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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Here come the "Influencers;" St. Petersburg's new social media marketing strategy approved

ST. PETERSBURG — The social media marketing strategy that was met with a chilly City Council reception earlier this year, won approval Thursday. The City Council signed off on Mayor Rick Kriseman’s “Influencer” strategy.

By a 5-2 vote (Council chairwoman Darden Rice wasn’t present), the council approved a $92,500 request to hire “influencers” — people with large social media followings who are paid to visit the city and tweet or post about its economic development and arts and culture.

Council members Amy Foster and Ed Montanari voted against the measure. Council members Charlie Gerdes, Karl Nurse, Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, Steve Kornell and Jim Kennedy voted for it.

The program could begin within six week or so, in the midst of Kriseman’s reelection campaign. His staff have said that the tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts won’t have any political content, but will be aimed at attracting young in-demand workers and investment.

While the region's tourism agencies have long used this strategy to attract visitors, Kriseman said "influencers" will be used to elevate the city's culture and economic development.

Contact Charlie Frago at or (727) 893-8459. Follow @CharlieFrago.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 1, 2017 12:44pm]


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