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New Ski Resort Data Shows Who Social Media Is Reaching

I love social media. It’s like people watching on steroids. With so much going on, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the hype, the stats, and the growth and not see the forest through the trees (did I really just use that cliche?). A couple months back, Corey Ryan (of Ryan Solutions fame), proposed a social survey that would be appended to dozens of post departure surveys at resorts all across the country. The core question was pretty simple (i’m paraphrasing):

What is the reach and influence of resorts social media efforts?

In other words, who am I reaching on Twitter and Facebook and, perhaps more importantly, who am I missing? And what effect are all those posts having on skiers’ decision making? With the help of Guest Research Inc., nearly 10,000 post-departure surveys were gathered from nearly three dozen resorts across the country, a number that will continue to grow as this is simply the first update of an ongoing study.

If you want the whole shootin-match, here’s the link (i’d highly recommend combing through this one, definitely worth the time), for now though, let me hit a few of the biggest takeaways I found:

Key Finding #1: 53.6% of your skiers…
The first big takeaway was this: 53.6% of your skiers are actively using social media. It’s a shade below the national average of 65% that Pew Internet claims but still impressive. To state the obvious flip side, 46.4% of your guests are not.

Okay, let’s build on this. Think of this stat as the top of the funnel for each social post you make.

Key Finding #2: 38.1% are fans on…
So, of that 53.6% that is active on social, 38.1% of them were Facebook fans of that same resort and 5.7% were following on Twitter.

Let’s combine these numbers. If 53.6% of your guests use social media, and 38.1% of them follow you on Facebook, that means 20.4% of your guests are also your Facebook fans. For Twitter, that number is 3%.

2b: One step further
Posting something to Twitter or Facebook doesn’t guarantee that your fans will see it. In fact, PageLever estimated that, on average, 7.5% of your fans see your posts in a given day. I couldn’t find a solid stat for Twitter, but to continue the Facebook math, this means that every day, 1.5% of your resort’s guests see your Facebook posts.

This number could easily be discouraging, but I don’t think it should be. Remember, these messages are completely free to send and, with some extra work, I think that number could be doubled with a solid EdgeRank from healthy fan engagement. Remember, that 7.5% is an average, and little is stopping you from being above average.

Key Finding #3: 86% of Your Twitter Followers…
This one was fascinating to me: 86% of your Twitter followers are also you Facebook fans. Only 14% follow your brand solely on twitter.

That’s a pretty interesting number. What it doesn’t tell us is how much of your content each of those fans/followers is consuming on each site. Just because they are a Facebook fan doesn’t mean they don’t get a lot of their content on Twitter and vise-versa. Posting to both may not increase overall reach, but could increase the chance any given message will be seen.

I’m going to stop here, but the full report including many more charts and insights are available on the Ryan Solutions site. Here’s the link:

Social Is a Great Tool, Not the Magic Bullet
Some of this data was really, really surprising, but I love the context and perspective it gives a resort’s social activity. The bottom line I see is this: social media is an awesome tool but not a magic bullet and that many of us, myself included, might be overestimating the actual reach it provides. Come up with a marketing plan, identify ways social might be of assistance, and let it be one of the many arrows in your marketing quiver you use to reach your guests and motivate them to act.