Business Irish

Saturday 23 September 2017

Take five with... The man behind Paddy Power’s social media accounts

Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

On day one of the Social Media Summit, independent.ie caught up with Mícheál Nagle, head of social and digital content at Paddy Power.

How do you decide what events to focus on? With something like the Cheltenham Festival does Paddy Power put a huge effort into its advertising campaign or do you just know that you will get a large volume of business regardless?

“Cheltenham and Christmas are the biggest weeks of the year for us every year, we start planning for something like Cheltenham a long ways out. We have monthly and weekly planning meetings and talk about how we are going to run the marketing campaign.”

The Paddy Power ads are so different and yet the one thing that they all have in common is a huge visual Paddy Power logo. How do you manage to bring the focus back to the brand?

“From a Paddy Power point of view we try to set the agenda ourselves. Now obviously we piggy back on certain stories, but we want people taking about Paddy Power. We want people saying ‘have you seen that ad or that video that Paddy Power did?’ we don’t want people saying ‘have you seen that video of the funny cat?’, that drives brand awareness and brand affinity. It is important that we push the brand with strong logos and strong imagery that people associate with Paddy Power.”

Would you have a lot of people on your team? How do you start planning for big campaigns?

“On my team we have the social team who create all the content for twitter, Facebook, snapchat, etc. Then there is the blog team who write all our content, for example this year for Cheltenham we had people like Ruby Walsh and Mick Fitzgerald on the blog team who would appear to the hard core racing punters who want information on betting and what they should be better on.”

“We have people like the footballer Charlie Austin taking about Cheltenham how would appear more to people would only have a bet maybe once a year and who like football.

Mícheál Nagle Credit: Twitter
Mícheál Nagle Credit: Twitter

"When it comes to social media, both sides start planning months in advance. We start with top line ideas, what we want to achieve, what our KPIs are. We are doing more and more snapchat and video stuff now. Two of our biggest KPIs this year for Cheltenham were video, for example we had the video with Ruby Walsh, ‘Ruby’s Revenge’ with Paddy – it did much better than we expected it to do.

"Ruby always talks about twitter trolls and how jockeys get lots of abuse on twitter so we thought it would be funny for him to confront someone who wrote a mean tweet. It was really popular, it got 4m views across all platforms.”

Do you think sponsoring a jockey is a conflict of interest for Paddy Power?

“I can understand how people might think that but

I think people are living on a different planet if they actually think that Ruby Walsh who is a huge name, a huge public figure, is going to do anything that would call his name into question.

If you actually read stuff he does with us he never has a go at other jockeys or other trainers, he doesn’t actually give tips, he says every horse has a good shot.

“In other sports we tend to try pick people who are retired because they are more inclined to have an opinion. For football this year we have Paul Ince and Didi Hamann and they have got us a lot of PR because they have forthright opinions and are willing to talk about players who they played with and give an opinion. “

What advice would you give to a company starting up their social media campaign?

Small businesses should try and focus on one platform and do well.

"There is no point trying to stretch yourself across multiple social platforms and do them all half-heartedly, you are better off focusing on one platform and doing it really well. And obviously different platforms are suited to different industries and different businesses.

"If you are a fashion brand Instagram will work well, if you are an accountant putting pictures of spreadsheets up on Instagram isn’t really going to work so something like twitter might make more sense.

Know your tone of voice and your brand personality.

"From the get-go defining what that is going to be. Paddy Power on social is known for having a mischief and fun tone of voice. Everything we do on social media is kind of mischief and fun so people know what our brand is like straight away.”

Has there been any stand out lesson that you have learnt?

“You have to put the work in.

There is no quick fix for social media, you can’t dip in and our here and there, sending the odd tweet. A lot of it is about hard work, constantly being on and driving engagement, engaging with people, and driving contact with people.”

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