The Ticket A Day Giveaway. Bringing the online, offline.

27 Sep

The DCUSU Summer Ball is the biggest night in the social calendar of DCU student life. However, with no headlining act secured in time and very little time (and money!) to kick-off a worthwhile campaign on-campus, creating hype to sell tickets brought its challenges. On the 16th of April, a Facebook campaign was launched with “The Ticket A Day Giveaway” competition.


Competition Mechanics

Offer: Two free tickets to the DCUSU Summer Ball 2012 – Ibiza Rocks

Entry: Share the event advert on Facebook.

Campaign Name: The Ticket A Day Giveaway. The competition ran from April 16th – 20th, giving away x5 pairs of tickets in total.


The Ripple Effect

Within minutes, students began to share the event advert. After 37minutes, 109 students had already shared and 14 students “liked” the competition post.

From the immediate engagement the competition share received, it was then decided to bring the online, offline.  Instead of creating new adverts/copy, posters were designed to resemble the Facebook competition share as opposed to an “Ibiza Rocks” creative, which was originally planned. We distributed over 200 of the below posters across campus, encouraging student to take a picture with their smart phone and share it on Facebook to win free tickets. The posters were also a way of setting reminders for students to “share” the original competition post on Facebook. This was a strategic effort at integrated marketing communications – providing a unified-student focused message both on and offline.


I remember feeling that this campaign was unique in the sense that instead of integrating social media into the marketing mix, we integrated other forms of marketing into the social media activity. Social media led and other types of marketing followed. The Facebook competition was our way of spreading valuable content and experiences onto student’s profiles as well as into their offline environments. I think the success of this campaign comes down to the fact our promotional offer felt natural and convenient for students. It was an exclusive social media offer but then how to access the competition went on to be published and promoted in emails and posters.


The success of the DCUSU Summer Ball 2012 Facebook campaign resonated both on and offline with 834 shares in total and the event itself selling out over a 3-day period. I learned that the Facebook activity became a major factor in influencing various aspects of consumer behavior including awareness of the event, information acquisition, opinions, attitudes, purchase behavior and post-purchase communication and evaluation.


The awareness generated online was largely related to the sell-out as it created an urgency, a hype that was user-generated.  The students of DCU did the work. The impact of consumer-to-consumer communications was instrumental in the promotional efforts to sell the summer ball. The competition allowed us to influence and shape the discussions of the students in a manner that was consistent to the SU’s mission and performance goals – selling out the Summer Ball.  The students of DCU became our advocates and they made the sale to their friends and peers who witnessed their activity online. The Students’ Union social media is therefore a hybrid component of the promotional mix integrated for future campaigns.



The ‘Twitter’ Games “May the odds be ever in your favor”.

27 Sep

Success on Twitter can boil down to having a lot of time on your hands and a little bit of luck. There are techniques and procedures that work but I feel from my own experience that creativity and flexibility form integral parts of any successful campaign. Adopting a suitable tone is first and foremost. Initially my personal tone was robotic because I was tweeting links to articles relating to just digital marketing. Similarly, the students’ union tone was “tell-tell-tell”. This approach didn’t work and it wasn’t until we opened up conversations with followers that we began to witness true engagement and cultivate a large following. In my opinion, twitter is useful for a brand/organization’s news or promotion but it’s real value lies in the sense of identity it can create for brands. Twitter accounts can be the voice and personality for a lot of organisations. For this reason, in the students’ union, we decided to define how we sounded. Imagine someone talking really passionately about what they do– that is how we sound. When we incorporated this excited, clear and friendly tone into our tweets – students felt comfortable talking back. 


Try the following: 


1) Engage a celebrity


Niall Breslin, commonly known as Bressie is an Irish musician and former Leinster rugby player. He found success as the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter with pop band The Blizzards and as a co-writer and producer with 19 Entertainment. He is an avid twitter – user with over 40,000 followers. I interviewed Bressie back in September as an exclusive for the students of DCU who were attending his gig on campus that night. As I had just set up my blog for CDM, I decided to reflect on the interview and blog on what I “really” thought of Mr. Breslin. Bressie was obviously alerted by this post and tweeted about my “poor judge of character” as a college “journo”. Without stating any names, it was clear the tweet was directed at me. I replied apologizing for the offence caused, not expecting a response. But he responded, quite aggressively, which had all sorts of repercussions. Other celebs, students and friends jumped to my defense and took on Bressie in the debate of my “gutter journalism”. Between Mr. Breslin’s large follower base and MJ Tierney’s advocacy my online influence took off. As stated by influence expert Gillin, P. (2011), “Target the influencers, and you can move a crowd” I like to think of this day as my Twitter debut. 

  • Within hours my followers rose from 101 to 206.
  • My Klout score doubled from 19 – 39 (before the new algorithm)


2) Pick your topics


Information exchange is the primary reason that people use Twitter. Educating followers is therefore critical.

