your followers.
- Cater to Women. Host female-specific events to increase your number of female followers. Remember that where there are ladies, the men will follow. Put on specific promotions for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.
Remember that you only have 140 characters with which to converse with your followers. URLs tend to be very long and eat up many of your available characters. Because of this, it’s a smart idea to use URL shorteners like Google URL Shortener or Bitly. Finally, look at @, # and RT simply as another form of this beautiful symbol: $. After all, they're all tools that will help you make more of it.