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Meet Townsville’s Social Media Heroes

Meet Townsville’s Social Media Heroes

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We all know running social media platforms can be incredibly time-consuming and rarely well-paying, so why do it? We talk to the people promoting Townsville through their social media networks and get an insight into why they do what they do and how they think it has changed and assisted our city.


Support Local Townsville

@SupportLocalTownsville

After travelling Australia and settling down in Townsville, Kellie Stephenson decided to create the ‘Support Local Townsville’ page. Her aim was to do her part for the community, connect to the outside world and work towards her long-term goal of creating a business consultancy firm from the page.

Support Local Townsville – which aims to only promote positive stories – has since gained incredible traction, with over 2,500 followers and 17,000 posts using the unique #supportlocaltownsville tag on Instagram alone.

Despite starting the page in July 2016, Kellie didn’t officially launch Support Local Townsville until November 2017, when she collaborated with local businesses to host a ‘VIP STAYcation’ competition marketed to ‘Townsville’s Biggest Supporters’.

“I coordinated a weekend for two lucky people to showcase just a snippet of what Townsville had to offer,” Kellie said.

The weekend included everything from a nights accommodation at Hotel Grand Chancellor, a scenic Townsville Helicopters flight accompanied by Gavin Cooper, tickets and spending money for the Flavours of Latin America event at A Touch Of Salt, spending money for the Sunday on Flinders Cotters Markets and much more.

“The response was phenomenal from both the collaborating local businesses and from entrants. It was great to demonstrate to businesses that working together we could provide such an epic weekend and really showcase that Townsville has so much on offer,” Kellie says.

The vast majority of followers on the page are Townsville-based, which is brilliant for our city’s local businesses as it has the potential to spread a positive message to a targeted and open audience.

“Thanks to networking and meeting people through the Support Local Townsville initiative, I feel that I can now meet business owners and offer them a way to connect with other businesses to help collaborate,” Kellie says, adding that she randomly reposts images from her hashtag so that businesses can have “another free avenue to help get their name out there”.

Whilst maintaining an active Facebook and Instagram page for Support Local Townsville does take up a portion of Kellie’s time, she says that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Support Local Townsville in itself is my business – it is my registered business name.  All my posts are done for love and they are not paid for. Many local businesses will invite me to try their product or service and I always ensure I share my experiences as it is a great way to help showcase the variety of ‘fabulousness’ our region has,” Kellie says. “I find that in doing this, my professional network has expanded immensely which has assisted me consulting to businesses who might need my help further in a paid capacity. I will continue to post and share all the goodness of Townsville simply for the love I have for our region and my passion for local businesses – both big and small – as I want to raise our children in a community that I am proud of.”

The Support Local Townsville page is a prime example of innovative and out of the box thinking. Not only is it proof that we have some exceptional people and businesses in Townsville, it’s also proof that there’s more than one way to network in a new city and chase down your dream career.


Townsville North Queensland

@TownsvilleNorthQueensland

Social media is the perfect medium for promoting tourism in a region – but how do you attract visitors to our stunning slice of paradise without losing them in the marketing message? It’s a hard line to walk, but the ‘Townsville North Queensland’ page – run by Townsville Enterprise – has navigated the tightrope perfectly.

“The Visit Townsville Australia Facebook page has a following of approximately 26,000 and sees gradual growth of about 2% each month,” says the Director for Tourism and Events, Bridget Woods. “The biggest growth in our social media channels came about when we started prioritising user-generated content – people respond much better to images and stories from real people rather than tailored marketing messages.”

Targeting the right people at the right time is hard – but with 320 days of sunshine in Townsville, we’ve got it relatively easier than others. So why is it so important to keep a healthy tourism image present? Bridget delves into this.

“It is important that our marketing messages are where the people are, and given that 96% of millennials have joined a social media network, it’s essential that our region and destination has an online presence,” Bridget says. “Social media also plays an important role in the stages of travel. During the dreaming phase, social media can be used to inspire and influence destination choice – more than 52% of social media users said their friends’ social media travel photos have inspired travel plans. During the planning phases social media can influence bookings and drive sales. When visitors are in the region and experiencing the destination, social media provides a platform for visitors to share their travel experiences. For Townsville Enterprise, social media is the single most powerful marketing platform we have – it gives us the ability to reach and inspire thousands of people from across the globe and costs next to nothing.”

As many social media page managers know, video content has reigned king for a long time now, which is why Townsville Enterprise have gone above and beyond just user generated content to encourage visitors. However, their latest Visiting Family and Relatives (VFR) campaign is aimed at encouraging locals to do the talking.

“Whilst we will be showcasing the region to potential visitors in our key markets, it’s also important that locals play a role in promoting their own backyard,” Bridget says. “In order to strengthen the VFR numbers in our region, the key messages of the campaign aim to inspire locals to be proud of their home and encourage them to invite their family and friends to visit Townsville North Queensland and enjoy all the splendour our region has to offer. This could be by attending a world-class event, shopping in our unique boutiques, dining in award-winning restaurants and bars, or experiencing our local natural assets of reef, rainforest and outback.”


