Tweeting Hospitality: Top 5 Twitter Do's and Don't's

Twitter: hospitality's saviour or downfall? Following Claude Bosi's well-publicised altercation on Twitter we run down five top do's and don'ts for the social networking site

When Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi took to Twitter to vent his understandable frustration at a negative review of his restaurant from a blogger he can't have known how big the story would become - so how can hospitality professionals make sure they avoid social networking pitfalls?

Earlier this year, we put social media in the spotlight as we investigated how best to manage a business's online reputation.

In light of the Twitter spat which saw Bosi, Tom Kerridge and Sat Bains make national newspaper headlines we asked four leading hospitality Tweeters to give us their top tips on using the site.

Glynn Purnell, Aiden Byrne, Fred Sirieix and MasterChef 2011 winner Tim Anderson told us how they keep safe in the social networking jungle as we run down the top five do's and don't's of using Twitter.

1. Do decide why people follow you:

Tim Anderson: "Try to be interesting. You can't please all the people all the time. I try to think why people are following me; they are following me because they are interested in food and they are interested in what I have to say about food. I try to stick to that as much as possible.

"I don't always because I am human and I have other interests and other things I want to say but that is my number one policy. Occasionally I will get drunk and shoot off my mouth about things that people don't care to hear me talk about and then I will lose a dozen followers."

2. Don't always respond to criticism: 

Glynn Purnell: "I have had my fingers burnt when I first went on there so I realised very, very quickly. If people start attacking me or saying things to me I just block them and move on because life is too short."

3. Do find the balance between being personal and taking things personally:

Glynn Purnell: "I do sympathise with Claude. There is freedom of speech but when people start offending each other? Come on guys - we are not saving lives, we are trying to enhance lives so the blogger should realise that as well.

"We are not open heart surgeons, we are chefs and they are not food critics, they are customers. We need them and they need us."

Tim Anderson: "Don't take anything too personally. If somebody wants to disagree with you or criticise you, just try to ignore it - which I know is really hard!"

Aiden Byrne: "I can understand elements of criticism from the likes of Claude because I have been there with individuals and I have been in that position. It is difficult; it is hard to pull yourself away from that being a personal attack because at the end of the day what we do is personal.

"If it wasn't personal then our restaurants would be very different places."

4. Do treat Twitter like a newspaper or the TV and radio:

Glynn Purnell: "I felt a little bit sorry for Claude - the other guys were having a bit of a joke. I don't like the way the press perceived it to be all about the chefs. If you saw what one guy said about Tom (Kerridge) that wasn't in the paper, but what the chef said was.

"When you put something up there it is not like sending somebody a text message, the whole world can see it!"

5. Don't be negative:

Fred Sirieix: “I don't like to criticise people. I don't like to say to people 'I had a bad experience and this was crap’; I keep my bad experience to myself. I keep it very tame and I want to keep it positive.

"I think about my reputation all the time because I want to do good in the world."

Other top do's and don't's: Do follow up genuine complaints or criticism offline, Don't just post links to your website, Do add a picture to your profile or use picture-sharing apps, Don't be afraid to dip out of a conversation or take time away from Twitter.

For more on managing your hospitality business's online reputation, check out our special feature from earlier this year where we investigated in detail how to handle your website, review websites and social media.

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