Learn from this month’s social media savvy Valuable Content Award Winner – the Sands Beach Resort in Lanzarote.
If there’s one golden rule when it comes to social media, it has to be: know your audience. Real engagement delivers results — and that comes when the content you share truly inspires the right people. If you want to know how this works in practice, read on — this month’s Valuable Content Award winner, Sands Beach Resort on Lanzarote, has successfully built a whole new brand and customer base with social media at the heart of its marketing strategy.
This fabulous beachfront hotel has long been popular with families. But over the past two years, the resort has also built a reputation as a premier sports destination — and social media has been critical to its success.
John Beckley, head of marketing at Sands Beach Resort, shares his experiences.
What part does content and social media play in your marketing?
“We embrace all aspects of digital marketing here at Sands Beach and have had an unbelievable response. We have several key audiences — from young and active families to corporate clients. But for our sports market, we realised we’d need a separate website and specific social media profiles.
Two years ago, we launched a sports brand Sands Beach Active to coincide with our campaign to promote Lanzarote as the Sports Destination of Europe. We host two top events (our Duathlon and Lanzarote Marathon) and we also sponsor several of Europe’s top athletes — our Ambassador Athletes.
We set up a separate microsite for the sports community: ActiveLanzarote.com. Here we publish blogs and we are active on YouTube, Flickr, Google+, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Our athletes also publish their own blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates and that has allowed us to connect directly with our market.”
What’s your approach?
“Social media is not a separate entity — it’s an extension of who we are.”
“We have a social media team within the resort and we are all clear what we are trying to achieve. In order to help get staff on a social media ‘page’ we designed a Prezi presentation to help explain our social media strategy.
We answer tweets and Facebook posts 24/7 — this is not a 9-5 job, people now expect real time response and engagement.
Our sponsored Ambassadors are all social media savvy and we have started social media training for our partner businesses, bringing the whole community up to speed on how to produce great content. This way, everybody wins. A great example is Chris from SUP Lanzarote. He made a video of a Stand Up Paddle clinic at our resort that has had already 500 views.”
What content do you share?
“We start with a blog post and try and get that shared through social media. That post will have a video embedded with links to Flickr photos. Last year, we published over 50 videos with more than 30,000 views on our YouTube account and we have published almost 4,500 photos on Flickr with over 100,000 views.”
“We try and treat each channel with respect and engagement.”
“We are actively using our blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. I think this is one of the biggest mistake companies make — they don’t give each channel the attention it requires. It’s no good just feeding your Facebook updates to Twitter and then judge Twitter not to work.”
Give us an example of content that’s worked well
“We had an athlete staying at our resort training who went on to win the Lanzarote Ironman 2012. We published a blog post which got shared over 132 times, the video I made has almost 6.000 views, the set on Flickr has had over 500 views. We also asked Victor Del Corral if he would like to add his sponsor’s logo. Victor is featured on several blogs and in the sports media and all this gives Sands Beach exposure.”
How has this directly benefited your business?
“Direct sales are up 30% and our sports group bookings have had an unbelievable start to 2013, and that was virtually non-existent two years ago.
Having our director, Juan Carlos Albuixech, on Facebook and connecting with all the top athletes has been a huge factor in securing training camps and athletes wanting to come here and work out.
We have also been given an Award by the Lanzarote Tourism Department for the work we are doing in promoting Lanzarote as a sports destination.”
What’s next for your marketing?
“Much of our budget is now moving towards a digital/social media environment as we start to take more beautiful photos, make better videos and write more interesting blog posts.”
“Nowadays, we don’t need a big advertising budget. My tools of the trade are a Go Pro camera and my iPhone!”
“If ‘Hashtag’ was the word for 2012, then ‘Rich Content’ will be the theme for 2013.”
Can you share a few tips that others can learn from?
“Give it time. When we first started publishing videos, blog posts and tweets, there was very little reaction and it was disheartening. Today it’s almost a full time job answering the Facebook messages and tweets coming in but it is driving our business and building this loyal community around our Active Brand into something special. It really works, and it’s a lot of fun too.”
Thanks John. That’s an inspiring, focused and highly effective social media strategy, with fabulous content at its heart. Most definitely worthy of a Valuable Content Award. Congratulations to you and all the team: your Award Badge is on its way.