Townsville Loves Your Business

@TownsvilleLovesYourBusiness

Townsville Loves Your Business (TLYB) is the epitome of positivity when it comes to social media accounts in our city. Since starting in July 2015, the Instagram-based page has gained a huge amount of traction, clocking in at over 6,200 followers and 250+ images. Filitsa Kounias, the TLYB founder, originally created the page as a fun way to show off local businesses.

“At the time I remember feeling that everywhere I looked or whatever I read about Townsville was negative. I wanted to change that around,” says Filitsa, who says she was met with a wave of positivity from locals when she first started posting. “Townsville really jumped on board. I’ve seen friendships begin and business being passed on because of a post I put up.  I even met my business partner via TLYB.  The best part is when someone walks up to you in the street and says ‘Hi, I follow you on Instagram and I just wanted to say thank you for doing what you do’.”

Filitsa’s above and beyond attitude doesn’t just stop at the ‘post’ button, either, with the TLYB founder often going that extra mile to help businesses out.

“The one thing businesses probably don’t know about the page is that everyday I get enquiries asking ‘where is this?’ ‘What is the phone number for that place?’ ‘What was the coffee like?’ ‘Where can I get my hair done when I’m in town?’ I answer every one of those questions on behalf of the businesses that I promote on the page.  If it means that I influence a sale or two for a business then I believe that is a great achievement,” Filitsa says.

As the page continued to grow, so did the interest in social media from our local businesses, many of which encouraged Filitsa to expand into the enviable world of social media marketing.

“What has been an absolutely humbling experience for me is the businesses that I have supported and promoted over the past couple of years have come back and decided that they want to give back.  They have encouraged me to start a membership to the page so that they can subscribe and be featured,” says Filitsa. “That’s just Townsville for you – people get behind you and cheer you on. Occasionally I will also run a competition or a giveaway for a business or put up an influencer post for a small fee.”

Adding the membership aspect to the page has been a huge step forward in making Filitsa’s passion profitable. However, she still goes out of her way to honour the original reasons she started the page.

“I see TLYB as continuing to grow and promote our city. The memberships I have are limited only because I believe that the page needs to remain authentic. You are experiencing Townsville though my eyes and taste buds and I truly want you to know that I love the businesses I show,” Filitsa says.

From there, Filitsa believes that a change in mindset could spell a change for the whole city.

“Here’s my theory. If everyone and especially local businesses started promoting themselves and our community in a positive light on social media, then that is how our city will be perceived. It really isn’t hard to find something nice to say each day.  I am a believer of the power of social media. As Richard Branson says ‘We can get an army of people through social media to bring about change’. Let’s just do it. “

Our city up and promote the amazing businesses we have in Townsville.

Whilst there is no way to tell how much money these positive, up-beat pages have generated for our local businesses and local economy in general, it’s inspiring to see such devotion to our city and our local businesses.

Next time you see the pages pop up, be sure to send them a thank you for their time and effort – you never know which business friends of yours might have benefited from their hard work.


Townsville Tight Ass

@TownsvilleTightAss

Promoting Townsville and all of the brilliant things our city has to offer doesn’t just stop at tourism or amazing lunch places. The hugely successful ‘Townsville Tight Ass’ page – which has a plethora of daily deals and savings – is a testament to this.

Starting just over a year ago, the Townsville Tight Ass page boomed to over 1,000 followers in its first week. It’s now sitting at over 20,000 followers, with page numbers increasing every week.

Content creator and “official tight ass”, Allison Rasmussen says she started the page as a joke and it grew from there.

“A mate and I from work would swap specials. We joked around about how awesome it would be to have a website telling everyone where all the best pub deals were,” Allison says. “When you’re saving money, everyone’s a winner.“

Posting dozens of deals per week, Allison says that both businesses and locals can benefit from the page, with the deals “getting local brands into the market.”

Allison has also expanded her influence by getting local radio personalities Luke Lum from Hit103.1 and Minty from 4TOFM involved in giveaways and promotions.

Adding in local faces, utilising video and creating easily shareable, clean-cut images are certainly the reasons behind the page’s huge success. It’s also a brilliant example of how pages must evolve and grow with demand in the fast paced world of social media if they want to grow.

“When you’re saving money, everyone’s a winner!”

Allison runs the page on a volunteer basis, not making any money from her hard word and dedication. However, Allison says she has big plans to move the page forward, with more creative ideas on the way – but not too soon.

“I have big plans, but I also have a full-time job that pays the bills,” Allison says, echoing the thoughts of thousands of page owners Australia wide.

Taking a step back to appreciate local pages like Townsville Tight Ass, Townsville North Queensland and Townsville Loves Your Business is certainly something we should all do. They not only encourage tourism dollars, but go out of their way – often with little to no compensation in return for their hours of hard work – to build our city up and promote the amazing businesses we have in Townsville.

Whilst there is no way to tell how much money these positive, up-beat pages have generated for our local businesses and local economy in general, it’s inspiring to see such devotion to our city and our local businesses.

Next time you see the pages pop up, be sure to send them a thank you for their time and effort – you never know which business friends of yours might have benefited from their hard work.

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