In 2012, Australia was the most popular travel
destination on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.
In 2013, Tourism Australia has an ambitious goal to use the
power of social media to make Australia the most talked
about holiday destination in the world.
There are officially just three people with ‘social media’
titles at Tourism Australia. Yet look a little more closely and
in fact the content shared comes from millions of people
who interact and enthusiastically help sell the country.
44,403 1,495 5,470Gold Coast Tourism - Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta
Welcome to the World’s Biggest Social Media Team.
There’s Nothing Like Australia 3
Power to the consumer 6
Powered by fans 10
5 steps to creating the World’s
Biggest Social Media Team
1: Create platforms that our
fans can build on
2: Make our fans the hero 19
3: Surf waves 25
4: Create social stories 32
5: Test and learn 37
5 stages of travel 40
Growing the team in 3 areas 43
Fan favourites 45
• Tourism Australia operates in
22 markets and 17 languages
• Its 200-strong workforce is split
between Sydney (120) and
12 offices around the globe (80)
• Tourism is Australia’s second
largest industry, worth $96bn
and employing close to
• By 2020, the government
wants to double tourism
expenditures from AU$70bn
In May 2010 Tourism Australia launched ‘There’s
Nothing Like Australia’, a global campaign with a
strong social element. It was the first time that
social media showcased the range of diverse
experiences up for grabs in Australia, as well as
demonstrating the power of word of mouth.
The big idea being that its better to have all of
Australia advocating through their travel stories.
Australians uploaded 60,000 stories and photos,
sharing their favourite ‘nothing like’moment with
the world in what became one of the country’s
biggest consumer-generated promotions. These
stories now form an interactive, digital map,
inspiring travellers ahead of their Australian holiday.
There’s nothing like australia
The world travels
to experience difference
Word of Mouth
is all powerful
For Tourism Australia ‘There’s Nothing
Like Australia’is both a campaign line
and a brand truth. It was born from
two key insights:
1. The world travels to experience
difference and Australia is an
extremely unique destination
2. Word of mouth has always been
and will always be all powerful,
particularly when it comes to travel
ALWAYS LEAD TO
DISCOVER TIMELESS ULURU AT AUSTRALIA .COM
Power to the Consumer
The past 20 years have seen a dramatic shift
towards consumer generated stories.
The shift started roughly in 2002 when
consumers, not just publishers, could easily
create content (think blogs, TripAdvisor reviews
etc.). This ushered in a new era of tourism
marketing, one that was honest, transparent
and increasingly driven by the consumer.
With the rise of user-generated content Tourism
Australia is well-placed to capitalise on this latest
phase, particularly considering the growth in popularity
of photo-sharing sites.
Fans to date have sent over 229k photos via Instagram
and over 180k via Facebook to be used specifically by
Tourism Australia on its social media platforms.
storytelling with the consumer
65,167 2,227 8,314Aquabumps - Perfection? - Cable Beach, Broome WA
48,848Justin Heitman - Can you see Heart Reef? ♥ 1,151 4,626
Pre social media, if someone visited Australia
their circle of influence was quite small. Maybe
they would make a few phone calls back home,
send a few post cards and tell a handful of
people about their trip on their return home.
Today, in a networked, always on, real time
world, a holiday in Australia can be broadcast via
social media to an intimate few, hundreds,
thousands and even very publicly to millions of
people around the world.
With a digital shift driven by consumers we
optimistically see unprecedented scale for word
pre social today
(source: Travel 2.0)
“Social offers an accessible point of entry for companies in the tourism sector.
78% of our industry is made up of small to medium-sized enterprises, so a lot of
them don’t have the time or money to spend on traditional marketing
campaigns. Social has levelled the playing field for everyone and is an effective
way for them to secure endorsement. If I own a hotel and someone tweets or
posts on Facebook about my establishment, they’re advocating for my hotel.
This makes everyone who comes through the door a potential fan and advocate.
We see the same opportunity from everyone that visits our shores.”
