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Social Media Belfast 2017: Key Insights – Part Two


Social Media Belfast 2017 Paul McGarrity


Social Media Belfast 2017 featured key speakers from top brands and organisations across Ireland. In part two of my coverage I’ve focussed on main points and top social media tips from Pinterest, Tayto and The Department for Infrastructure.


Elly Hunter: Marketing Director at Tayto – Growing Your Brand and Increasing Sales on Social Media

Tayto’s marketing faces the duel challenge of having to compete and win in a highly challenging business environment and at a time of rapid changed in the media environment.

The Tayto Group has a diverse portfolio of brands from the iconic Northern Ireland brand – Tayto crisps – through to premium crisp and popcorn products in the UK market.

Elly Hunter gave a hugely informative overview of how the Group utilises social media as part of its marketing activity beginning with the main advantages of using social media effectively including:

  • Cost effective
  • Provides instant feedback
  • Huge reach potential
  • Helps builds relationships
  • Shows brand personality

However there are undoubtedly some challenges to using social media including the level of time that’s required to allocate to it and the need to develop and post creative and varied content.

Elly explained that the content strategy for Tayto was based on a number of themes including PR, products, local events, fan pics, seasonal content and campaigns.

Public Relations 

Great PR opportunities often go hand-in-hand with great social media use and Tayto has been adept at promoting its PR ideas on social media. One of the stand out examples was the recent ‘Tayto Cheese and Onion Cologne’ PR stunt released on their social media channels on April Fool’s Day. The story was hugely successful, gaining a reach of over 500,000 on social media and leveraging significant  editorial coverage across radio, TV and print.



The promotion of products via social media can be a double-edged sword for brands, some of whom may be ignored for being too sales-orientated. Tayto undoubtedly benefits from its strong brand loyalty and customer relationships by using social media to gain positive exposure for new product lines.

The power of social media to support conversations with customers even led to the revival of an old Tayto favourite – High Fives. In 2016 , so many people took to social media to ask Tayto to bring back the High Fives brand that Tayto did just that.

Fan Pics

Strong brand loyalty also served as the basis for great social media content in the form of user-generated content by customers. Customers posing with Tayto packs and brand merchandise across the globe is posted regularly on social media feeds giving value to Tayto of having people promote  the brand to their family and friends on social.

Tayto fans on social media

Creative Campaigns

Social media was the perfect media channel to promote and gain engagement for the Tayto ‘Taste of Home’ campaign. The campaign centred on allowing the public to decide on the their top new locally inspired flavours including ‘Ulster Fry’, ‘Fifteens’, ‘Champ’, ‘Vegetable Roll’, ‘Curry Chip’ and ‘Brown Lemonade’ and was promoted extensively via Facebook.

Smart media partnerships with Tourism NI and Cool FM also underpinned the huge campaign reach – highlighting the power of PR and third-party media support in social media campaigns.

In the end the winning flavours (because I know you want to know….) were: Ulster Fry in first position, followed by Curry Chip and Vegetable Roll in third place.

The campaign was a huge success resulting in:

  • Over 500,000 packs of the Taste of Home limited editions sold in just 5 weeks
  • 30% increase in impulse buys of Tayto crisps
  • Five hold increase in online crisp sales


Pinterest: Frederique Hugonet



One of the leading social media networks, Pinterest is essentially an online pin-board that allows people to curate visual multi-media images and save them to boards.

Just as you may have kept a scrapbook as a child or posted visual images of food ideas and recipes on your kitchen pin board, you can create online themed boards on Pinterest and add relevant visuals content to it. So, for instance, you might be planning a city break and want to build a board about the city stuffed full of images on the top cultural attractions, maps, local food and drink and tips from experts etc. Users on Pinterest can also interact with each other through liking, commenting on and ‘re-pinning’ each other’s content.

(Link: If you’re a Pinterest novice – find out more about the network via this great introductory guide )

Pinterest on Mobile

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networking sites and boasts a user base of 160 million people across the globe. Businesses that want to reach and influence people searching for content can post content on Pinterest mainly aimed at people researching on the network to source ideas.

Partnerships Manager at Pinterest, Frederique Hugonet, explained the success of the site being attributable to helping people discover great visuals based on what they love – especially around the areas of home décor, beauty, travel, food and fashion.

Key to understanding the network was the aspirational nature of the content and how people used it. Whereas content on Facebook and Instagram was mostly based around events and news that had already happened, Pinterest is used by people to research and plan – from seasonal recipes to travel experiences. As such they are much more open to new ideas and inspiration. Indeed, such is the research based nature of Pinterest use that the site is much more productive at driving traffic to  retailers websites than Facebook (Pinterest at 10.9% vs. Facebook at 5.3%) according to Experian Marketing Services.
Frederique also gave advice for business seeking to use the site as part of their marketing, “Pins are ideas – so make sure your content is:

  • Helpful: People come to Pinterest to discover new ideas to improve their lives, so be helpful by offering them tips, advice or instructions in addition to showcasing your product.
  • Beautiful: Pinterest is a visual platform with 75% of content coming from business – make sure they are professionally shot.
  • Actionable: The ideas that people find on the network are intended to be done in real life so make it easy for someone to take action on your brands ideas.

For the latest stats on Pinterest use:


Brídín Beckett: Promotion and Outreach Manager, Dept for Infrastructure

Hard-hitting awareness and education campaigns have been a staple of road safety advertising for many decades. And over the past decade, road deaths in the UK have declines by nearly 50%, in part due to successive road safety campaigns.

As the media environment has changed rapidly in the past decade, road safety units need to communicate powerful and emotionally charged messages across a very wide range of media.

Brídín Beckett, set out how the Dept. for Infrastructure utilises core digital marketing including social media, email, and digital advertising along with TV, radio and print to deliver their message on drink-driving, mobile use and anti-speeding.

Road Safety NI

Males aged between 17-24 were a core focus for road safety campaigns as they are much more likely to crash than older drivers. In fact, according to Brake the Road Safety Charity,  drivers aged 17-19 only make up 1.5% of UK licence holders, but are involved in 9% of fatal and serious crashes where they are the driver.

Effective use of social media is critically important for reaching and influencing the young males demographic. The Department relied strongly on key social channels including Facebook, Twitter and You Tube which are well-suited to promoting versions of their powerful and hard-hitting road safety broadcast adverts. Specific tactics on social media included the use of Facebook boosted posts to widen the reach and micro-target key audiences, as well as daily organic posts on road safety issues.

Social media often reflects the views, sentiments and discussions in society and as such can present a challenge to organisations. Brídín highlighted the conflicting views and attitudes around the issue of road biker safety on their Facebook posts. Indeed, social media can become the focal point for discussions and disagreements on contentious issues in society. While some organisations may find this uncomfortable, it’s a reality of social media use, particularly for government related organisations but it can be managed as long as the conversations are monitored and moderated.

Finally, Brídín Beckett set out four key social media insights gain from their campaigns:

  • The quality of content is very important and can be costly
  • The amount of followers is no indication of reach or success
  • Social media plays an essential role in the overall communications strategy
  • Social Media does not work in isolation