Social Media Lessons Learned from The Frank and Walters

I’ve had the pleasure of playing piano with the Frank and Walters for 13 years now. As well as crediting them for bringing me on tour around the world playing music, featuring on three studio albums and popping up on TV and radio regularly I can also thank them for inadvertently getting me into Digital Marketing. It was a very different landscape back then featuring Bebo, MySpace and Forums but I learned key fundamental lessons that I still draw on today. I also got to experiment a few campaign mechanics on the band’s accounts to see if they worked before presenting them to a client and I get to write about them without betraying client confidentiality.

Last week both of my worlds collided when the Frank and Walters’ song “After All” was featured in the finale of the wonderful RTE series “Young Offenders” and the Social Media accounts lit up and the band began trending on Twitter. I drew on my previous experience of maximising off-line coverage to build on-line conversation. So if your brand has some offline activity that could benefit from an online push then hopefully these tips will help.
1) Prepare Assets and release at the perfect time.
If you have Radio, TV or Print activity scheduled then seize this opportunity to complement with Digital Activity. The band knew the timing of the broadcast last Thursday night so we had the following assets ready.

You can also retweet previous content back into the newsfeed of your followers when that topic is back in current conversation.

I felt Three Ireland did this expertly well with their “Girl and the Cloud” content by providing an interactive experience to accompany the broadcasted content

2) React to current conversation and user-generated content

Embracing live social conversation means embracing a dialogue and not treating your channels like a one-way broadcast. This also makes the activity a lot more enjoyable like finding out someone had updated the Frank and Walters Wikipedia page to include The Young Offenders’ character Billy Murphy. That was actually such a good idea I wish I thought of it! It was certainly worth sharing on Twitter and on Facebook but as with all user-generated content, it’s best practice to credit the creator.

A screenshot of the Frank and Walters Facebook post featuring a Wikipedia Page with a special update to include The Young Offenders Character Billy Murphy

Frank and Walters Wikipedia Page with a special update

Lidl Ireland are absolutely nailing the Social Media game with the way they’ve reacted to the vandalisation of the store in Tallaght and are being rewarded by valuable positive sentiment on Social. Their transparency and humour was embraced and celebrated culminating in their tweet of a Patrick’s Day parade parodying the incident.

3) Monitor for untagged mentions

An offline event such as this will generate conversation and followers may tag you in this conversation with your Twitter handle. However, there will be a lot of conversation generated that you won’t be tagged in. This is an opportunity to jump outside of your community (those who know or follow you on Twitter) and to build your community by talking to those who haven’t tagged you.

A screenshot of a saved twitter search for the Frank and Walters

Save a search in Twitter for your brand to monitor untagged mentions

A screenshot of Frank and Walters Untagged Mentions on Twitter

Frank and Walters Untagged Mentions on Twitter

This affords the brand an opportunity to turn a mention into a follow building the owned spaces and to take the pulse of how the content is being received. This should be a common practice for every brand outside of offline activity to monitor brand health and crisis management.

4) Give a “peek behind the curtain” with exclusive content

Supporting offline content with online content shouldn’t be a case of simply duplicating it on all channels. Ideally, the online content should be complementary or additional to the offline experience. Remember, you have full control over your online spaces to afford yourself more editorial freedom and expand on the theme. This is an optimal opportunity to give a “peek behind the curtain” to invite viewers further into the experience. The Young Offenders’ producer Mairtín de Barra kindly captured the band’s reaction to the cast singing ‘After All’ at a live screening of the episode in the English Market.

Frank and Walters in the English Market watching Young Offenders

Frank and Walters watching the Young Offenders live

AIB are fantastic at this with The Toughest exclusive behind the scenes content.

5) Invite further conversation

A brand’s digital spaces allow them to continue the conversation after the event. Ideally, this is presented in a value-adding and engaging format. For this one, we chose to use Facebook’s poll option to ask the community which cover-version of ‘After All’ they preferred – Billy Murphy from The Young Offenders or famed Irish Showband singer Joe Dolan.

A screenshot of a Facebook Poll on the Frank and Walters page featuring the 'After All' Debate - Young Offenders Billy Murphy or Joe Dolan

The After All Debate – Young Offenders Billy Murphy or Joe Dolan

This is a playful format that invites engagement through voting, teaches the audience something new (some may not know Joe Dolan covered ‘After All – he did! On his 90’s covers album) and the GIF format stands out in viewers newsfeed’s and performs without audio.