Executive General Manager,
40,941 770 4,924Katie Daly on Tasman Island Cruises)
Here is where the World’s Biggest Social Media Team has
a crucial role to play: they field questions and interact
with people who are starting to consider visiting
This kind of evangelism, facilitated through Tourism
Australia’s profiles, packs a far greater punch than we
could ever create on our own.
It’s the same story when a trip reaches the planning
stages: when places to stay or eat out are recommended
in a peer-to-peer fashion, it’s out of a genuine desire to
share and help others enjoy their holiday in Australia.
The core social media team aims to win consumer trust
by taking a back-seat approach, facilitating natural
conversation and spontaneous recommendation
Here’s how we do it...
powered by fans
“Social is a massive platform
where people can tell stories.
Ultimately, we want our
4 million plus Facebook fans,
the 23 million people who
live here and the 6 million
who visited last year to
become ambassadors for the
country. Everything we do in
social is to make this
happen.” - Nick Baker
5 steps to joining
the world’s biggest social media team
create platforms that
your fans can build on
4,787 321 1,614Alexander Frings Photography - Double-rainbow in Byron Bay
The core social media team focuses on creating
platforms on which fans can themselves build on.
This is a world away from regarding social as a
channel through which to broadcast one message
to the masses, and allows a number of perspectives
to be represented in one place. This, in turn,
conveys that a visit to Australia can prompt an
infinite number of experiences.
Instead of pushing out one-off ‘social campaigns’
Tourism Australia creates 'always on’platforms that
involve fans and followers adding social context to
every story being shared.
In mid 2011 Tourism Australia changed its
Facebook approach and turned over the
page to its biggest fans. The results was an
explosive growth in reach and engagement.
“The possibilities are endless. When we saw
the potential we quickly moved from a
team that was producing static one way
stories to dynamic multi angled ones
codeveloped with our fans. “
Social Media and Advocacy Manager
Fans and followers send in over 1,000 photos
per day to be featured on Tourism Australia’s
social media platforms.
What’s more, professional or semi-professional
photographers are increasingly likely to share their
shots as casual snappers, with some using those social
platforms as a launch pad for their career.
Richard Hirst, a Sydney-based professional
photographer, has built up his Facebook fanbase and
has been hired by Nikon thanks to his shots being
regularly featured on Tourism Australia’s Facebook.
This is testament to one of Tourism Australia’s core
social media principles: make fans the heros.
(more on this later)
Your best camera is the one you have with you
While Tourism Australia receives incredible photos from professional
and semi professional photographers (about 40%), the vast majority
comes from thousands who give Tourism Australia a real time look
at events happening across the country via Instagram.
“With mobile, you have only a second or
two to tell a story. It once again changes the
rules. Everything has to be short and
punchy, intelligent, focused and massively
relevant”- Jesse Desjardins
“5 years ago it would have been unthinkable for
us to have photographers in the field sending us
a thousand photos every day.”- Nick Baker
stories embedded in the history of our fans
When Facebook introduced timelines for brand pages most
companies flocked at the opportunity to talk about their history. To
keep in the spirit of our approach (creating platforms that our fans
can build on) we turned it over to fans who have been populating
the timeline with their own family holiday photos, generating
discussion on family traditions and holidays across Australia. Fans
can see photos dating back to 1910.
Harry Willey - Coolangatta, QLD 1967
Australia’s tourism industry has followed suit, with a more
and more companies embracing the concept of creating
platforms that other people can build on. This, in turn,
makes it easy for people to talk about their product or
service and helps to publicise unforgettable experiences to
new audiences in a
Pro Dive in Cairns, for instance, has installed
free 3G wifi connections on their boats going out to the
Great Barrier Reef so in between dives, customers
can post photos and videos in real time.
“Whether it’s free WIFI or fan-generated social
media content, companies that can recognise the
power of introducing additional, participatory layers
to their proposition are not just enhancing people’s
enjoyment of their product, but are also helping
their business in the long-term through people
generating positive PR on their behalf.” - Nick Baker
make your advocates the hero
44,093 844 6,931Christine Amherd - “Chin up mate :)”
95% of content on Tourism Australia’s
social media platforms is created by fans.
