SYDNEY: Despite employing just two people in its social media division, Tourism Australia has developed the largest social media following of any brand in Australia.

Tourism Australia got serious about social with the creation of the hashtag #SeeAustralia, which has helped to amass 7.2 million Facebook fans and a following of 2.3 million people on Instagram.

Empowering everyday Australians to promote their own country online has become an important part of Tourism Australia's social media strategy. (For more on the organisation's social marketing strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: How Tourism Australia turned Aussies into content creators.)

"Every single day on the hashtag #SeeAustralia, we see 2,500 pieces of content," said John Mackenney, General Manager of Digital Transformation for Tourism Australia, who was speaking recently at the ADMA Global Forum.

"It is a phenomenal achievement but it's less about what we are doing as a social team, and more about the power of that community that we've built," he said.

By building a pool of content creators, the tourism body created a platform more powerful – and cost efficient – than if they had produced the content themselves.

"What we now see is there's not one spokesman - there are 24 million Australians who are generally pretty passionate about their country and can sell it better than we can," said Mackenney.

Key to the success of Tourism Australia's content is the brand's ability to get out of the way and let its social media ambassadors take the lead.

"The worst thing that Tourism Australia can do when we're selling the country is to talk about Tourism Australia," said Mackenney.

"I care about Tourism Australia, but people outside don't. They care about their country. They care about travel. Everything we post on our platform is about making someone else the hero," he concluded.

Data sourced from Warc