Skip to main content

Social Media Dublin 2016 – Key Lessons and Insights


Delegates at last week’s Social Media Dublin seminar were treated to a mix of top trends, tips and strategic advice by eight speakers from brands including Paddy Power, Kellogg’s and Dogs Trust. As promised, I’ve developed a blog post review of the top insights and stories from the seminar for anyone who couldn’t make it ……and a refresher for Social Media Dublin delegates!
With so many great stories and insights to share from the day, I’ve spilt the blog post in two parts over the next two weeks. So, here’s part one…

Social Media Dublin 2016

Mixing a Strong Community with Brand Culture and Passion – Paddy Power

Paddy Power are masters of marketing. They have a devastatingly effective approach and strategy to marketing that is founded on firm principles of understanding their audiences inside-out and creating very powerful PR-led content that’s controversial, close to the bone and gets attention fast!
Head of Online Marketing and Customer Intelligence at Paddy Power, Richard Harris revealed how the brand deliver first class social media marketing campaigns using a clever mix of:

Community – a strong community of fans and followers

Brand Culture – Guerrilla marketing approach and their ‘it’s competitive – personality helps’ approach leads to inherently social content

Passion – a genuine passion for sport fuels their controversial, hilarious and wicked commentary on the world of sport.

Paddy Power Social Media

If I was to focus on one piece of advice for connecting effectively with people on social media, it would come down to passion. Many of the really successful brands on social media have a knowledge, love and sometimes obsession for the ‘world’ of their audiences. So for Paddy Power that’s a passion for the football game and sports news – from how badly a team are performing to player injuries,  and commenting on their actions on and off the pitch! Just look at how some of the leading Irish brands and organisations have a passion that drives good content:

  • Centra Ireland – Food, sports and topical content
  • Dog’s Trust – Dogs and Dog welfare
  • Maxol Ireland – Driving, Cars and meals

Why So Much Poor Branded Content?

‘Respect the Network’ is a phrase given by social media practitioners reminding us that social media networks are entertainment platforms where people hang out to connect with friends and family, get new updates and follow their hobbies, passions and interests.

I made the point that ‘social media is an inherently difficult platform for many brands because they have to really think hard about how they will reach and connect with their audiences in a meaningful way. Remember, it’s not YOUR network. Most people will act with indifference, and sometimes with hostility, to your social media marketing, if it’s seen as boring or intrusive’.

There’s so many businesses who feel the best way to connect with people on social media is to produce ‘branded content’ and they end up getting it all wrong. Here’s a recent example from Crocs… and yet another reason not to buy Crocs!

Crocs David Bowie


A Simple Message Delivered with Heart and Soul – Dogs Trust

‘Return on Investment’ on social media is a term that’s increasingly in the minds of marketing units. With tight budgets and strong expectations to raise donations from campaigns, the RoI bar is set particularly high for the Charity sector.

One charity that has excelled at fusing great PR with digital content to promote emotive stories that generate donations is Dogs Trust Ireland. A regular winner at Digital awards they are a great example of how charities can use social media effectively to generate media coverage, talkability and donations.

#CanalDogs really captured the hearts and minds of Ireland. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of the huge level of abandonment of unwanted pet dogs after Christmas. Ciara McGowan, Digital Marketing Manager at Dogs Trust gave a great outline of the campaign which centred on dozens of large cardboard cutouts of dogs placed along the Grand Canal Dublin.

What’s really interesting about the campaign is the viral, organic nature of the huge responses on social media and the impact and momentum given to the campaign by media influencers across Ireland. As Rosin Ingle said “A Simple Message Delivered with Heart and Soul”. Very impressive!

#CanalDogs Social Media


Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should!

Technology and social media are developing at a very rapid pace. Just consider the changes in social media messaging apps in the past few years with the rise of SnapChat and WhatsApp. There’s always the temptation to start embracing the very latest social media as part of your marketing activity. But, ‘Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should!’ When faced with pressure to integrate new or emerging social media networks – think carefully about your ability to reach and connect with your audiences on this network. Always bring it back to marketing fundamentals – where can I best reach my target audiences and can I do this effectively at and for a good price. And that also means reviewing whether social media makes sense as part of your overall marketing.





Leveraging Brand Fans and Influencers for User Generated Content

We all know that digital content, and especially social media content, is resource heavily and difficult for marketing / comms units to generate day-in day-out. Some of the most effective social media campaigns rely heavily on content from brand fans and the public creating User Generated Content (UGC). User Generated Content campaigns rely on positive social content about a product or creative campaign with the big advantages being:

  • Scale: the right campaign online can attract huge numbers of brand fans promoting you online
  • Trust: UGC is more trusted by if it’s been created and shared by peers

At Social Media Dublin I explored how some brands had developed dynamic, UGC based campaigns to encourage influencer and brand fans to create and share content online

  • Maersk: Capitalise on the visual power of their large Shipping liners on the high seas by encouraging UGC from people on the shorelines and their staff across the globe
  • University of Birmingham: The #HelloBrum Campaign involves creating a community based around positive UGC across Birmingham and the University campus

HelloBrum Social Media


Until the next instalment…..

Part Two of the Social Media Dublin – Key Insights Blog Post will be available next week : )

Downloads of the full presentations are available to all delegates of Social Media Dublin via: and entering the password on the delegate packs.