MOSSEL BAY NEWS - Mossel Bay has certainly been on the map this week. The town trended on Twitter among the top five hottest topics in the country alongside the likes of Steinhoff, according to TrendWiki South Africa.
Even more remarkable is that on Wednesday, 22 August this was the case three times on the same day.
The cherry on top was the fact that Mossel Bay co-hosted the weekly, hour-long TravelChatSA, a rare privilege.
#TravelChatSA is a non-profit, one-hour live community travel chat on Twitter every Wednesday night.
It is a global conversation acting as a tool to create brand recognition and a buzz around a specific topic, in this case coastal towns of SA, among tweeter hosts and co-hosts, participants and hundreds of thousands of followers.
Reaching new audiences
This tsunami of interest in Mossel Bay was the handiwork of six of South Africa's top bloggers, in Mossel Bay this week at the courtesy of Mossel Bay Tourism and Riaan Jordaan Marketing.
"We know that we have an established, educated audience that returns to Mossel Bay annually during the traditional holiday season. However, as a marketing agent, our mandate is to draw people to Mossel Bay all year round and extend our season.
Therefore, the urge was to reach and create new audiences," Aneli Gerber, head of Mossel Bay Tourism explains.
Applying outside-the-box thinking, given the available budget, Gerber opted for cost effectiveness while creating a high impact and achieving maximum reach.
"Members of the younger generation return to Mossel Bay out of nostalgia, because they have happy childhood memories or they still have grandparents in the area. But we cannot bank on this continuously being enough to bring them back in future."
Six top bloggers
Gerber says that Mossel Bay Tourism searched the top bloggers in South Africa and 16 out of the 20 possibilities reacted favourably to the invitation to visit.
First of the social media influencers to visit in July was Allison Foat (Cape Town Diva). Apart from her huge online following, Foat also writes for, among others, the Sunday Times. Her long form blog on her week-long experience of Mossel Bay went viral.
"On average Allison's blog posts gets shared about 100 times. Her blog on Mossel Bay was shared 637 times."
This week, six top South African bloggers took things to the next level considering that one of these guests, Jacqui Mackay Wilson, the mastermind behind GoSocialSA has close on 60 000 followers alone on social media.
Joining her was Anton Krauss (Theveganrainbow.com), Gaynor van Rooyen (Tulips and Phoenixes), Anje Rautenbach (Going Somewhere Slowly), Stephanie Marthinus (Stephanie Marthinus Blog - South African Travel Blog) and Rose Greyling Bilbrough (GoTravelBug).
"We selected these bloggers based on their fields of interest and arranged their experiences in and around Mossel Bay accordingly, in order to cover the broadest base," Gerber says.
Much to her surprise, though, these innovative travellers took the initiative and found hidden treasures in Mossel Bay that weren't even on the to-do list, some of these adding even more impetus to Mossel Bay rocketing to a top-trending topic on Twitter.
Trending on Twitter
"As the hosts, Tourism decided to add an equal investment along with the bloggers with regards to social sharing, which shows in our results. This created additional spin-offs in terms of marketing Mossel Bay as a trendy destination. Just the welcoming notes we posted on Sunday already created 5 500 impressions on social media. This was before the bloggers even started sharing."
The numbers are indeed staggering. Gerber indicates by way of an online measuring tool, tweetbinder.com, that the tweets on #MosselBay, had a potential reach of more than 1.3 million users, with the potential impact of it being almost 12 times that.
"An undertaking of this size and magnitude is indeed ground-breaking work for a local tourism office.
"My primary goal is to market Mossel Bay as a desirable destination. However, business owners need to remember it is still their prerogative to draw visitors to their individual establishments and ensure their online business voice is heard among the waves of online marketing messages that bombard people every day."
* In the article above Servaas de Kock, Group Editors marketing and sales director, gives advice on trending and turnkey marketing options available to local businesses.
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