Tweeting to the Top Part II: Increasing Sales Through Twitter

This is Part 2 of a 2 part series on Twitter and cafes. Part 1 was an introduction to Twitter and determining if your business should be tweeting. Part 2 will focus on getting started on Twitter and tips to build sales through tweeting.

The best news about getting started is that account creation is very simple. On the Twitter homepage, click the ‘Sign up now’ button. You’ll want to use your business name as your username for the site, so direct access to your feed will be located at www.twitter.com/yourcafesname.

Once your account is set-up, you are ready to start tweeting. Tweets are 140 characters, including spaces, so it’s important to be concise, clear and on-message. Your first tweet might be, “Mike’s  Cafe is on Twitter!” Then, follow that up with, “Stay tuned for features and specials for our followers!”

Getting Followers

Now, how do you get followers? Immediately after you have created a Twitter account for your business and sent your first tweets, create one for yourself and follow your cafe. Also, immediately notify your staff and close friends to follow the business. Encourage them to join Twitter, if they aren’t a member already. Having these close contacts check out your cafe’s page gives you a solid baseline of  followers. Now you’re ready to use the site to gain new customers and build sales.

Chances are, in your city, many of the local businesses are on Twitter. You can search for them by clicking on the ‘Find People’ link at the top right-hand corner of your page. Look for every complimentary business you can think of and click to follow them. In many instances, the person/business you select to follow will also follow you in return, especially if you can offer them something. Car dealerships, hospitals, bakeries, banks, accounting offices, etc. make for good Twitter contacts. Organizations that might be looking for meeting spaces/catering are good targets, too.

Every time you get a new follower, it is important to contact them directly through Twitter. You can set your account up to receive an email notification that someone new is following.  Send the new follower a ‘Direct Message’ (which can only be seen by you and the recipient) with a greeting and a special offer, e.g. “Thanks for the follow! Please stop by for half-off a specialty drink of your choice. Mention “New Friend” 2 your Barista. See you soon!”

Now that you have a few followers, you are ready to put some signage up in your cafe promoting your social media to your current customers. As always, it’s important to give them a reason to follow you. Your counter cards could say something like, “Follow us on Twitter for EXCLUSIVE daily specials, features and updates from Mike’s Cafe!”  To initially encourage follows, promote a contest in which the person with the best tweet on why Your Cafe is the best coffee house in town gets free coffee for a month.

Sample Tweets

We’ve heard that some customers hesitate to tweet because they aren’t sure what to say. It can take time to get into a groove, so check out what other businesses are doing. Here are some examples of tweets to help drive traffic to your store:

– “It is Twitter Tuesday! All Mike’s Cafe tweeps receive a FREE flavor shot in their iced tea.”

– “We are hosting a coffee cupping on Sat. at noon. Come experience coffee in its purest form. Call to reserve a spot.”

– “Did you know we cater breakfast & lunch? Make your meeting! Check out our catering menu: (attach link using bit.ly, which shortens URLs.

– “Calling all local businesses! Enter the contest for FREE breakfast catering. Tweet “I LOVE MIKE’S CAFE” @MikesCafe b/t now and 3/15 to enter.”

– “Daily Lunch Features: Coconut-Crusted Shrimp Po Boy w/ Mango Remoulade & Cherry Tomato Soup w/ Black Pepper Crème Fraiche”

– “Barista Charlie just pulled out a batch of hot Decadent Double Dipped Fudge Rounds from the oven. You want one?” (include a picture using TwitPic)

-“I am testing a new espresso blend this afternoon around 2. Help me decide if I should bring it in and we’ll taste together. Need your opinion!”

Stockton Graham has  a few customers who have used Twitter as a way to take orders in advance. One person in particular created a new Twitter profile in addition to his main business feed, e.g. @MikesCafeOrders and made it private, request/invitation only. Applying Twitter in this fashion creates the appeal of exclusivity and can be a real convenience for busy customers.

If you have further questions or would like more tips on using social media to build sales, please contact me at 800-835-5943 ext. 3552. I also would be remiss I didn’t direct you to Twitter 101 for Business, which is available on their website. Very useful information there, too.

Follow us @StocktonGraham!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.