Sometimes you may have the opportunity to extend the topic into another conversation which further sweats the assets for additional coverage. This was (cheekily) done by noting streams of ‘After All’ exceeded 29,000 which will likely result in very low royalties for the band. This, of course, is a tongue in cheek comment but lends itself to a larger conversation regarding the difficulties bands have in earning revenue from their songs, even when they are commercially successful. This tweet was the highest performing content piece over the four days and attracted engagement from key music players including Tom Dunne, The Stunning and Tony Clayton-Lea.

The lesson here is giving the audience a new angle on a trending topic to further fuel earned media. Following this tweet the band were contacted by who wrote an article highlighting the plight of bands in the new digital musical landscape followed by The Examiner running a similar story based on the Social Media content produced over the 5 days.

A tweet from The Journal that features the Frank and Walters in The Journal

The Franks speak to TheJournal

Frank and Walters, Rory Murphy, Ashley Keating, Paul Linehan, Cian Corbett in The Examiner

Frank and Walters in The Examiner

I hope this insight into 5 days of running a band’s Social Media spaces was helpful. Of course, not every brand will have the luxury of being featured in a prime time TV show but I do feel the 5 principals of conducting a coordinated online and offline marketing approach still apply.

  1. Prepare your assets
  2. React to current conversation and user generated content
  3. Monitor for untagged mentions
  4. Give exclusive content
  5. Invite further conversation

Happy to hear any additions you might add if you’d like to list them below.



Social Media Circuit Talks – Mayven 46’s “How to Grow Your Brand in the Digital Era”


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I recently spoke at Mayven 46’s event on “How to Grow Your Brand in the Digital Era” and instead of leaving the tweeted highlights to disappear in our timelines I thought I’d share some here.

As the majority of the audience were small business owners I was acutely aware that a long-winded theoretical musing on what Social Media is wouldn’t help. Instead, I created a presentation with a few key takeaways that they could action immediately.

The first point was: always consider your audience. You’d be amazed how many brands forget that Social Media can’t be a one-way monologue of slogans and discounts. Social Media is intended to be used to build relationships and at the core of any relationship is a consideration for the other person. Instead of being “me, me, me” try thinking “You and Me” by showing how your brand shares the audience’s passion points.

The second point was to consider the environment in which you’re building this relationship. Brands must remember they’re operating in the Attention Economy, if someone is giving you their attention you need to give them something in return: add value by making them laugh, make them cry, inspire or educate them. Make this an active communication not a passive impression. 

A picture of a tweet of Cian Corbett Speaking at Mayven 46's "Grow Your Brand in the Digital Age" Event

Cian Speaking at Mayven 46’s “Grow Your Brand in the Digital Age” Event

And finally came the familiar plea from small business owners – what’s the magic secret to not having to pay for impressions on Facebook. I urge small business owners to embrace Social Media for the opportunities within:

  • Cost Effective
  • Acute Targeting
  • Engaging Formats

Notice I said ‘cost effective’ and not ‘free’. Social Media advertising is immeasurably cheaper than most forms of advertising which is why it’s growing so quickly. Yes, there are ways to etch out an organic following by cruising on every hashtag, tagging every business, hounding fans to share your content but this can be extremely time-consuming with little pay off.

My advice is straight-forward: create interesting content that your audience will enjoy and promote this content by advertising to your ideal audience. It won’t cost a lot and if you used strategically it will build affinity, loyalty and ultimately, sales.


Social Media Circuit Talks – Electric Media’s “On Demand Generation”


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In my four months of being Managing Director of Leading Social I’ve become a real “Yes Man”. Not to my team but to speaking engagements! From every event, there’s always a few points that are quoted and tweeted so I thought I’d share some of these takeaways with you below.

Electric Media’s #OnDemGen (On Demand Generation) Event at Odeon Cinema

I took part in Electric Media‘s panel discussion about the On Demand Generation or #OnDemGen. This is the generation who’ve never known a world without internet, smartphones and immediate content. This has significant implications for marketers and publishers alike as occasion viewing is becoming less common. 15 years ago it was much easier for media companies to pinpoint a viewing occasion, buy the advertising slot and reach their target demographic but the #OnDemGen doesn’t play by these rules. This generation will catch up on an event on YouTube or download sites or watch something in their own time on Netflix, often choosing to “Binge Watch” rather than wait for a scheduled viewing.

What’s important to remember here is the context in which this generation is consuming this content – they’re not gathered around a TV, they’re watching it on their commute or the gym or at work or *ahem* the bathroom.

