How restaurants are handling Twitter’s new design

Have you updated your Twitter page this week? If you’re one of the top 50 chains (by systemwide sales), the answer probably is “no.”

Less than a week ago, Twitter announced that it has made its new profile design—now with giant header images, similar to Facebook’s pages—available to all of its users. And the reasoning, Wired reports—to gain traction with more mainstream audiences—is good for business owners too.

Restaurant Business did a quick (unscientific flip) through the Twitter profiles of the industry’s top 50 chains and found that about half had updated their pages with the new design, with many keeping it easy by simply using the same image on the Twitter header as they’re using on their Facebook pages.

Here are a few of the common practices restaurants are using for their new profiles.

Make them hungry. The new design allows for a large photo to act as the page header. A number of restaurants are using the opportunity to show giant photos of mouthwatering food, of course—because what better way to sell the brand plus, given the popularity of food images in social media, it only makes sense.

subway sandwich spread

Promote something. Almost as many restaurants are using the header to promote some product or advertise a current offer. McDonald’s, for example, has an image promoting some of its menu items; KFC is using the space to tout its free cake offer.

kfc twitter page

Keep it simple. The header for Twitter’s own Twitter profile is simply a blue textured background. A few restaurant companies are embracing similar simplicity including Wendy’s whose simple red background shows a ghosted image of its logo and IHOP, which uses a simple illustration of clouds for its Twitter, similar to the background on its Facebook header.

wendys twitter page

Tell a little more about the brand. Both Buffalo Wild Wings’ Twitter and Facebook headers act as a complement to the profile thumbnail. “Welcome Sports Fans” is the message that spans the top of the page; the BWW logo appears below as the profile image. Similarly, Whataburger’s header depicts a collage of special-order stickers (“plain,” “special,” “bacon.”) showing the many ways guests can customize.

buffalo wild wings twitter page

Not all of the attempts have been successful so far, though it’s certain, as companies get familiar with the new design and the social media teams’ ideas wind through the approval process, we’ll begin to see more engaging use of the new design. The good news is, these early adopters’ mistakes offer lessons for other operators.

1. Know where your copy falls. Twitter says the new dimensions for the header image are 1500 x 500 pixels. With this in mind, think about where any words in your header image may fall. For some, the long, narrow picture cuts off letters that appear at the top or bottom of the image.

dairy queen twitter page


2. Bright, high-quality images play best. Sonic Drive-In’s header image—a collage of burgers, fries and hot dogs—is a great example of the eye-grabbing appeal crisp, bright images have for followers. Twitter will automatically resize the images you upload, so be sure to start with clear, high-resolution photos. Otherwise the images may appear blurry when enlarged to fit the header space. Surprisingly, social media superstars Starbucks’ and Taco Bell’s first attempts fell prey to this hitch.

sonic twitter page

3. Don’t just reuse an image. Think about the audience your Twitter page attracts. It may not be the same audience as on Facebook or your company webpage. Find an image the appeals to the audience on that specific channel and invites them to engage in a way that makes sense for where they are. 

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