Sunshine Coast soars past 100,000 ‘likes’

Sunshine Coast Daily becomes Australia's most popular newspaper Facebook page with more than 100,000 likes.

Sunshine Coast soars past 100,000 ‘likes’Sunshine Coast Daily social media editor Alexia Purcell

A campaign to celebrate region has helped drive the Sunshine Coast Daily’s Facebook page well past the magic 100,000 likes milestone.

The Daily’s Facebook fans have been nominating and voting for their favourite businesses in different Sunshine Coast towns.

As part of the Town Proud campaign, the companies with the most likes make up the top 10 businesses list that runs in the paper the following day.

As a result, the Sunshine Coast Daily Facebook page likes have increased by more than 2000, pushing the page over the 101,000 likes.

APN Australian Regional Media social media co-ordinator Alexia Purcell said the campaign far exceeded her expectations.

“It has gone completely viral. People and businesses are talking about it everywhere, not just on social media,’’ Ms Purcell said.

“I love seeing the hundreds of comments come in on a nomination post. People are really passionate about their town and businesses they have relationships with. That’s part of the reason I love the Sunshine Coast so much.”

Still, reaching the elusive 100,000 likes mark hasn’t been an easy road for the Daily’s Facebook page.

Created in late 2008, the page was originally called the Sunshine Coast.

In the first three years it grew steadily, accumulating more than 54,000 likes in the first three years, followed by a large spike of 28,000 likes in the first six months of 2012.

TOP NEWSPAPER FACEBOOK SITES IN AUSTRALASIA

New Zealand Herald: 136,445
Sunshine Coast Daily: 101,219
Daily Telegraph: 71,237
NT News: 60,232
The Advertiser: 58,665
Sydney Morning Herald: 51,740
Courier-Mail: 48,993
The Age 23,669

APN Australian Regional Media group digital editor Mark Furler attributes some of the 51 per cent increase in likes to major coverage of severe floods in Queensland.

“We used the page as a vehicle for rolling coverage of all three floods. We were posting updates on road closures, rising creek levels and messages from emergency services as they came to hand.

“We also used the page to share and receive flood photos from our Facebook page users,” said Mr Furler, who was the Daily’s editor-in-chief at the time.

Ms Purcell said one of the keys to APN’s Facebook success was changing the way content was being posted.

“Instead of simply posting a link to a story on our websites, we started creating conversations around that item – whether it be a local news story, event write-up or lifestyle piece – or providing a shareable item such as a photo or video,” Ms Purcell said.

As a result, the page’s “talking about this” figure, which measures page engagement, increased by 290 per cent and likes by more than 20,000.

APN’s other Facebook pages also have experienced significant growth in both likes and engagement.

Recent efforts by the Daily’s digital producer Patrick Williams, who is continually using Facebook to connect with his audience, has helped to drive the Sunshine Coast Daily page to become the second most popular newspaper page in the Asia-Pacific region, behind the New Zealand Herald, also an APN product.

*EDIT: Apologies to the NT News who were overlooked in the initial list. Congratulations to the team who have now topped more than 60,000 likes.

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