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Seven of Australia’s leading digital influencers have converged on Port Macquarie-Hastings to offer their unique insight into our natural beauty.
Led by professional photographer William Patino, the group is here for an Instameet and to share the beauty of the region to the world.
The Instameet adds to council’s annual tourism marketing campaigns that help raise the awareness of the region and provide potential visitors more reasons to visit, stay longer and spend more, providing a great boost for our local economy.
Collectively, the group has an audience of over 660,000 Instagram followers.
On Thursday night they met with a number of local Instagram enthusiasts at Tacking Point lighthouse where they shared their knowledge and passion for photography.
Mr Patino said using social media to promote regions is a growing business.
“Essentially we are professional photographers who have a big reach on social media and this combination allows us to share our photos to a wider audience,” he said.
“We come to an area and see that location through fresher eyes.
“As a group we are regularly contacted by tourism brands and invited to help promote areas.”
Mr Patino said influencers were a small group within Australia but he prefers to be known as a photographer who posts rather than an Instagram enthusiast who takes photographs.
“This is a beautiful part of the world and we will be promoting our photographs to our collective audience.”
Mr Patino said he stumbled across Instagram in 2012 when it was virtually unknown and quickly picked up on its value to promote photographs.
He said the secret to building an Instagram audience was quality photographs, posting your content at the right time and with the right words and connecting with your audience.
He said a good photo required capturing the right light in the right location. You have to get there amongst the elements, he added.
“Personally I like to try to capture fleeting moments that will resonate with an audience,” he said.
Two residents at Thursday night’s Instameet were Megan Rumbel and Danielle Johnston.
Both had been posting to Instagram for a short time and were hoping to gain more insight into improving their photography and learning from the influencers.
They planned to ‘check out’ the work of the seven influencers.
Ms Rumbel said she posts ‘about once a day’ while Ms Johnston, who moved to the area just 12 months ago, said she couldn’t help but starting posting from ‘this beautiful area’.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council partnering with Destination NSW promoted the Instameet.
During their stay the group visited some of the best local spots for sunrise and sunset, including beaches, heritage sites, natural attractions, rivers and places with unique flora and fauna.
These included Comboyne, Bago Bluff, the Camden Haven, Diamond Head, and Lighthouse and Town Beaches. The influencers were joined by a group of local community members and photographers to snap, chat and share tips at Tacking Point Lighthouse in Port Macquarie on Thursday evening.
“These renowned Australian landscape and travel photographers have a social media following of between 59,400 and 165,000 each, together they have an audience of 663,300 people on Instagram alone,” council director Jeffery Sharp said.
Personally I like to try to capture fleeting moments that will resonate with an audience.
“Social media and digital technology is now a key way for us to connect with potential visitors to our region. Having a group of social media influencer’s document its beauty will help us reach new markets and raise the profile of the Port Macquarie-Hastings across the country.
“Each year council delivers a range of tourism marketing and promotions activities, including the annual public relations program, of which this visit is a part. This achieves great results and ensures we continue to grow visitor numbers in what is a very competitive tourism market,” Mr Sharp said.
In 2016-17 Port Macquarie was featured in NSW’s biggest media outlets including Delicious, Country Style, The Australian, Fairfax Traveller and 2UE, through to niche and regional outlets such as Hunter Hunter and New England Home and Lifestyle. This equated to more than $2.1m in public relations value.
The features showcased our region’s accommodation, dining, events, tours and attractions including things like Comboyne and hinterland experiences, local producers and the Wauchope Motorcycle Friendly Town initiative.
“We’re proud to be able to work with Destination NSW to bring great initiatives like the Instameet to the Port Macquarie-Hastings that showcase all we have to offer including our beautiful hinterland experiences, scenic coastline and culinary delights,” added Mr Sharp.
Influencers that took part in the visit include William Patino, Larissa Dening, Melissa Findley, Matt Donovan, Natalie Sum, Robert Mulally and Daniel Tran.
To check out the photos captured as part of the Instameet follow the influencers on Instagram, like and share.