(Malhorta et al. 2011)


Initially, I only tweeted about the topic of Digital Marketing (DM). It was the only reason at the time I was using Twitter.  However, as my followers started to drop with every DM post – I knew things had to change. Digital Marketing wasn’t personal enough. I was beginning to sound like a robot and prompted no engagement. I uprooted my original strategy and started tweeting about other topics of genuine interest such as Public Relations, The Arts, ShowBiz, Fashion, Innovation, Technology and Student Life. These posts prompted a significant change in my Twitter activity. To illustrate this I tweeted “celeb couples tweeting “their” love for eachother really is sad!! Can you not just text? We really don’t care. #rant”


3) Social Causes (and Free Stuff!)


“Attention is a tougher currency to come by in this medium than in other media, given the millions of tweets sent and received each day”.

(Malhorta et al. 2011)


As part of the Alcohol Awareness Week, students were encouraged to tweet responsible drinking messages using the #AAW12 hash tag to be in with a chance of winning an iPad 2. We projected the live feed of tweets on to a projection screen in the Nubar to encourage students to drink responsibly and to raise awareness for Alcohol Awareness Week. Interaction on Twitter was immediate. Tweets, like these that highlight social causes resonate with followers and are more likely to be retweeted than the average tweet. (Malhorta et al. 2011) From this campaign, it was clear that students wanted to align themselves with a social cause they believed in and with the companies that support the cause such as and Through retweeting, Twitter users can draw more attention and support for the causes they believe in. 


Looking back, I’d approach a few areas differently. I’d invest a lot more time into the consistency of my tweets both from the students’ union account and my own personal account. I managed both accounts in bursts as opposed to consistent engagement. I would have utilized tools like Hootsuite more, where it is possible to schedule tweets. As research suggests (Smart Insights 2012), twitter activity amongst general users peaks at particular times; I’d schedule a tweet to go out mid-morning, midday, just before 5pm and between 7 and 9pm.  The DCUSU account operated almost exclusively during regular office hours. However, when you think about it, students don’t stop being students at 5pm every weekday. In fact, most student problems arise in the evening when they are studying or looking for entertainment on campus. I missed a huge opportunity to engage the student body of DCU by signing off at 5pm. I ignored all the followers who are online in the evenings, who are most likely to be at home, thus, possibly more responsive to out of hour messages than during the day while they’re at lectures. (Smart Insights 2012).

Another approach I’d take is to follow people back. Currently, @dcusu has 981 followers but only follows 366. This looks bad and sends out totally the wrong message. Considering the type of organization the students’ union is, it is important that we utilize Twitter to listen and engage with people, rather than just to pump out our own messages. Also, over the academic year the dcusu twitter account evolved into a help and support tool for students – almost like customer service. By following back, students have the ability to DM the union details of a personal nature as opposed to sending them out in a publicly viewable tweet. 

All Things Big in the Real World Can Start Small Online With Facebook Advertising

16 Mar


Most university students treat Facebook as an authentic part of their lives. Facebook advertising is a key asset to any student – focused campaign as you can target exact demographics. There is a very useful feature that enables you to target by specific workplaces or universities.

We had a budget of €150.00 which looking back wasn’t enough. I suggest you start with at least €200. I say this because with less than that, I doubt you will be able to gather enough actionable data to make educated decisions on creative, landing page optimization and testing.

The “likes” on the Students’ Union FB page grew from 4,931 – 4,999.  It seems the majority of the competition entrants had already “liked” the page. However, the campaign wasn’t about increasing likes. It was about spreading a responsible drinking message. The Facebook comp and adverts made a small but substantial impact.

Of the Facebook users who were directed to the DCU Students’ Union Facebook Page from the ads 16% became qualified leads and actively express interest in the competition by visiting the competition page. The entire campaign had a 8.7% conversion rate with 240 students entering the competition as a result of the adverts.

Like they say, all things big start little. 🙂

LinkedIn for Final Year Students and New Graduates

17 Nov

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for those of you entering the workforce. It is the premier social media platform for connecting people in the working industry. Final years need to board this platform immediately. LinkedIn will help you create new connections, strengthen existing relationships and position yourself as a thought leader that will provide you with leads and employment opportunities. 

Here are 5 tips for Linking IN:

1) Upload a professional picture. You know what they say “a picture says more than 1000 words”. As a young adult it is particularly  important you appear professional and respectable to potential employers. The first thing they’ll do is look at your picture. Organise a professional picture to be  taken of you. It is worth the money. Or why not get on to the photographic students in you college and ask them to take it for you. Either way it’s of extreme importance.

2) Employers are impressed by education but what really stands out are your – in the words of google are your  – “Googly points” Highlight these. Give these as much space and attention as other sections on your profile.

3) Pick your area of influence. Even though you might not have industry experience you have developed your own area of expertise from your studies. So whether it’s Communications, Business or Science, identify your professional area of influence. This is half the battle.

