The Social Network

 

While it may seem like everyone is on Facebook these days, you may still be skeptical about its ability to help you build your business and attract new clients. What difference does it make if someone “likes” your spa, if he or she isn’t scheduling an appointment to visit? Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to transform your presence on Facebook into a viable marketing opportunity. Offering a contest is one way to expand your spa’s reach and engage potential new clients.

When the folks at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (Scottsdale, AZ) wanted to find a creative way to showcase all that the resort and spa have to offer, they turned to social networking. Earlier this year, the resort launched a Facebook contest that rewarded one fan, along with up to seven friends, accommodations for two nights in a private estate home; dinner in XII, Sanctuary’s ultra-exclusive private dining enclave; a privately guided hike, walk, or bike ride around Camelback Mountain; and choice of any 30-minute treatment for the entire group. To enter, those interested needed only to visit Sanctuary’s Facebook contest page, submit their contact details, and then share with their friends. Those who wanted to improve their chances of winning could submit an extra entry by following Sanctuary on Twitter and tweeting “@SanctuaryAZ” with “#CelebSweepstakes.”

“Facebook has become a great way for us to connect with both past guests and potential guests,” says Kathy Massarand, director of sales and marketing. “This contest is an opportunity to engage with travelers and get Sanctuary on their radar.” It’s a method that has been proven to be tried and true. “We have an annual contest—last year’s was a huge success, but we also provided two airline tickets paid for by the resort, which may have made it even bigger,” says Massarand. “This year, we did not provide the tickets but were still able to meet the goals that we set.”

 

Create Strategic Partnerships

According to Stacy Conlon, founder of The Zen Girl, partnerships are key to creating effective contests, as they allow for you to tap into a broader network. “You’re only as good as your network allows,” says Conlon. The key is to team up with others who are interested in targeting the same demographic you want to reach. She suggests partnering with a local gym or a healthy restaurant in the area. This not only improves your prize offerings, but it also provides a way to influence more people. Reaching out only to your Facebook fans doesn’t offer much room to grow. Instead, you should look at strategic partnerships that allow you to expand your network. While you don’t want to partner with competitors, you do want to team up with companies that share similar customer profiles. Partners that cross promote make it a win-win for all involved. “You have to partner to expand your sphere of influence,” says Conlon.

That’s exactly what Spa Week Media Group did when it partnered with Golden Door Spa (Escondido, CA) and trainer Jillian Michaels, formerly of “The Biggest Loser,” for its Get Fit For Summer Giveaway promotion. The fitness-inspiring package awarded one winner and a guest four nights at the popular spa, multiple spa services, a customized Golden Door fitness program with a personal fitness counselor, healthy spa cuisine meals and snacks, a cooking class, and more. The promotion was especially effective because it tapped into Michaels’s fan base as well as that of Golden Door Spa.

 

Engage Your Audience

Clarins is another company that knows the importance of a good strategic alliance, as well as the significance of engaging its customers. The company created a game, Spa Life, in which players could build their own virtual spa. It then introduced Clarins’s Spa Life Photo Contest to help promote the game. Players were encouraged to submit a photo of the spa they had created within the game, and other players then voted on their favorites. The photo with the most votes won, and the winner was treated to a spa getaway. “We wanted a fun and engaging way to reinforce our unique heritage with our social community,” says Han Wen, director of internet marketing. “This was why we created Spa Life. The photo contest was an extension of this goal, giving our most engaged Spa Life players a chance to experience Clarins spa treatments firsthand at a fantastic location.” That fantastic location turned out to be Red Mountain Resort (Ivins, UT), an ideal partner for such a venture. Because users had to share to win, the contest was a great opportunity for the company to expand its network. “We wanted to leverage the inherent social functionalities within the Spa Life game to build a mission that would be fun for the player and reward virality,” says Wen.

While creating an interactive campaign definitely takes some imagination, it is certainly worth the effort. It’s what Karen Whitt, general manager at the Regent Palms Turks & Caicos, is striving for with her next campaign. The resort recently introduced a Facebook page and its first promotion. “After relaunching our spa and making several updates to the resort, we felt that social media was a valuable channel to help get the word out,” says Whitt. “Facebook, in particular, allows people to get a sort of inside look at what’s going on at the Regent Palms, weekly spa tips from our spa director, and additional news and tidbits that wouldn’t necessarily be found on our websites.” To come up with a concept, the resort worked with a company specializing in digital marketing campaigns, a good option when you or your staff don’t have the time or necessary social media savvy to design your own. The Island Getaway Sweepstakes offered the grand prize of a three-night stay in a two-bedroom penthouse for up to four people, one private chef dinner, and one spa treatment for each person at the Regent Spa. In addition, a second and third prize were awarded, both of which included stays at the property. To help build excitement and momentum, weekly prizes, which included a one-night stay for up to two people in a junior suite, were also awarded each week for eight weeks. “Our goal was to boost business overall, but the primary objective was to increase sales in a specific room category,” says Whitt. “Along the way, we were able to build brand awareness in conjunction with our PR efforts in addition to getting the word out and bringing attention to the recent upgrades and enhancements to the resort.”

While Facebook has always been a fun way to connect with friends and clients, it is now an effective tool to help your business thrive. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with Facebook’s guidelines before launching any campaigns. “Our first goal on Facebook has always been to engage and inspire Clarins customers,” says Wen. “As such, we regularly launch initiatives that reward community participation, such as photos, video contests, product feedback, and livestreams of Clarins events.” According to Stephany Toman, director of marketing and public relations for SpaBoom, a custom marketing company, Facebook is especially useful for building relationships with your followers. To be truly effective, however, it’s essential that you make it a two-way conversation. Also, don’t forget about other social media tools at your disposal. “Use Facebook as part of an overall marketing strategy, not as the only way you communicate,” says Toman. “A comprehensive campaign certainly includes Facebook, but also email, blog posts, Twitter posts, and occasionally special offers to generate interest and business. It’s important to create an overall online strategy and to use all the tools in the box, not just one, for optimum results.”—

 

Need help managing your online presence or coming up with a social media marketing strategy? Consider turning to one of these companies to help you connect with new and existing clients.

 

Demandforce

www.demandforce.com

 

Hot Stone Communications

www.hotstonecommunications.com

 

In the Mo Interactive

www.inthemointeractive.com

 

Milano Software

www.milanosoftware.com

 

Millennium by Harms

www.harms-software.com

 

North Social

www.northsocial.com

 

ResortSuite

www.resortsuite.com

 

Salon Iris Software

www.saloniris.com

 

SpaBooker

www.spa-booker.com

 

SpaBoom

www.spaboom.com

 

Spa Marketing

www.spamarketing.net

 

The Zen Girl

www.thezengirl.com

 

Virtual Cloud Software

www.virtualspaandsalon.com

 

 

Suggested Articles

Le Marché by NP products make it easy for spa-goers to continue their self-care at home.

With 400 attendees, 55 speakers, and more than 30 educational sessions, the event offered something for everyone. Here's what spa professionals are saying…

If you can’t take the day off, use National Relaxation Day to consider how to reduce work-related stress year-round.