The rise of social media and the growing culture of food lovers has given restaurants the chance to get creative with their marketing strategies. Tools offered by platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have created many new opportunities for chefs and cooks to reach fans, build customer bases, and develop brand identities.
Food is a hot topic of conversation on Twitter. In fact, there are millions of food related tweets sent globally each week. Twitter offers businesses a variety of tools to help build successful marketing campaigns, and the food industry is coming up with new ideas for exciting and engaging outreach every day.
With foodies talking about their passion on Twitter every day, there’s an opportunity for food and restaurant chains big and small to respectfully become part of that conversation. Let’s take a look at the ways they’re trying to do it and discuss how these techniques work.
— Outback Steakhouse (@Outback) January 2, 2013
Leading up to the Outback Bowl— a college football game featuring teams from The Southeastern Conference and The Big Ten — @Outback wanted to drive conversations with football fans and increase interest around the game. The brand developed an integrated campaign centered around a special offer: customers who visited any Outback restaurant the day after the football game and mentioned the Outback Bowl would receive a free appetizer.
Using hashtags, the Outback pitted the fans against each other. The Michigan Wolverines became #TeamCoconutShrimp and the South Carolina Gamecocks became #TeamBloominOnion. During the game, the Outback used Promoted Tweets to extend the reach of the campaign and connect with fans in real-time. It also used a diversified keyword list for Promoted Tweets so that anyone actively searching for Outback Bowl-related terms could join the conversation.
The Outback’s campaign was a huge success thanks to it’s creative integration of online and offline hashtags with timely content and rich media. Outback generated a 7,736 percent lift in daily brand mentions over the previous 60 days. Sentiment of these tweets was 94 percent neutral-to-positive around brand-related terms. The brand’s Twitter followers also increased by 1,047 percent during the Outback Bowl campaign.
Love Arby’s? Join our email club & get a FREE Roast Beef Sandwich w/ purchase of a drink when you sign up. https://t.co/9qZgCLYbxi
— Arby’s (@Arbys) July 16, 2013
Arby’s has an active social community and the brand regularly uses Twitter to interact with consumers talking about its food, service, and overall dining experience. Part of the company’s strategy includes growing an email database of customers. Previously, emails were collected during in-restaurant drives and through the website. But for this particular campaign, Arby’s turned to targeting individuals on Twitter.
The brand relied on Promoted Tweets with Lead Generation Cards, which allowed consumers to sign up for the newsletter with a single click. Arby’s experimented with different text copy to discover which messaging resonated the most. For example, one version offered a coupon for a free roast beef sandwich with purchase of a drink after signing up. Another offered general coupons and special deals in exchange for joining the mailing list.
Through interest and keyword targeting, the brand was able to get its Promoted Tweets in front of consumers talking about the restaurant itself. It even utilized @username targeting to reach individuals similar to the followers of its competitors like McDonald’s and Burger King. As a result, this campaign allowed Arby’s to grow its email list by more than 400 people during the first six weeks. Twitter-generated leads had a 31 percent higher email open rate and a 45 percent higher clickthrough rate than the average email subscriber.
Domino’s Pizza France
— Ben & Jerry’s (@benjerryfr) November 19, 2013
Domino’s Pizza France teamed up with ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s during one of the biggest games in the French international footballing calendar in order to increase sales and reinforce the brand’s association with the game. The campaign gave consumers a chance to win a “Menu of Champions” meal by tweeting their predictions about what would happen during the final World Cup qualifier match.
The brand created fun rich media in its Promoted Tweets to encourage sharing while highlighting the opportunity for football fans. A series of 10 questions enabled @dominos_pizzafr to promote relevant content and build excitement throughout the match. The questions were based on a variety of different scenarios, such as who would score the first goal? It also used the official match hashtag #FRAUKR as a Promoted Trend, raising visibility and putting its tweets at the center of the day’s social buzz.
Using Promoted Tweets, Domino’s was able to geo-target individuals in France as well as specific keywords, such as “Payet,” “Matuidi,” “#FRAUKR,” “Ben & Jerry’s,” and “Domino’s.” It also targeted select @usernames to reach people similar to those who followed relevant brands like @PSG_inside, @adidasfootball, and @RedBullFrance. As a result, @dominos_pizzafr achieved record desktop online sales and increased total sales more than 30 percent over the same day the previous year. The brand received more than 640,000 tweet impressions across its campaigns, and increased its followers by 10 percent.
These are just a handful of the many success stories happening on Twitter. For restaurants looking to attract new customers and keep regulars coming back, tweets about promotions, food, and customer service are one of the most effective ways to encourage visits. Among those who visited a restaurant as a result of something they saw on Twitter, 52 percent cited promotional offers and discounts, 43 percent said it was a photo of the food, and 39 percent said it was great customer service.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.