This means the social media team is focused on
curating, not just creating, content that
showcases the best of Australia.
This also means that the people whose content is
being showcased on the day become experts
joining the core team in leading the discussion
and helping to answer questions from other fans.
Brad Chilby, Illawarra NSW:
“I get hundreds of emails and enquiries through
my Facebook fan page asking about visiting the
Illawarra, places to see and things to do and I
really enjoy sharing my local knowledge with
them. The more photos I share with Tourism
Australia the more my fan base grows and so
does the interest in the region. Tourism
Australia once shared one of my photos of Sea
Cliff Bridge at Coalcliff in N.S.W and my fan
numbers jumped by almost 400 fans in one day.
It would normally take around 3 months to gain
that many fans.”
Andy Hutchinson, South Coast NSW:
“Best thing that's happened since I started
sharing my photos is that I've started making a
living out of selling them. I didn't think my
photos were very good and had never
considered selling prints before, but thanks in
part to traffic sent my way via the Australia
page and so many positive responses, I thought
I'd give it a go. I've since sold prints and
calendars all over the world - if someone had
told me that would be the case this time last
year I'd have thought they were mad.”
Jen Rayner, Hobart TAS:
“I love Australia and I love photographing it.
Tourism Australia's Facebook profile provides the
perfect platform for me to share my perspective
of Australia, with the rest of the world… I know
how important tourism is to Tasmania and
being involved in promoting my island gave me
a great sense of pride.”
Carly Donohue, Perth WA:
“My aim generally on a weekly basis is to get
into the weeks fan photos posted by Australia.
It is one of the best ways to market attention
to a photo of mine. Alone it would be
impossible for myself to engage all those in
the world that like Australia photography to
see my photos.”
Richard Hirst, Sydney NSW:
“I have been inundated with emails from
people around the world telling me how
much they love my work and Australia. It is
especially satisfying when I receive emails
from friends of mine who live overseas and
who have seen my photos posted by Tourism
Why photographers share their photos...
Lauren Bath, Gold Coast QLD:
“A lot of wonderful things have happened to
me since I started sharing photos but my
most exciting was the feature that Tourism
Australia did on my shots. It was my first big
Harry Willey is an 81-year-old fan of
Tourism Australia’s Facebook page.
Harry shrugs off the few negative
comments which occasionally appear
on the page and also shares his own
experiences and extensive knowledge
of Australia spanning decades.
“Harry is part of our social
media team and is proof that
Tourism Australia’s social media
platforms aren’t exclusively
targeting younger audiences.
For over 50 years Harry has
travelled all across Australia. In
terms of expertise, it literally
doesn’t get any better than
Harry.”- Nick Baker
Visit the social media team at Tourism
Australia and you’ll see an unusual photo
of Luke Skywalker and Yoda.
“This photo reminds us to make our fans
the hero every day. When we look at what
other brands are doing in the social space,
it’s still all about them, they are the hero,
they are Luke Skywalker.
In Star Wars, Yoda is the wise one, he’s the
one who has a deep understanding of
where Luke should go and whispers this
path in his ear. But throughout the film the
hero is always Luke. This is our approach in
social. When we make our fans Luke
Skywalker they will pick up our stories and
take it to places where it could never go on
This mantra is always front and centre in
everything that we do in social media.”
- Jesse Desjardins
using the force
While planning and content calendars have their
place the team needs to always be ready to grab
their boards and surf incoming waves.
The biggest advantage is that ‘Tourism +
Australia’are naturally some of the most talked
about topics on social media in Australia with
incoming waves coming in daily.
The challenge is choosing exactly which
ones to surf.
We’re always ready for two types of wave:
big waves and small waves...
5,765 246 1,287frothers.com.au | Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW- “Duck”
Every day we hone our skills to be able to respond to news
stories with an Australian angle, as evidenced recently on
21st December 2012, the last day of the Mayan calendar,
which some were hailing as the end of the world.
