Reasons to Love Long Beach cultivates community through social media
November 12, 2020
Whether it’s featuring a small business, organizing a beach cleanup, showing some local history or calling out local political injustices to viewers, Reasons to Love Long Beach is cultivating community through their Instagram page @reasonstolovelongbeach.
Originally the page was started almost a decade ago by Wes Boyce as a platform to showcase the local nightlife scene, the page promoted alternative events including shows, bar specials, events – but that was put to a halt once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
A stay-at-home order was put in place and all nightlife events were canceled while bar and venue locations were forced to shut down.
Although the account has evolved since the last decade, the premise is still the same.
“It’s promoting the rad people and rad businesses that we have here in our city,” Nichole East said, now one of the current main content curators for the RTLLB page.
East who was producing local history segments known as “Let’s Learn Some Sh*t” for the past three years on the page, brought on her friend and former coworker Surya Pinto, to assist in curating new content.
The two met while working together in Orange County and became friends. However, they both ended up leaving what became a toxic work environment for them.
With both having art and marketing backgrounds, East being experienced with event production and coming from the tattoo industry and Pinto being knowledgeable in project management and having a background in art, they decided to propose marketing ideas to several Long Beach businesses. They proposed ideas to over 150 businesses, to no avail.
“It was hard, we were kind of like, going through it,” Pinto said.
Right as they were on the verge of finally securing a marketing job with a cannabis company, the Black Lives Matter movement mobilized in the City of Long Beach.
The duo decided they needed to drop the job and instead focus on the community.
“We’re here for the cause, we’re putting everything into serving our community right now,” East said, recalling their mindset.
Five months later they continue to put as much energy into promoting their community.
A typical day of running the RTLLB page will consist of planning, researching, producing content and engaging with viewers, sometimes up to 16 hours a day, and without any pay.
Although they manage to push out daily content seamlessly, a lot goes into the production of their storytelling.
“What am I curating? What are the scenes? What is the B-roll? What is the footage? What is the story,” Pinto said.
Aside from that, they also have to evaluate the potential impact a story has on the community.
“How is it serving our community? What do we want the takeaway to be,” Pinto continued.
The featured stories vary, ranging from Long Beach’s history to small business features, local politics, how to’s and more.
Running the page with over 16,000 followers does take a mental toll, but East and Pinto have been seamlessly tag-teaming for the last eight months of the pandemic.
“What keeps us going is seeing the reaction and the engagement of the people that are on our page”, East said. “When we do these calls to action, people show up.”
Examples include the multiple local businesses and GoFundMe’s they’ve shared and the beach clean-ups and marketplaces they’ve organized that many supporters have attended.
Predominantly showcased on Instagram, the team running the RTLLB page makes no profit out of the page. They are simply driven by the love for the community. However, that same love doesn’t pay the bills.
With the uncertainty of unemployment checks as they come to an end in December, East and Surya began selling merchandise last month. Featured products include apparel such as tanks, t-shirts, facemasks, and novelty items such as nug jars and stickers all featuring their classic Reasons to Love Long Beach logo.
“That’s the first time that we’ve ever gotten any money for anything,” Pinto said.
They are also set to officially launch their website, reasonstolovelongbeach.org , designed by Long Beach local David Calderon, where they will have a map and a community calendar.
The Locals Only Map is meant to consist of locally owned businesses in Long Beach, and the Community Calendar will be open to anyone submitting a community event such as protests, clean-ups, outdoor markets and pop-up shops.
After submitting events onto the website, they will also be promoted on the RTLLB channel.
Essentially the process will be a tool, “Not only to the community but to the hustlers and organizations and businesses because now your stuff will be promoted on a channel which is directly targeted towards Long Beach locals that are riding for this city,” Pinto added.
Their overall goals with the website are to not only cultivate a sense of community in Long Beach and make it accessible to as many people as they can but to become the go-to for everything Long Beach related.
“We genuinely with all of our being are like, ‘how can we help? What can we do with our experience? With our strategic way of thinking, with the way we can coordinate events, and the way we can create essentially strategic partnerships, what can we do with all of that that will still give back to our city, because we’ve been doing all of this with zero dollars,” Pinto said.
“We’re here for whatever Long Beach needs,” ended East.
To support Reasons to Love Long Beach, visit their new website reasonstolovelongbeach.org and follow them on their official Instagram page @reasonstolovelongbeach. You can also support them through their Patreonand by buying their merchandise.