How Bannatyne Group Grew An Engaged Community Of Over 200k Facebook Fans

The Bannatyne Group is one of the UK’s leading leisure operators with 71 health clubs, 43 spa facilities and 3 hotels located across England, Wales and Scotland. The Group has over 200,000 members and seeks to provide all its customers and guests with a quality offering, with health clubs combining modern gym facilities with swimming pools, spa pools, steam rooms and saunas.

Over a 100 social media accounts

Over 70 Club, spa & hotel venues

Social media users

Facebook fans


“Before adopting SoCrowd we had a handful of Facebook and Twitter pages for the Group and Hotel venues, which were all managed by the marketing team manually logging into the accounts every day. As our industry is very competitive we needed to ensure we were utilising every channel including social media to its fullest, in every way possible.”

Recognising the power of social to engage customers and guests at each venue, the team began to consider how to implement a localised strategy for social media profiles and engagement, which fit well with the Bannatyne brand of building communities, and providing members with more than just access to facilities.

At the same time, other leisure centre operators began to increase their own adoption of social media by creating profiles for individual venues, reinforcing that the Group’s desire to adopt a local social strategy was the right decision.

The Challenges

  • Increase social media adoption across the organisation to engage member communities at each health club, spa and hotel venue.
  • Allow 160 team members to safely access corporate social media accounts to share content and engage with customers.
  • Provide the central Marketing team with a single view of all social media accounts, and ability to control all content being published when required.
  • Replace manual working practices and automatically send new sales enquiries or questions through to the Contact Centre team to provide a fast response.

 In a nutshell

The Bannatyne Group have been using SoCrowd since April 2016, allowing the for the safe creation and management of over 100+ social media accounts across its venues, and enabling a distributed team of users to access the accounts in a controlled way.

“We looked at several social media platforms and SoCrowd was the most competitively priced solution providing all the features we were looking for.”

Using the SoCrowd platform, the central Marketing team at head office have complete visibility and control of all Bannatyne social media assets and are responsible for posting out national marketing campaigns such as promotions and competitions.

The Contact Centre team are setup to receive all inbound enquiries and Direct Messages allowing for fast and accurate responses.

The local venue General Managers, Sales Managers and Spa Managers all have access to their local social profiles via the SoCrowd platform and can post out content and respond to members. The unique content produced by local venues often receives more engagement from members than the national campaigns run by the Marketing team.

“Having the local social pages for each club and spa allows us to create real communities around them. We do a lot of social events, the staff are well known and people get involved in the comments. It creates a nice community feel.”

“Using a platform like SoCrowd helps spread the workload out and automatically allocates the right messages to the right people in the team.”

 How we got here

The Bannatyne Group have successfully implemented a local approach to social media and grown a community of over 200k fans on Facebook in the process.

When it comes to creating new content, the local approach works well for Bannatyne’s. “The clubs post things like workout videos, tips on using equipment, meet-the-team style posts and class availability. The spa venues post about their different treatments available and the team members, while the hotels share images of their food, events or weddings taking place.”

Interestingly, the unique content created and posted by the local venues often generates the most engagement. The Marketing team ensures a good balance of content is being published and that it is on-brand.

“From a central viewpoint, Marketing is responsible for running our national promotional campaigns, which might be to win a free membership or zero joining fees.”

With a distributed group of users, the Marketing team created a handbook to help educate employees about their role and responsibilities when using social on behalf of the business. When new members join the team, they complete SoCrowd’s online e-learning course to help get up to speed quickly with the software.

“At the beginning when we established the local accounts we didn’t know what the local users might try to post, and there were varying levels of experience of using Facebook. So we needed to ensure we could prevent inappropriate content from being posted out.”

Using SoCrowd’s Validation tool has been key, allowing the Marketing team to view and approve all content before it is published live. Initially, all local venue users had their content validated, and over time it was removed for the majority of users as they gained experience and confidence in using social for business.

The exception to this is video content recorded in the health clubs, as Facebook will automatically detect background music in videos and then block the content if it is copyrighted. “We put all video posts on Validation, allowing us to check for background music that might cause the content to be blocked. Then we simply download the video file to mute or edit the audio when required, before posting it live.”

Using SoCrowd’s Analytics, the team produce a social leader board every fortnight, giving users insight into their performance and how they compare to others to create a sense of competition across the team.

“For each region we report on new followers, most engaged, most viewed, and why certain clubs are performing well, to help share best practice between each venue and help the entire team raise their game on social.”

What they say

Laura Wilson
Web Content Manager, The Bannatyne Group

“It just wouldn’t be possible to manage without a platform like SoCrowd since we have so many pages and users, and they always provide quick, helpful customer support which is really important to us.”


The SoCrowd platform has enabled the Bannatyne Group to adopt a localised approach to social media, with 100+ social profiles maintained in controlled way and an engaged customer community:

  • Built a social media community of over 200,000 engaged fans on Facebook across all local venues.
  • Given each local venue the ability to create and share unique content that is aligned to the local customer community.
  • Established an automated process to direct new sales enquiries or questions to the Contact Centre team to provide a faster response and better customer experience.
  • Embedded regular social media reporting to encourage competition amongst users and ongoing learning.
  • Embedded a content validation process to ensure all posts are aligned to the Bannatyne brand, and catch video content that could otherwise be blocked by Facebook.

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