St. Pete looking to pay social media influencers for publicity

St. Pete influencers

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- In St. Pete, there's cool landmarks, a booming downtown, diverse restaurants, and breweries.

Heck, you might even see dolphins on your walk in the park. City officials want everyone to see it.

Kevin Blume plays in a St. Pete-based band. He's on the fence whether tax-payer dollars should go to people paid to Facebook, tweet, snap or Instagram about the city.

“I think it's a good and a bad thing,” he said.

“If you get somebody that has a lot of clout on the internet, has a lot of followers and everything, they can do a great deal to build this community and the outside reaches that we may not necessarily see from here. On the opposite side of that I think that if you don't already have a strong following and strong family here, it doesn't do much. 

City officials unveiled the proposal at Thursday's council meeting. They'll team up with a Tampa branding firm spending $225,000 to market the city. $82,000 of it will go towards expenses with social media influencers.

That’s a lot of your money. Visit Florida has been taking heat after paying musician Pitbull one million dollars to market tourism here.

So we asked St. Pete Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin if spending all that cash really pays off?

“We know because we've done the research that not enough people outside of our market know about St. Petersburg,” she said.

“Not as a great place to visit because that story is out there and these are not tourism dollars, this is an economic development initiative.”  

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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