The hospitality and leisure sectors have generally embraced social media for customer engagement by running special offers, competitions and publishing photos of nights out and family days. Nightclubs in particular have built huge followings using these techniques. Yet the majority of the industry seems to be resistant to using social media as a sales tool.
A survey earlier in the year suggested that only one in ten organisations were capitalising on the benefits of using social media to increase business. According to the survey, conducted by Barclays, over 60% of the 126 companies questioned said that they only saw limited opportunities in using social media. Yet when we drill down, it turns out that nearly a third attributed 25% of their sales and a further 13% attributed half of their sales to social media engagement.
This data reveals that those companies who don’t engage are missing out greatly.
Lucozade Powerleague is a great example of a company that successfully uses social media as a sales tool. It has 45 five-a-side soccer centres and indoor soccer domes across the UK. It has a very powerful social media database of over 60,000 players, which it has built up over several months, a very good number for such a small industry.
Lucozade Powerleague realises that its social media presence is a huge part of its sales and marketing activity. Using it to engage and encourage players to bring their friends and colleagues into the sport centres, producing localised content and targeting individuals by posting directly onto their Facebook timelines. It has become a valuable addition to the traditional marketing techniques used by the centres.
So why aren’t more companies in the hospitality and leisure sectors utilising social media as a sales tool?
The biggest challenge seems to be resources. Smaller companies have to weigh up the benefits of producing, implementing and managing a social media strategy and will have to decide whether they can justify the investment.
However the cost-benefit and time saved for larger organisations can be immense, especially if they employ the use of social media management tools to assist them in tracking, monitoring and controlling social media across multi-locations in the way that Powerleague does (see: How using a social media management platform can increase productivity).