Connecting with Consumers Online in the New Normal
By Daniela Ciocan
JUMPSTARTING YOUR BUSINESS after the ups and downs of the past 18 months isn’t going to be easy— from hiring or re-training the team to bringing back clients, it all puts tremendous strain on management. With life returning to ‘the new normal’, there’s an expectation on businesses to re-engage their key stakeholders, and as a result, communication on social media needs a slightly adjusted content approach to take into account post-pandemic behavior. According to online market research, interest is waning a bit from beauty products and DIY treatments, and consumers are focusing instead on professional services and procedures. Despite the fact that many spas and salons were less accessible during the pandemic, consumers have spent time at home researching professional treatments and getting ready for the day when they can safely get services done in a professional environment. For most of them, that day has arrived. Communication strategies should therefore focus on key areas that impact consumer behavior, many of which shifted as a result of the pandemic and lockdown periods, including:
● Safety and cleanliness within the facility
● Ingredient focus and sustainability
● Focus on problem areas of the face, with Zoom serving as a digital magnifying mirror
● DIY viral trends related to skin care treatments
By and large, consumers are ready to seek professional treatments—there’s only so much pampering that one can replicate at home and the results are oftentimes lackluster. However, the first questions that will come to the minds of many guests will likely relate to the apparent safety of the spa or salon facility and the precautions being taken. Though many states in the U.S. and some areas in other parts of the world have reduced or eliminated pandemic-related restrictions, the spread of COVID-19 variants and low vaccination rates in some areas mean that some guests are likely to remain hesitant about visiting a spa.
Be ready to address any precautions your business is still taking with respect to the pandemic, including any spacing or masking requirements being observed, and which—if any— of the spa’s other facilities are operating under specific conditions. These topics can be addressed in short videos such as Stories or Reels to give a sneak peek into how your facility continues to take guest safety and hygiene seriously.
For well over a year, consumers have been scrolling social media for ingredient information, learning about what’s most effective and how best to apply product as part of a proper skin care routine. Ingredients such as Retinol, vitamin C, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid were top-ofmind ingredients. To tap into these trending conversations and topics, you can promote the products your spa uses and highlight ingredients that are resonating with consumers. Additionally, you can highlight proper dosage and use of products. Sustainability is top of mind for most Millennials and members of Gen Z: showcasing sustainably sourced ingredients, recyclable or biodegradable product packaging, onsite processes implemented to curb waste and methods of reducing energy consumption, there are numerous ways of speaking to the concerns of sustainability- conscious guests. The beauty of sustainability is that it is often woven into multiple facets of your business, and it allows you to communicate your company’s ethos and connect with consumers over shared values, resulting in a strong feeling of community.
With hours spent on Zoom meetings, all consumers had a chance to see themselves more and become more critical than ever of their ‘problem’ areas. There has been a focus on the face and areas such as eyes (under and lids), neck and jaw line, lips and jowls. Now with access to spas and esthetic practices, demand for services targeting those areas will experience a big increase. According to consumer research company SPATE, top trending services by online search volume on Google are facials, microdermabrasion, micro needling, eyelash extension and lift and eyebrow waxing. These types of services should be emphasized on social media if your spa facility offers them or alternatives that are good substitutes. To increase interest in booking a service or series, highlight unique parts of the treatment that leverage the esthetician’s unique techniques, as well as any special equipment used to enhances results.
Lastly, social media—especially Tik-Tok—played a large role during the past year and a half in representing skin care trends to the masses. From homemade lemon juice masks and toners to baking soda scrubs, there has been a preponderance of viral trends. As experts, estheticians can address concerns around the safety of some viral trends, and express the importance of using properly formulated products to preserve skin health.
By leveraging these trending topics and ‘of the moment’ consumer sentiment, your spa’s communication messages can be relevant and engaging to both existing guests as well as to new consumers who are interested in such subject matter, thus expanding your online community reach and in the process, possibly gaining new clients.
DANIELA CIOCAN is the Founder and CEO of Access Beauty Insiders. Known for a next-generation multimedia approach that fuels strong industry innovation, as well as revolutionary creative collaborations among retailers, distributors and influencers, Ciocan is a two-time winner of Trade Show Executive’s Marketing Genius Award.