Every business in the food, drink and hospitality industry should be using Twitter. It’s as simple as that. Not only does it provide incredible opportunities to reach thousands of potential customers but it also boasts remarkable tools and features such as Twitter lists which make your lives even easier.
We all know how to follow someone on there. Simply go onto the profile of the person or business that you are interested in and click the follow button. It’s as easy as that. However… things do get a little more complicated. Why? Well, how many people do you follow? 1,000, 2,000, maybe even 5,000? You’d need to have some kind of superhuman powers to see every single tweet they post amongst the thousands of others tweeted every minute.
That’s where Twitter lists come in…
What are they?
They allow you to categorise people and businesses into groups based on whatever topics you choose. For example, if you own a restaurant in Wigan, you could create a Twitter list with people who live in Wigan. As they are all grouped together in that list, you’re then able to view a news feed with only those people’s tweets.
Twitter itself, describes its lists feature as… “a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the accounts on that list.”
As mentioned there, you can also subscribe to other people’s lists but we’ll come to that a little bit later…
How to create them
Now we know what they are, it’s time for the exciting part… creating them!
If you can curb your excitement, here’s how to do it…
1) Go onto the account of the person or business you wish to add to your list and then click on the ellipsis next to the following button. A drop down box will then appear and you need to select the ‘Add or remove from lists…’ option.
2) The lists that you already have in place will then appear. If you don’t have any, it will just be the ‘Create a list’ option available to you. Your next step is to click on that very button…
3) Once you’ve done that, you will then have the chance to create a new list. Give it a name such as ‘Wigan customers,’ a brief description (not essential) and then you can choose to make your list either Public or Private. If you don’t mind people or businesses getting a notification that they’ve been added to a list, go public, but if you’d rather keep it to yourself, go for private and then you can name the list whatever you want without it being seen.
4) Once that’s all done, simply save the list and then tick the box next to the list you want to add said person or business to. Every time you now go to add a person to your list (as seen in Step 1), the list you just created will appear and all you have to do is tick the box.
How to use them
So that’s how to create them but what kind of lists do you need? Here’s a few to get you going…
Having all your customers in one organised list is a great way to interact with them. Even if you simply like a picture that they post after a day out, it will make that person feel important and part of the family and community which you are trying to create. Your customers are of immense value to your business and if you treat them like it, they’re very likely to return in the future.
It is a good idea to add a customer to your list whenever they mention you. That way you know which customers have visited your bar, restaurant, hotel or cafe before and you could potentially target promotions at them in the future.
If you are hosting an event, lists can be a fantastic tool for your bar, restaurant, cafe and hotel, both before, during and after the big day.
This is a list you should make public, so that everyone who is attending your event can interact, which will create a buzz around your cocktail night or beer garden opening party. In addition, if you have a special guest attending, you can add them to the list too which is likely to create even more excitement.
We’ve all got them and competitors is another list you can add to your Twitter account. Why? Not only can you continuously monitor how they are approaching their social media output, but you’re also able to see what offers they are putting out there and what has been going on at their restaurant.
Do however, ensure that you make this list private. You don’t want your closest rivals to be getting a notification saying they have been added to a list called ‘competitors.’ If nothing else, it’s embarrassing…
One of the most important lists you can create is one which will inform you of any industry related news. There is so much activity on your normal news feed, that you will be very lucky to actually spot something important before it’s lost amongst thousands of other tweets.
Instead, add a few, select, reliable accounts to a list called ‘Industry News’ and you can check it a few times a day to see if anything relevant has come up that you need to be aware of.
One final list you can create is one with your employees included. No it’s not to check up on them, although it could be useful to see if they are sharing your content with their followers…
The main benefit however, is that your employees can interact with each other. If you have a new member of staff, add them to the list and they will immediately feel welcome and part of your business.
It is also a good list to have because your employees may post images and videos from an event or on just a normal day at work and that of course, makes for great behind-the-scenes content for all your social media platforms.
The benefits of using Twitter lists for your business
I wouldn’t have told you what they are and how to create them if I didn’t think they were going to benefit your business but if you’re still not convinced, here are the main benefits of creating and using Twitter lists for your bar, restaurant, cafe or hotel…
- One of the great things about Twitter lists is that you can add people to them without actually following them. For example, if you want to add a competitor to a list but don’t want to be publicly seen to be following a rival, you don’t have to.
- As I mentioned earlier, when you add someone to a private list they won’t be notified that they have been added to such list. If nothing else, that makes Twitter both a powerful and discreet tool for the market monitoring of your competitors.
- More than anything, having lists saves you time. By having a much more organised timeline, you no longer need to spend hours searching for the person or business you want to look at. Instead, go to your lists and all the information you are looking for is right there in front of you.
- As promised earlier, I said you can also subscribe to other people’s lists e.g. If a rival bar has built up a really good public list, you can subscribe to it and interact with those in that list. Subscribing to those lists couldn’t be easier. Simply go to their profile, then choose the lists tab and then after choosing the list you want to join, click the subscribe button.
- Twitter lists are also a great source of content. Having industry leaders such as famous chefs in a list allows you to gain good, retweetable content without actually having to search for it. Having a mixture of your own posts and those of others is key to striking a good balance of content on your social media platforms.
- One final advantage of using lists is that it can increase the visibility of your bar, restaurant, cafe or hotel to others. Say for example you are about to host a grand opening of your cafe in Stockport and you want to create a buzz around it. Create a Twitter list with people from the Stockport area but the key is to make it public. Why? Because everyone you add to that list will then receive a notification saying they have been added to your list. They will then check out your page to see who you are and hopefully you will then have a new follower! Clever, right?
Twitter lists have endless benefits and you will continue to discover new ones on a daily basis. Whether you’ve got a big event coming up or you just want to save some time, have a go at creating some lists and see how much easier it makes your Twitter life.