This week, the International Spa Association (ISA) held their annual Conference and Expo titled, “Grow.” Like many other companies, ISA took to their social channels in order to promote the event as well as provide live coverage for attendees or others who were unable to make the event. Overall, ISA took an effective approach to social media and with the use of a strong IMC, they were able to have an engaging presentation both at the conference and in the social media world.
The first thing to note about ISA and their marketing efforts is the consistency in branding and overall “feel” associated with their channels and website (IMC). The backdrop to the website features wood that reminds the user of a steam room or sauna and the juxtaposition of this with the flowers and bright colors adorning the website really give the brand that spa “look.” I was happy to also see some of these color pallets represented on the Twitter and Facebook profile pages as well. The conference and expo catchphrase “grow” is featured across the channels as well, and the consistent lower-case, subtle font contributes to the success of the IMC and spa branding. Also featured on the Twitter profile page is one of my favorite forms of marketing and that is use of the background image to relay information. On the background of the Twitter profile, the dates and location for the upcoming expo can be seen in the same earthy tones as the rest of the marketing efforts. As another effective way of promoting the event before it started, ISA took to their Facebook page to allow the viewers to “participate” in the set up page by sharing a picture of one of the presentation rooms being set up accompanied by the #ispa2013 hashtag (which was also used throughout the promotion efforts).
The expo seems to be the most engaged on Facebook and Instagram as the stats for these two platforms are much higher than that of Twitter and their LinkedIn (it should be noted however that LinkedIn does not really feature the expo as much as the other channels which is good practice for the platform in my opinion). Photos on Facebook and Instagram are often liked by 10+ people where posts on Twitter only receive about 1 or 2 ReTweets or Favorites each. Some of the better photos are taken right at the expo and of the presenters giving the viewer a good understanding for the atmosphere of the event as well. Sponsors for the event are displayed on the website and their logo often accompanies some of the posts on the social channels in a way that does not seem to distract from the content. Further, because the logos for many of these sponsors are rather “soft” as well, they match nicely with the rest of the IMC efforts of ISA. Overall, what stood out to me about the efforts of social media by ISA the most was their ability to display the diversity of events and experiences happening at the expo. The images shared made it seem as though at the expo you could be involved in a presentation by someone in the field one minute and then trying a new service or exercise routine the next. The posts also encouraged the engagement of the viewers and encouraged them to submit to the conversation and experiences, helping them grow. Finally, I guess if I had to make a suggestion to the social media efforts of the spa event, I would say that they are missing that one “big” picture. Often, when I think of big events, I think of the arena or huge hotel that they have to be housed in. While there are some great pictures that relay the size of some of the discussions and presentations, there are not any “bigger” pictures that let the viewer appreciate the size of the event. There is a picture of Mandalay Bay, but it is missing the branding/personality touch that lets the viewer know that Mandalay Bay has been “transformed” into International Spa Association territory.