Future directions - By David Power, Coordinator Economic Development, City of Port Phillip

Article image - Future directions - By David Power, Coordinator Economic Development, City of Port Phillip City of Port Philip uses social media to promote St Kilda market and many other local attractions.

The time has come for economic development and tourism departments to take the lead in the digital space.

In order to stay relevant and compete in destination marketing on a global scale, local government needs to embrace the digital culture.

As the people who know best the amazing places within our own municipalities, local governments need to set the example for our businesses of how to create great places for our visitors and community.

It’s how people spend their time
Our lives are now driven by digital content.

Most adults spend 26 minutes per day on Facebook plus on average, 79 minutes per day watching digital video content such as Netflix and YouTube.

Smartphones are the must have accessory.

Port Phillip leading the charge
With this in mind, the City of Port Phillip decided to take our social media engagement to the next level.   

The Economic Development team designed a fully digital destination marketing campaign for the entire municipality over
Summer 2017/18.

The City planned to create innovative dynamic messaging that would not just engage, but would capture the attention of a wide, experience driven and diverse audience.

Right digital mix
The deliberate, thoughtful and insightful messages minimised any risk with the campaign.

This entirely new approach leads the way for local government tourism campaigns, showcasing a digital approach in a space that has traditionally focused on print channels and ready-made template campaigns.

Creating a tailored campaign from scratch was labour intensive, establishing the social media platforms, website, branding and then ultimately securing buy-in from the community before executing and tracking the final campaign.

However, it was completed without any additional staff resources which was a huge plus.

The algorithms
Don’t be fooled, it might sound simple but algorithms have changed rapidly in the past few years for social content.

Posting on social media with no real strategy behind it would not have been effective.

Port Phillip’s primary goals were to have the City front of mind, be far reaching and engage with targeted audiences; something that requires a high level of tenacity and digital savviness.  

You need to know, understand and invest in the social platforms to use them most effectively.

The aim of the campaign was to engage with the local community and inspire and encourage a sense of local pride for the municipality.

The tourism facts
Forty percent of overnight stays are people visiting friends and relatives and the wonderful foreshore is a strong part of that attraction.

This campaign needed to go a step further and create a connection from the already well profiled foreshore to the City’s local neighbourhoods to gain better yield from its visitors.

Social channels were used to engage directly with residents and businesses already using either Instagram or Facebook.

Additional social media influencers with specific audiences were engaged to encourage visits to our neighbourhoods and use of our own social media channels.

Videos and photographs were used to showcase the unique offerings of local tourism providers.

It was then possible to release highly targeted advertisements to specific demographics.

The methodology is so sophisticated the campaign was able to reach parents with young children who wanted to get out of the house and enjoy a coffee while their little ones are occupied.

Content styles such as social stories, personal blogs and experiential marketing pieces were gathered instead of the traditional business profile.

This approach received great engagement from local businesses and influencers, which made the content more playful and engaging as a result.  

This ‘outside the box’ for local government strategy created stronger engagement, diversity in message and really demonstrated a firm commitment to the local business community through the summer period.

The results

  • 50 videos created
  • 2.9 million views
  • 383 uses of the campaign hashtag
  • 180 local businesses have participated in the campaign
  • 61,116 engagements with social media influencers such as @melbournegirl

The success of this Summer Campaign so far should encourage Local Government to embrace and invest in the digital world.

It’s fast paced, exciting, value for money and dynamic.  

You have complete control of the content, can track your results and you are able to engage one-on-one with your community and visitors alike, but above all, it makes everyone’s life that much easier and more fun.

Like us on Facebook facebook.com/exploreportphillip
Follow us on Instagram instagram.com/exploreportphillip
Check out the website exploreportphillip.com.au