We're always keen to get different perspectives on comms, especially from overseas. So when one-man social media machine, Helder Goncalves offered us a post we jumped at the chance.
“I Love Porto" is a Facebook page established in February 2012 with the intention of showing the beauty of living in a city as historic but at the same time as contemporary as Porto. The aim was to raise citizens' love for the city we lived in, sharing photographs of some of the most beautiful and iconic locations, such as the amazing Douro River.
This passion around our city was spreading fast in the first few months and this simple Facebook page was already a success in social networks, being in first place of “Travel and Places” in Portugal, accordingly to Social Bakers stats. And it was not only for just a month or two, our followers made us so proud that the stats continued saying “Hey Porto, we love you, we want you to be the best city in the world.” So, we believed in that and started to dream bigger.
Nowadays we count more than 400.000 followers, and a daily interaction that goes far from our first expectations. But it was not only about likes and shares, it was not always about how many followers we could get and how many of them would be able to comment our photos. The real thing starts when you fell so addicted to your city that you just can’t live without it.
About 85% of the “I Love Porto” published photographs are sent to us directly by the followers, which shows the high interactivity that the page has daily. Furthermore, we receive dozens of private messages weekly with requests for low cost accommodation, special tours, the best places to stay for the weekend, unusual stores to visit, restaurants where you can eat the best food, amazing people to know… which we try to answer and direct the best we can. In fact, in the beginning we had the time to reach all the requests so we actually met the tourists at the airport and made our special “I Love Porto” tours, including the best dinner by the sea sunset, getting in touch with the unique Port wine and let them try the Francesinha, our special dish.
In addition to the photographs submitted by the followers and fans of the page, there is also daily news stories about the city, and community discussions about various topics, such as political issues, architectural, cultural and even about how to improve certain aspects of the city of Porto. As the “I Love Porto” page is not related to any political organisation, it's easy, healthy and productive to generate spontaneous solutions to current issues that need quick and effective disclosure. Many cultural events are announced in a clear and simple manner according to the type of followers you have, since the original "I Love Porto" staff keeps the outset.
Since 2012, “I Love Porto” has officially organised two online photography contests, with both professional and amateur photographers and even a party in one of the most iconic night houses of the city to celebrate their 150,000 fans. In the future, “I Love Porto” plans to raise awareness of social responsibility, integrating humanity programs and campaigns in order to engage followers helping local people. There are more than 400.000 real persons with goodwill to help each other and we want to do something about that because the city of Porto is not only about the strange irregular streets or the special grilled fish on Ribeira do Porto. The city of Porto is all about its people and their love of their city.
The way our followers treat us is where we want to be: In Porto, there is always somewhere to be, there is always something to do and someone to see.
Helder Goncalves is comms and social media lead at Matosinhos Council, Portugal
pic via Octavian Rosoaga