Arun councillors have discussed the possibility of using paid influencers to promote a ‘Sussex by the Sea’ tourism campaign.
At the council’s special economy committee meeting on Monday, November 20, officers presented a report to members on how people reached and engaged with the ‘Sussex by the Sea’ website, as part of the council Digital Destination Awareness Campaign launched last year.
Shaun Gunner (Con, Rustington East) said the council should look into promoting more on TikTok and paying influencers to make videos visiting Arun district, adding the Cotswolds, and the governments of Scotland and Iceland, were taking similar approaches.
He said: “Ditch Linkedin completely, ditch Twitter completely – and I would ditch Instagram completely. If there’s any spare budget, put that towards TikTok – look very strongly at having TikTok influencers.
“Anybody who’s on TikTok, you will see that there’s a whole host of people advertising locations with lovely, short, ten, 20-second videos of beautiful landscapes that get several million views. I appreciate this is something very new and unknown to this council but there’s a reason why people do it: it works.”
Mr Gunner also said council tourism data should look at including from where geographically people were viewing the website and how that was informing their engagement with the campaign – as well as expanding the raft of data available to the council from provider Buzzword Creative.
The report showed most engagement for the campaign was via the council’s Facebook page, with the largest growth in audience on its Instagram, from June 13, 2022 to May 18, 2023.
The council does not currently have a presence on TikTok. Chichester and Horsham district councils are on the only Sussex councils on the app, although Adur & Worthing Councils chief executive Katherine Howard previously said the council would look into it.
The Digital Destination Awareness Campaign also aims to digitally ‘raise awareness’ of the Arun district as a tourist destination, with the report noting a ‘clear increase’ in engagement for the website after the campaign launched.
After the previous Digital Destination Awareness Campaign ended in June this year, it was renewed for a second year by members of the economy committee, to continue into 2024.