social media stories

Telling Stories

Spa retailers attract new followers using social media videos

Spa retailers have embraced the stories option on social media to promote their products and services, and are finding that it drives engagement.

To show off their best work, hot tub retailers can leverage short six- to 30-second videos on social media platforms like TikTok, or with Twitter Fleets or the stories features on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. On some platforms, the videos vanish after 24 hours, so retailers can continually post fresh content that highlights their most beautiful projects as well as any mentions in magazines or photos. Stories can be used to promote new products, showcase hot tub installations and attract prospective customers to company websites.

“It is a good way to build our traction and generate a following,” says Jennifer Gannon, owner of BonaVista LeisureScapes in Toronto. “We’re just playing with it to see where the success lies.”

Choosing a Platform to Use

While most social media platforms offer a form of stories, spa retailers have found that leveraging the feature on Facebook and Instagram provides more engagement with possible leads.

Nichole Larmie, website and social media administrator for Two Men and a Spa Dolly in Arnold, Missouri, has found the most success using stories on Facebook because her company’s target audience — baby boomers and gen Xers — matches the older demographic that tends to gravitate toward Facebook, she says.

Her company uses the same content it posts on its regular news feed and repurposes it for stories, which appear at the top of Facebook’s news feed and messages, to round out its coverage. “There are times where we have noticed that people won’t actually see our posts, but they will be looking at stories so they will eventually see them,” Larmie says.

It is a good way to build our traction and generate a following.

Jennifer Gannon, BonaVista LeisureScapes

The Spa and Sauna Company based in Reno, Nevada, regularly posts on Facebook but finds its Instagram followers are more likely to respond to stories, says Laura Varnon, the company’s marketing coordinator. “On Instagram, we find that our demographic is more likely to embrace features like stories, while on Facebook our demographic is more likely to engage with our regular posts,” Varnon says.

Content That Works

There is no set rule about what type of content to post on stories. Social media managers say that posting photos of customers who have had hot tubs installed at their homes seems to boost engagement.

The Spa and Sauna Company created a wellness challenge, asking customers to soak in their new hot tub every day for 30 days, complete a tracking form, take a picture of it and if they agreed, to submit a photo to be posted on Instagram.

“People like to see that kind of content,” Varnon says. “It just gives them an idea of what it would be like to have a hot tub in their neighborhood.”

BonaVista LeisureScapes uses stories to promote products that people haven’t been able to check out in person. The store was in a lockdown from March 2020 to June 2021. Toronto only allowed retail stores to reopen in mid-July. “It’s just a way to push out what people can’t see,” Gannon says. “I use stories by featuring things that we’ve received and keeping up the conversation.”

Another strategy is to use stories to ask users to sign up for a newsletter or a hot tub pricing guide, which allows the retailer to capture their email addresses and follow up through email marketing. “Then you can follow them forever and ever,” says Ben Poggemiller, owner of Urban Life Pools and Hot Tubs in Steinbach, Manitoba. “You don’t have to wait for them to find you. It’s all about list-building.”

Tips for Using Stories

One way to guarantee that your company will keep up with posting on stories is to hire someone to do your social media marketing. That was what BonaVista LeisureScapes did last year, as social media became a more important communication tool during the pandemic. “When we were doing it ourselves, it just went by the wayside,” Gannon says.

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While posting stories, spa managers recommend companies tag their location and tag vendors if the post is relevant to them. Using hashtags will also help people find the posts, Varnon says.

Another suggestion is to create a calendar for planning stories and regular posts so they are scheduled for specific days of the week. The Spa and Sauna Company posts new hot tub installations on #newtubtuesdays.

Varnon also recommends spa retailers create special stories during holidays. On Mother’s Day she posts a photo of a mom with her family in their hot tub.

“People do like to see that you are paying attention to holidays,” Varnon says. “It gives you an opportunity to explore how hot tubs and other products relate to every person’s life.”

Facebook Stories

  • Users can share photos and videos
  • Content will disappear within 24 hours
  • Optimal content dimensions are 1080 x 1920 pixels (vertical content is best)
  • Video can be up to 20 seconds long
  • Photos appear for five seconds
  • Users can enhance images with filters, text, stickers, the boomerang feature or add music
  • To use on a mobile app, tap on your profile picture, select “create story,” select a photo or video from your camera or click on the camera icon to create your own visual

Instagram Stories

  • Users can share photos and videos
  • Content will disappear within 24 hours
  • A video can be up to 15 seconds
  • Optimal content dimensions are 1080 x 1920 pixels (vertical content is best)
  • You can also split a video that’s longer than 15 seconds into 15-second fragments and add them to your Instagram page so they play consecutively
  • Users can enhance images with filters, text, stickers, the boomerang feature or add music
  • To use on a mobile app, tap the camera icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, share a photo or video you select from your gallery, or choose a camera lens to select a photo or video in the app
  • You can also broadcast live on Instagram by tapping the “Live” option to start filming

YouTube Stories

  • Users can share short, mobile-only videos on YouTube Stories
  • Stories remain on the platform for seven days
  • Story videos can be 15 seconds long
  • You can add stickers, filters and text to your video
  • To use on a mobile app, tap the create icon sign and click “Add to your story.” Tap the capture button to take a photo or to record a video, and then click “Post.”

TikTok Videos

  • Users can share 60 second videos
  • Video dimensions should be 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • The file size should be up to 287.6 MB for iOS or 72 MB on Android
  • To use on a mobile app, click on the “+” button and allow TikTok to access your camera and record. After setting the timer, speed, effects and filters, tap the red button to start recording and choose your music. To edit the video, press the red check and adjust the music and volume on the upper right corner.

Twitter Fleets

  • Videos can be up to 30 seconds long; other fleets display for six seconds when viewed
  • Content will disappear within 24 hours
  • They do not get retweets and are not open to public replies
  • Can include reactions to other tweets, text (up to 280 characters), video, GIFs, stickers or photos
  • Video dimensions should be 1080 x 1920 pixels