In recent years restaurant operators have adapted their social media strategy as the benefits of platforms like Twitter and Facebook become more apparent. While some brands may have initially balked at social media as a viable way to engage consumers, many chains now dedicate considerable resources to this area. New data from Twitter shows that the results of their efforts are quite fruitful.

“We know that food has always been a hot topic on Twitter,” says Christine Cuoco, director of industry marketing at Twitter. “What’s nice, especially with dining brands, [is that] we’re often able to help clients catch consumers when they’re in that moment of thinking about their next meal.”

Twitter partnered with market research firm DB5 to conduct a 15-minute online survey of 2,000 Americans ages 13 and older; half were Twitter users who signed into at least once a month and the other half were nonusers.

Dining enthusiasts—users who had downloaded at least one mobile dining app—were almost 50 percent more likely to download dining apps of both restaurant brands and third-party ordering services like Seamless than consumers who did not use the platform. What’s more: Those same consumers spent 45 percent more money on such apps.

Cuoco says that regardless of size and category, brands that succeed in Twitter engagement and customer conversion share a few key traits.

“Knowing your voice is very important, no matter whether you’re a large or small brand. We see brands who find their voice and consistently use it on the platform achieve success regularly,” she says. “What’s fun is to see brands who are being true to themselves and their marketing strategies but in super-creative ways to live their brand on Twitter.

Taco Bell, which Cuoco says is known for its “quirky” voice, delighted its followers with a “taco emoji engine.” After the brand’s plea for a taco emoji was answered, it encouraged users to tweet the new emoji plus another at Taco Bell’s handle, which responded with a photo or GIF incorporating both. According to Twitter, this campaign generated some 600 unique content pieces.

Beyond creating brand buzz, operators can be proactive in converting those Twitter followers to app users. Subway extolled the benefits of its mobile app—namely that it saves ordering and payment time—and embedded a link to download its app within a tweet. The app stores customers’ credit card information, allowing them to order sandwich and pick it up at the nearest Subway simply by scanning a QR code.

Operational efficiencies aside, Twitter’s findings also indicate that dining enthusiasts prefer apps: 58 percent said mobile dining apps were easier than using the mobile dining websites and 56 percent said they would rather order through an app than over the phone.

Cuoco says brands that wish to boost their Twitter engagement should stay true to their marketing strategy, be consistent, and take advantage of certain assets, namely appetizing imagery.

“Another thing that works very well—and I think is natural in this industry—is the use of visuals,” Cuoco says, adding that it could be Vine videos, animated GIFs, or photos. “We all know how much people love to pull out their phones at restaurants and take pictures. … Brands can take complete advantage of and even use user-generate content in their campaign.”


By Nicole Duncan

Consumer Trends, News, Subway, Taco Bell