Irish Social Media Experts – The Present and the Future

I interviewed some people I follow on social media and asked them a few short questions about how they use social, what they like and what’s coming next.

These were the people that got back to me:

What do you think you do well on digital/social?

Val Robus, Magnum Lady: Over the last year or so I’ve run a couple of campaigns to promote the North West of Ireland. It was mainly sharing photos but also bits of news about businesses, people, events, etc. I got a great response from it and I was really pleased with how it all went.

Martin O’Connor, UCC Library: I think we manage to inject personality into our accounts and present the library as an informative, authoritative and fun place to be. Being both of these is important to us. I feel that social media needs to have a personality. Bland corporate accounts are missing a trick I feel.

Cian Corbett, AIB: We use Social Media to humanise the AIB brand to build stronger relationships reminding customers of the positive role that AIB plays in their lives.

Jason Kieran, Houses of the Oireachtas: Our news updates are our bread and butter as such, but we get more traction on lighter content. The Seanad General Elections are always the best content we push out every few years in relation to impressions although it’s to a small number of stakeholders and to a minute audience. We get to be a little free with the type of language used in responses to queries and information requests.

Sean Lally, Hotel Woodstock: Express our personality not afraid to stand out from the crowd through our social media and follow the advice from “The Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. Convert sales from our social media strategy in all areas of the business because of the raised profile of the Hotel. Harness the social media to win awards and improve our PR and publicity for the Hotel and customer awareness

Peter Collins, Academy Plaza: We are not focusing a lot on social media and aside from Tick Tok the bits we do are poor-ish. TikTok is gone quite as the staff doing it went to different departments and are kept busy. Our sales person is dabbling in SM but is not expert or great at content generation. Communication on our brand message is consistent

Who do you think is great on digital/social and why?

Cian Corbett: Ryanair have really lead the way on Tik Tok perfectly joining trending conversations while remaining true to their irreverence and brand identity. I love TG4 on Twitter too – the tone and nuance is always perfect.

Val Robus: TG4 – always brightens my day.
Taryn de Vere – her campaign of dressing as household objects was the content that we all needed in January (and I want to be as cool as she is).
Spiderworking – Amanda Webb – her insights into all things social media are great.
Zwartbles – Farming, photos, and more.
Katia (Properfood) – an amazing cheerleader for the Irish food industry.
BrodHiggins – I can never see enough dog photos

Martin O’Connor: I’m going to stick to other library accounts on Twitter (which is where
is much of the library world spends its social media time) @UoYLibrary @OrkneyLibrary
@britishlibrary @RHUL_Library I like these accounts as they are informative and fun – they seem to
have a personality and I can imagine they would be fun to hang out with.

Jason Kiernan: I like companies that can have a bit of humour within their content while keeping it professional. It’s a fine line, it can go wrong! TG4 seems to get it right, but I’m not sure RTÉ would get away with it! The team (or team of one) has got it just right for its audience

Peter Collins + Phelim Connolly: Maldron Hotel Parnell are doing good on Facebook, regular posts and local community engagement catches my eye. @MaldronParnell Love him or hate him Cllr Oisin O’Connor often has clever tweets @OConnorOisin – Gone quite recently but @aaroadwash also had interesting tweets.
Video content- Lovin Dublin is very good,

Sean Lally: Ryanair for constantly pushing the boundaries and been quick to react to current affairs. Tony Robbins for his motivation and positivity

Market trends. Noticing anything?

Martin O’Connor: Trends – we are finding that Facebook is becoming not worth the time. Twitter is still our go to as a Library – librarians and libraries love Twitter. It is our platform. But Instagram engagement is way up for us – our students are really engaging with us there. But still mostly for the more fun posts as opposed to the informative authoritative posts. Instagram is going to be worth more time investment by us – we probably need to tweak our content slightly to make it the best we can. It is definitely worth the effort.

Cian Corbett: In my opinion, Tik Tok has changed the pace of communications on social. This puts the onus on Marketers to get comfortable capturing video content that should compete with the style and tone of native content creators which can be a challenge. I see engagement dropping on Facebook as younger audiences spend their time on Tik Tok so it’s worth having a healthy media mix with a few platforms.

