At the Social Travel Summit in Kitzbuehel back in September last year, one of the discussion topics for the Think Tank was “Crisis Management in the Travel Industry” and how bloggers and influencers have a role to play. (You can download a copy of The Social Travel Summit Think Tank Report here to read the key findings and a summary of this topic.)
Today we are seeing that play out very actively and vividly as local bloggers and influencers in Cape Town help their city and its people prepare for Day Zero, the so-called day when the city’s water supply runs out. For many months now, Cape Town has been experiencing a drought and therefore publicly encouraging better water use and management, while also warning of the imminence of Day Zero happening. As we publish this post, news reports state that Day Zero is estimated to happen in mid-May 2018 and another report says that the city’s main dam is only 12% full. While the government and local authorities have been doing what they can to reduce the unnecessary use of water – and social media has been a big part of this campaign – local bloggers and social media influencers have used their reach to also spread the message as well as offer up their own tips. Many of these posts have been shared using the hashtag #ThinkWaterCT which has hundreds of mentions each day and there are over six million total impressions recorded.
One of the interesting things about the content bloggers and influencers are sharing is that it’s creative, personal and informative. No Ordinary Woman has shared how she uses only 10 litres of water per day, per person in her family – the recommended daily personal use is currently 50 litres – and beauty blogger Lipgloss is my Life shared beauty tips for those in a drought. Lifestyle blogger Caffeine and Fairydust gave her readers a list of things to buy in preparation for Day Zero, and Hospitality Hedonist, a travel and lifestyle blog informed her local readers about Stellenbosch moving to Level 6 water restrictions and explained what that meant. The power of influencers in this scenario is much the same as when we talk about influencers in content marketing; when 70% of people (consumers) trust a friend’s recommendation it’s clear to see how important and effective these personal accounts are on already established blogs where readers already have a connection with the publisher.
Over on Instagram, several local bloggers and influencers have been using their photos and Instagram Stories to remind people of the importance to save water. Food blogger Drizzle & Drip has been sharing the meals she makes without using water, Diana Moss of Miss Moss a design blog frequently reminds her followers to preserve water in her Stories, and style blogger Candice Bresler had some tips and advice for those visiting Cape Town soon. Just yesterday, popular local photographer Kyle Mijlof shared a stunning shot of Cape Town and in the caption he highlighted exactly how a person can use the allocated 50 litres a day.
Social media has also helped Cape Town from afar when a South African woman from a city called East London took to WhatsApp and managed to get over 100 tons of water donated to Cape Town from around the country within a few days. In this article Talita van der Heever explains how she recorded a video of her flushing the toilet and she explained to viewers how this was a sound that would soon disappear from Cape Town. She then sent it out to all her friends saying they had to do something to help Capetonians. The response was instant and spread across the country thanks to people sharing her video across social media.
Local authorities have also been very active in their use of social media to spread the word – by using attractive, shareable images – which have then been shared and amplified across all social networks. Local Cape Town-based blogger The Roaming Giraffe has over 240,000 followers on Twitter and has been regularly re-tweeting public announcements and advice. There has also been some other interesting content being created, like national news channel News 24’s article on the ten good things to have come out of the drought, as well as other bloggers sharing how the current situation has fast-tracked or magnified their focus on sustainable living, as explained in this guest post by a family on local blogger Brett Fish’s site.
While the approach of Day Zero in Cape Town is a real worry for local people and the environment as a whole, it’s been clear that bloggers and influencers have been quick and generous in using their networks and platforms to help. Furthermore, it’s expected that they will continue to play a role in supporting Cape Town as reports already suggest that tourism has been hit by the drought, so local influencers as well as international travel bloggers can help encourage visitors to return – and to consume water responsibly – in the future.