Printed from : LMD

11 Feb 2015

Harnessing social media power
   BY Liz Terry

Spa and wellness businesses that create communities of loyal fans and advocates around their brands have a huge competitive advantage and social media offers a wealth of powerful free tools which enable this.

In Spa Business 2015 issue 1 (page 78), we look at research by PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC) for ISPA. Social Media and the Spa-Goer, examines US spa-goers’ use of social media and outlines opportunities for spas to use social platforms for marketing and customer engagement.

Spa-goers are super-users of social media. The report says: “What’s most exciting for the industry is that the demographic profile of engaged social media users bears a remarkable resemblance to the profile of spa-goers.”

PwC found high levels of social media use (defined as once a week or more) among US spa-goers, with – for example – 80 per cent using Facebook, against 68 per cent for the general population and 55 per cent using YouTube, versus 40 per cent for the general population.

The report provides invaluable data on spa-goers’ social media use, broken down by age, wealth, sex and social media channel. It also shows time of day/use by age and income and use type by age, wealth and sex, for activities such as researching prior to purchase and giving feedback.

With such great tools available, you can now create a marketing matrix to align with the consumer groups you want to engage. This will enable communications and offers to be tailored to specific age, sex and demographic groups by time of day and purpose. Marketing modules in many spa management software packages can also be optimised to take advantage of this new information.

There are other highlights – PwC says spa-goers are twice as likely to respond to social media advertising and are more attracted to offers. The study also found social media is great for targeting men, with a higher proportion using it for feedback, booking and queries. It says the most popular search terms are fitness, nutritional advice, stress, detox, alternative medicine and smoking cessation, so ISPA advises communications be tailored accordingly.

Most importantly, visual media score highly, making Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram especially effective. PwC says: “Creating engaging, share-worthy visuals and encouraging spa-goers to post their own may be one of the most effective strategies for driving up spa visits.”

Although this raises operational challenges around photo- and video-taking, you can create a great video, which can be shared with customers, make sure photos on your website are “Pinnable” and allow photography and video in a controlled way during certains stages of a spa visit to ensure you balance the privacy of guests.

The main message is that spa-users love social media, giving you great tools to engage their hearts and minds.

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