Val Robus: Facebook is dying. My blog page was doing really well but it’s gone very quiet in recent weeks. My tiktok is struggling too. It’s hard to get reach on some of these platforms.
Twitter has always been my favourite for engagement. Instagram is ticking along, but nothing wild.

Jason Kiernan: We use live streaming as part of our strategy to push out Oireachtas TV. Twitter has got it right, they purchased Periscope and have invested in how the backend works and it works very well! Facebook, although trying to give Twitch a run for its money re game streaming their backend platform continues to be problematic!

FB audience is falling for us. The audience has also changed re the type of comments, it really has turned into a middle aged complaints board!

LinkedIn is increasing for us… why I’m not sure!

Peter Collins + Phelim Connolly: Unfortunately not that active on SM for business or pleasure. Would use/read Twitter daily and snack on some facebook groups and use the messaging functions for guests responses. We turned off Google Business Messaging as we weren’t well placed to respond 24/7 and often our user directed queries to email which was a backward step.
Facebook- great interface, easy to upload, easy to create posts, and ads. Instagram- hard to upload stories, tiktok is addictive, easy to create attractive video with limited content

Sean Lally: Constant change in the social media channels all trying to copy each other’s best practice not to lose market share can be hard to keep up with the changes here

Facebook is very positive for us, but we are conscious that it is falling with its popularity and Tik Tok is rapidly gaining market share

LinkedIn has had got a huge reaction on my personal account as the social media strategy is very different for this platform which is usually very business focussed and people seem to like this new approach

Where should we focus?

Jason Kiernan: If you are not using reels, stories or short videos you are not listening to your audience! Video still continues to lead the way. Twitter should have spent time and effort on Fleets… I miss them!

Cian Corbett: I know it’s not the most exciting answer but I always recommend research and measurement. Learn what your audience wants, what role can your brand play in their timeline. And then measure the impact – do you audience like seeing your content or are you just shouting into the void?

Val Robus: Twitter. For sure.
People say they don’t know how to use it. I always treat it as a coffee shop. If someone talks to you, reply (unless they are bots).
Join in with conversations and make connections.
You don’t know who is watching.

Martin O’Connor: Our focus for now will really remain on Twitter and Instagram. But we are scanning the social media horizon to see what else would work well for us. I’m curious to see how other libraries and other educational institutions use TikTok. I’m watching that space carefully.

Peter Collins/ Phelim Connolly: Helping business with organic engagement and posts v’s pure Look at our product aren’t we great type posts which are not that interesting.
Strong interface API allows for quick answer and reduces time wasting

Sean Lally: Video is so important in getting your message across and we see this area growing which is where we are strong and we work with an excellent videographer Dom McCarthy who brings so much to the table with his skillset

Get your personality across on the video as people buy people in business and sales and this has really worked for us at Hotel Woodstock

What else should I have asked?

Peter Collins/Phelim Connolly: Do you see a good ROI on Social Media posts & engagement, which channels do you use and what is the frequency of use.

How long is the attention span of the youth of tomorrow? Answer-less than that of a goldfish !!

Cian Corbett: Does your social media strategy actually do what you want it to do? Take time to think about what objective you want to achieve. Social Media is great at completing a task so you should think carefully about what task you are giving it. Are you Driving Awareness, Building Engagement, Increasing Conversion, Driving Traffic, Generating Leads? Choose your objective and then build your strategy and resist ‘doing social on the fly’. Map out your destination and then plan your route to get there.

Martin O’Connor: Why do you invest the time in social media that you do? And is it worth it? Where do you plan to go next with your social media? Would you have any advice for those looking to tweak their social media game?

Jason Kiernan: What is the next new thing? Can there be something new? There are only so much affordances within platforms as they are, what will be the next BIG thing? I really don’t know.

Sean Lally: Where do you see the future of digital for the hospitality industry ?

At the moment we see the most important medium been videos across all social channels and we feel Tik Tok has been the main driver of this and companies need to embrace this as in the Hotel industry you see very few Hotels really working this platform as it is not the normal type of marketing but you need to constantly push the boundaries when it comes to digital marketing and stand out from the crowd.