The #ilovedurban Facebook page and online community has been making waves in Surf City with the Facebook page getting 100 000 “likes”.
The brains behind the initiative are husband and wife Avilash and Praneetha Aniruth.
The entrepreneurs behind Durban digital agency Carver Media South Africa have created the biggest pro-Durban online community in five months, putting the city on the map globally through social media.
The Facebook page’s success has seen the launch of a dedicated website (www.ilovedurban.co.za) and a Twitter account (@ILuvDbn), which has 3 700 followers.
“It was an idea that came to me while I was in New York and I launched the #ilovedurban Facebook page as a pet project, but it has grown into such a great success that everyone is talking about it,” said Praneetha.
“After several trips overseas and having chats with taxi drivers in cities like New York who did not know where Durban was, I decided to do something about it.
“I wanted to use some of our expertise in digital marketing at Carver Media and the growth in social media to put Durban out there.
“We live in a great city and despite its challenges, Durban has huge untapped potential as a destination. We just need to get the message out there,” she said.
The Aniruths launched the Facebook page in April and the campaign has snowballed. Daily pictures of Durban attractions, events and people and marketing material are posted that generate thousands of comments, shares and likes.
“Many people claim to be social media experts these days, but social media is more than posting regularly on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. There is actually a science to it, based on logarithms… For example, when is the best time to post and what are the best words to use to get it more viral,” said Avilash.
After being involved in the electronics business, he saw an opportunity to get into website design and development and launched Carver Media 11 years ago. It was one of the first Durban companies involved in website development and has increased its services to include mobile app development and social media services such as Facebook marketing.
The social media side of the business is garnering more interest, and new clients include the Beverly Hills Hotel, Airports Company of South Africa and Spiga restaurant.
“When we started Carver Media, we aimed for it to become a cutting edge digital agency… We have done over 10 000 websites and have clients around South Africa and even globally. We started with just two people, but today employ 35 staff in Durban, San Francisco and India,” Avilash said.