By taking advantage of Australia’s geographic location we
took it upon our selves to tell the world ‘Yes, we’re alive’on
The results? More than 180k likes and 7,000 comments.
This also led to the page reaching more than 4 million
fans. News of Tourism Australia’s Facebook comment also
became headline news in the mainstream press.
"We'd like to reassure our fans around the world that
Australia is very much alive and well, and still the
perfect place for a holiday."
- Media statement from
Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director, Tourism Australia
“The ‘end of the world’posts was a
perfect example of the power and
speed of social media. We’re proud of
the capabilities we’ve built internally
that allow us to respond to such
opportunities. Our team was able to
seize upon an incredible PR
opportunity, which within minutes
saw Tourism Australia’s Facebook site
making news across Australia, and,
within hours, across the globe.”
Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director
The core social media team also works
closely with traditional media partners.
When a rescued Koala became a big hit
on our Facebook page, we quickly
contacted the media in Australia. The
result was a feature in three major news
outlets in Australia, the US and the UK
in less than 24 hours.
One example of a small weekly wave is the
Friday Fan Photos. Around 35 photos
submitted by fans from a wide variety of
locations are rounded up every Friday and then
published as an album on Facebook.
Comments are relentlessly positive, with fans
liking, sharing and reminiscing about their
‘It’s become a big thing and people are quite
competitive to get their pictures featured.
Professional photographers send us photos on a
daily basis and people call the switchboard and
send photos in the mail.’ - Jesse Desjardins
Small waves are our favourites because they allow us to
hone our skills and to cumulatively always be achieving
You only get better at mastering the big waves once
you’ve mastered the small ones.
“We are constantly searching for the
absolute best content to showcase
Australia. Our fans loved the idea of
‘glamping’over the holidays. With the
help of Paperbark Camp and the
perfect image we were able to reach
hundreds of thousands of people to
share an incredible Australian
experience. By crafting exactly the
right post we were also able to
increase Paperbark Camp’s Facebook
page from 423 to over 7,900 fans,
generating enquires and bookings
from all over the world.” - Jesse Desjardins
Visual beauty and social media is a highly
potent combination when it comes to driving
interest in Australia.
“Platforms like Instagram and Facebook
give people a 24-hour, constant, real-
time loop which is forever suggesting a
holiday in Australia over their next big
purchase. It’s a constant way to reconnect
with people who have already been here
or who are dreaming of a holiday in
Australia.” - Nick Baker
“If we’ve just had the most beautiful sunny day
and our fans in the UK are just waking up to a
blizzard we can quickly put out a gentle
reminder of what they’re missing out on.”
- Jesse Desjardins
make our stories social
5,284 414 724Karen Fitzgerald - Injalak Hill, Oenpelli, Arnhem Land, NT.
Every post is designed to not only tell a story,
but also to give a story to tell.
On Facebook, for example stories are never
designed just for the 4.1 million fans, they are
also designed to get those current fans
influencing their 457 million other friends.
“The majority of our fans have already been to
Australia or they live here. Social allows us to put
part of a story out there and say ‘here, you build
on it’. If a photo gets shared ten thousand times,
then there are probably ten thousand different
angles to that story being told.”- Jesse Desjardins
Giving people a story to tell
Current fan base
Friends of fans
“A picture just sells it, and because Australia is
globally recognised as being number one for
natural beauty, photos are the best way to show it
off. Social context adds comments and people
saying ‘I’ve been there, I’ve done that.’Then it’s
magic. Through these simple fan photo features
we can have the same reach as a traditional
campaign every day.”- Nick Baker
40,445 1,358 4,915Adventure Photography Whitsunday
In 2012, Tourism Australia launched a Facebook app
that allowed travellers to tap into their own network
of friends for inspiration and ideas to plan and make
the most of a holiday in Australia.
through your friends
The app was the first of its kind in the world.