4) Join groups relevant to your “area” and LISTEN. Aim to join 10 that you will actively engage in. Read discussions. Listen to what your target employers are saying about the industry. Identify niches and upcoming trends. Soak in all this information. Develop your own opinions and thoughts.

5) Start discussing. Don’t be afraid to question. As a young adult, your opinions are valid. You have goods to bring to the table. So bring them and ask for insights in return. Select users that have you “dream job” and request connections. You have the ability to discuss even if you’re not experienced.

#LinkedIN #SM #DigitalMarketing

Reflecting The Digital in The Traditional for Irish Consumer PR

14 Nov

Irish Consumer PR practitioners can’t deny the feeling of pure satisfaction when their client receives national coverage. Job done right? You’ve done it. You’ve accomplished the main goal. National coverage in a national paper. However, what if your client is a young adult brand and if I told you that “we” don’t read papers that much. It doesn’t matter if Georgia Salpa is in a bikini or Enda is grinning down a camera lense, the reality is, we don’t read the caption. Unless it’s an article of extreme importance, young people don’t care enough for text. Why would we browse a paper and read news on a new product launch when we could be on Facebook checking out a friend’s new profile pic or what Mary had to say about her new job. Frankly, we want to be where our friends are. So unless the photocall is so interesting that we want to tweet about it or share it with our friends, we won’t engage with what you’re trying to communicate. Why put in all that hard work for something we’re just going to skim over? Ultimately the message of your client is lost. It’s in the paper, great! But if it’s not in our social graphs it’s not enough anymore.

My Tips for Keeping Traditional Methods Digital :

1) Nice photocalls are boring.Client’s shy away from this all the time but BE BOLD and controversial.

2) Be different. Irish Photocalls and PR Articles are so predictable. Come up with something completely new that the Irish public haven’t even considered before.

3) Regionally, use local people for pictures. There is nothing more worth sharing than a pic of Johnny down the road if he’s in the paper.

4) Pull don’t push. Create a dialogue even in your traditional methods of PR. People will share everything that can be shared these days so tapp into that when deciding on your concept.

5) Ask yourself, would you share this article? Would it provoke a post or tweet? If not, it’s back to the drawing board I’m afraid.

Interviewing Bressie….

3 Oct

Part of my job entitles me to  interview acts that perform at the DCU Student Events. My first interview this year was with Ireland’s new solo artist and ex – Blizzards frontman – Bressie. Bressie walked into my office with a unique air of confidence. He slouched down comfortably into the arm chair and participated in some rugby small talk with my male – colleagues. As I prepped my recording equipment I couldn’t help but notice how sound and down to earth he was. Having graduated in UCD and played rugby for Leinster – Bressie is your ultimate man’s man.

However, from my very first question – Bressie was not afraid to hold back. I asked : Who would be the first person you’d invite to your birthday? He replied :

Kerry Katona, So I could tell her to F**K off when she got there.

It was only supposed to be a fun and light – hearted interview but from the very beginning, Bressie’s negative replies swirled it severely negative. I asked : If you weren’t pursuing your present career what other career might have you chosen? He replied :

I’d work in a Deli so I wouldn’t have to use my brain.

He also stated that he was emotionless and considered revenge to be a better option than losing your temper. I felt underneath the exterior Bressie was somewhat unhappy.

“Taking shortcuts on my new album has been the biggest disappointment – I didn’t want to have to take any and that was very disappointing. The industry is proper f**ked at the moment and the money just isn’t there”.

Bressie openly admitted that his new found solo career has been a lonely and frustrating process. He was upfront about his inability to trust critics known to him as “dickheads with a chip in their shoulder who don’t have a f**king clue”. Throughout the interview, Bressie threw digs at the music industry and the lifestyle he now leads.

“I love a few pints! I love them when there’s nothing else going on in your head. When I’m not gigging or in the studio, which is when I work the hardest, I do know how to have a good time. If you’re with friends that don’t mention music just stupid f**king things like the Coronation Street Omnibus that’s when I can actually switch off and have a good time”. 

I started to feel sorry for Bressie. He’d had stripped himself down from being this confident, laid – back, young man to a frustrated artist, angry at his industry and even more at the people in it. Bressie ended the interview with some advice for the students of DCU – which I didn’t publish and you’ll see why…

“Enjoy it cause when you get out you’ve a lot of work to do to get us out of this recession”. 

Despite Bressie’s success, I feel he is deeply sore about the contraints of the music industry in Ireland. This is disappointing as Bressie not only hold’s the torch for many up and coming young male artists but he acts as an inspiration to all. He has managed to sky-rocket his profile as a solo artist, climb the charts in a downward economy and reflect on an amazing career with The Blizzards. Bressie negativity succumbs to the typical attitube of some current Irish leaders  – lack of belief. I think the powerful belief out there is strong enough to make the climb but unfortunately the right people aren’t behind the microphones or in the interviewing chairs. Instead we’re all forced to mourn, what once was.

For the full interview please click here.