Nova Scotia

Social media influencers brought into Cape Breton tourism marketing

Some Cape Bretoners with large social media followings have been approached to pilot a project with Destination Cape Breton to reach people passionate about hiking.

In 2018, Destination Cape Breton hopes to reach people who are passionate about hiking

A view from the top of Franey Mountain in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. (novascotia.com)

Some Cape Bretoners with large social media followings have been approached to pilot an "influencer" project with Destination Cape Breton.

The tourism agency has chosen hiking as a specific focus of its marketing this season, and CEO Mary Tulle told Information Morning Cape Breton that social media will allow it to tap into "communities of interest."

"Everything we do is research-driven," Tulle said, "and so we look at our analytics and on an annual basis, we say, 'What are people looking to do when they come to Cape Breton Island?'"

Tulle said her team decided last summer that the focus this year would be on hiking.

Destination Cape Breton reached out to Cape Bretoners with large followings on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see whether or how they could help amplify the message about hiking on the island. The high-profile social media users include photographers, hikers, outdoorsy people and event organizers.

Outreach

"For Cape Breton Island, there are about 25 that we call right now our 'community of interest' group. We're by no means looking to stop at that [number] — we'd love to see that grow."

Those influencers include nature photographers Adam Hill and Kris Tynski, Tom Wilson, the man behind the Hike the Highlands Festival and Live Life in Tents eco-tour agency in Margaree, N.S.

The agency has also contracted marketing and communications firm Revolve to help focus the influencers.

Tulle said Revolve will meet with the influencers to provide training and then build a strategy to increase the influencers' impact.

Influence and credibility

The influencers will not be paid for any effort they make on behalf of Destination Cape Breton, but instead will be offered an incentive such as a small honorarium or a gift certificate.

"With this group, it's to thank them and to recognize that they are going to be part — we hope — of really growing tourism for Cape Breton Island. 

"Because of their influence, because of their credibility, because of how they showcase what it is that they love about Cape Breton Island, then they are going to have others follow them. So really, they're allowing us to be able to grow what we're doing through them." 

with files from Information Morning Cape Breton

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