Not only does it help you choose where in
Australia to go, but also embeds Australia’s
diverse stories in the social context of your
friends who have already been. Making the
travel planning process truly personal.
test & learn
39,857 1,865 7,565Richard Hirst - Winter ice skating in Bondi
“When Google+ launched pages for
brands our first intuition was to repeat
something that worked on Facebook. 3
months into it we had about 30k
followers, which we thought was good.
One day we decided to experiment with
facts about Australia and the
engagement went crazy. In the
following 3 months we grew to over
730k followers. We quickly learned that
every platform has its own rules.”
- Nick Baker
Watch Tourism Australia’s Facebook
page and you’ll see that captions can
be changed several times in the first
instance that a post shows up on the
“It’s not uncommon for us to tweak a
caption on a post a few times once it’s
been published. Within seconds we
started getting feedback from fans
around the world. They tell us very
quickly when we’ve hit the mark and
when we haven’t.” - Jesse Desjardins
28 0 1Eugene Tan - Aquabumps
“Often we’ll let our fans come up
with a caption for our posts. We
can often get several thousand
suggestions from fans all around
the world. Not only is this a great
way to engage, it’s also incredibly
insightful for us to learn from.
The creativity of some of our fans
never ceases to amaze us.”
- Jesse Desjardins
This never-ending influence through social
stories is crucial when it comes to tapping into
the first and last of the five stages of travel:
dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing
the 5 stages of travel
“Our job is conversion. When people are
buying a holiday, there’s a phase when
they go all over the place and are deciding
if they actually want to go on holiday or if
they’d sooner upgrade their bathroom or
buy a new car.” - Nick Baker
Tourism Australia’s research has shown that 24% of
people who see their peer group’s holiday photos are
inspired to go on holiday, while 11% want to go on
exactly the same holiday enjoyed by their friends.
“Holidays are a cherished part of life where people
reconnect and make important decisions. There’s
a virtuous circle at work where post-holiday
sharing steers the next wave of visitors to
Australia who are at the dreaming stage.”
- Nick Baker
“We use all sorts of metrics to track the
success of our platforms and
campaigns. Although likes, comments
and shares give us some indication,
the real value often in social is what
the consumer is telling us and how it
can influence everything else that we
do. One of the best outcomes of our
social media efforts is that we now
globally have access to an incredible
focus group who continue to inspire us
every day.” - Nick Baker
The core social media team splits its
time in 3 focus areas:
•working towards being the world’s most talked
about travel destination globally
•focusing on platform-building instead of one-
off initiatives to expand reach in partnership
with fans and industry partners
•the team spends roughly 30% of its time
working in other business units sharing
insights and expanding the size of the team
throughout the organisation and industry.
“Everyone at Tourism Australia plays a role in our
social media efforts. The biggest mistake for our
small team would be to work in a silo. Through
collaboration there’s almost no limits.”
– Jesse Desjardins
The team’s goal is to show how being open,
collaborative, and, ultimately, having the utmost
confidence in your product, attracts people to
want to advocate on your behalf.
Growing the team
In 2012, China surpassed the UK to become
Australia’s second largest inbound market
after New Zealand.
While Australia has had success in the
western world’s social media platforms, it is
also one of the most followed destination on
Sina Weibo, a microblog used by well over
30% of the Internet population in China.
“Through partnerships with Sina Weibo and
Youku we’re once again having to adapt our
storytelling approach. We’ve found that while
the majority of the world used platforms like
Facebook as an extension of themselves,
consumers in China will often use them to
project an image of themselves. A trip to
Australia is an incredibly popular proposition
which is clearly shown by the amount of
conversation around some of this country’s
natural beauty.”- Nick Baker
123,320 3,830 22,046City of Sydney Embrace 2013! Happy New Year from Australia xxx
Tommy Clarke Photographer - Waiting to start the Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim
to join the team visit:
No one can predict what the future will
hold and how digital platforms will evolve.
But with over 6 million visitors last year,
22 million Australians and the help of the
world’s biggest social media team, we are in
the best possible position to show the
world why There’s Nothing Like Australia.