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By night I edit smallaxecoffee.com and the @smallaxecoffee twitter feed. By day I work for a marketing firm. Since Twitter is helping people build community around coffee, I somehow thought writing an article on how coffeehouse owners can get develop community and customers on Twitter would be a good intersection of my interests and expertise.
This quick how-to was inspired in part by an article by Erica O'Grady on Mr. Tweet's site about how one coffeehouse is using Twitter to promote itself and connect with customers. This article isn't the be all and end all, so please add to the discussion here or on Twitter.
Don't forget to scroll to the bottom for examples of awesome coffeeshouses marketing and developing community on Twitter.
Twitter is emerging as a new strategy for increasing awareness of coffee retailer brands as well as foot traffic - both of which should contribute positively with more people enjoying your coffee. Creating a Twitter following is like a snowball rolling downhill. If you do it right, the momentum of audience growth will build exponentially
First Thing's First: What is Twitter?
Twitter (twitter.com) is an online social networking tool created to allow you to tell the universe what you're doing in short text messages. With Twitter you have a username and through that username you can enter text messages into a running feed. Individual entries are called Tweets.
Twitter allows you to communicate with others in several ways:
Is Twitter Right for Promoting Your Coffeehouse?
Who is your target market? Remember, we rob banks because that's where the money is. Don't bother marketing on Twitter unless you know there are customers or potential customers there. If you're located in an office park or in the lobby of a corporate building, Twitter's less likely to return results than if you're situated in a college town right by campus or in the hub of a busy main street.
How can you find out? Ask them? Make a sign that says, "Are you on Twitter? Tell me about it." See who responds. Tell them you're considering reaching out to folks on Twitter and see what they say.
How to Get Started
Go to twitter.com and sign up for an account. Pick a name that is relevant and unmistakably associated with your retail establishment, like the name of your business. Once you're signed up, you can start posting news, updates, promotions, and whatever else you think will motivate people to come into the store.
Build a Following
Advertise by providing a link on your web site. Make a sign for the storefront "follow us on twitter @twittername or twitter.com/twittername." The hardest Twitter followers will be the first. Start following the following groups of people. Once they see you following them, they will start following you, as ironic as it sounds.
Like any marketing strategy, you need to make a real commitment to it for it to work. In a best case scenario, someone who's sitting behind a computer or has their handheld with them all day should monitor Twitter for direct replies and to update the feed as new promotions present themselves.
Invest at least five minutes three times per day to post news and participate in conversations.
Most coffeehouse owners are unbelievably busy and customer marketing understandably takes a long time to bubble to the top of the priority list, especially when the Synesso needs a backflush. So, try using a tool like BrightKit, which allows you to schedule your tweets. This way, you could write a few days at a time and schedule them to come out over the course of time.
Here are some tips for your twitter content to keep people engaged.
Talk about the weather - adds timeliness - and suggest the right beverage.
Create a sense of urgency
Create a sense of specialness, like the orphan annie club
Single Out Your Followers for Praise (but not the same ones all the time)
Check out these feeds of coffeehouse folks who have established a presence on Twitter.
Check out some of these resources that I found useful Send me yours so I can incllude them here.