A slide demonstrating research showing where the on-demand generation consume TV content out of home

The On-Demand Generation can view TV content out of home in very different places such as commuting, offices or *ahem* bathrooms.

The implications of this for brands who are sponsoring the content is ensuring they are part of the consumed media experience rather than just in the traditional advertising break which could be cut in the #OnDemGen viewing context. Brands should aim to go beyond interruption advertising by adding something to the viewing experience –  perhaps this could be an exclusive add-on or a peek behind the curtain to the making of the content – giving the On-Demand Generation a reason to opt-in to their content.

As the Social Media speaker on the panel, I was asked how brands and publishers could take advantage of Dark Social channels to improve their reach. In my opinion, this is about shaping the content to make it as shareable and value adding as possible. If there’s a demand for this content brands should cater for this demand by helping consumers express themselves through their content:

  • Make the content available in short bursts with Social cut-downs
  • Host the full version on their site where brands can capture data for opt-in marketing
  • Re-target this opted-in audience with future campaigns to build on that relationship.

Cian Corbett discussing the On Demand generation at Electric Media's #OnDemGen event at Odeon Cinema

To successfully serve the On-Demand Generation we need to shed our preconceptions about traditional media planning and content creation. The On-Demand Generation now have more options to opt-in and, more importantly, opt-out of content so give them reasons to choose to watch your content by providing access to content, making it shareable and adding value every time.

Cian Corbett on South Dublin Radio’s Breakthrough Brands Podcast


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Last week I had the pleasure of appearing on Joe Dalton’s “Breakthrough Brands” Radio Show on Dublin South FM. I enjoyed speaking about how I got started in Social Media with campaigns on Bebo, MySpace and Forums when working in an Internet Café (remember them?) and how Facebook became such a dominant force in recent years.

If you’d like to hear my views on how businesses can grow their brands and avoid the pitfalls then click below.

A picture from Dublin South FM's radio studio with Joseph Dalton and Social Media Strategist Cian Corbett

Dublin South’s Joe Dalton with Leading Social’s Cian Corbett


Imitation is flattery – How the marketing world is becoming more and more like social media


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Note: This blog originally appeared on Radical’s blog in 2017

While preparing for a pitch recently, I was recalling my experience in social media and I noted that the first campaigns I conducted were when the industry was calling it “New Media”. Possibly my most hipster moment ever – “I’ve been working in social media since before it was called social media!” At Radical, we’ve enjoyed watching the social aspect of marketing evolve from a “nice to have” into a “have to have” and in some cases, becoming the sole activation of a campaign.

But it took the industry a while to get there. In my early ad agency days, we often joked (or cried) about social’s place on the media plan as a little add-on at the end.

“We’ll have this budget for TV, this for radio, this for press, this for PR, this for digital,  leaving this for social.”

At the time, the pervading and damaging perception that social media was “free” or just for community management and customer service was holding it back from contributing to real business goals. Social had an uphill battle to claim its seat at the marketing table. However, campaign by campaign, the ideas became more daring, the metrics became more robust and the results became more impressive. Brands were becoming more confident in social media’s abilities to bear the responsibility of delivering campaign objectives.


Fast forward to 2017 and you can imagine my delight at social’s rise to prominence within the marketing world. Right now we’re seeing:

  • An increase in Social Advertising (IAB reporting a 133% rise in social advertising in 2016 to reach €114m)
  • Facebook rivalling Google’s share of the advertising pie
  • Shrinking offline budgets

The platforms continued to evolve and, in some cases, surpassed the reach and targeting abilities of their media plan counterparts. And it didn’t stop there. Social began to replace online and offline press as a news source (Instant Articles and Trump’s Twitter account), replace texting with messaging apps (Messenger, Whatsapp and Snapchat), replace cameras with wearables (Spectacles), and now we’re embarking on an age where established broadcasters are being challenged by live social (Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope and Snapchat Live).

A phone that is leaking social ad digital media icons showing the impact of digital

However, I feel that’s it’s not just the technology or targeting capabilities that have changed. Consumers’ need for added value, instant gratification and quick response have also changed  – and marketing as we know is changing to keep up. The days of planning a campaign quarter by quarter, a year ahead of time,

now seem archaic. Pre-planning is all well and good, until it restricts your ability to be flexible. Just last week, Jennelle Tilling, Global CMP at KFC, said:

“We need quick pulses – marketing has fundamentally changed from marketing to publishing and the pace and turnaround is so much faster.”

It’s amazing to see the principles that guided early social media now permeating and reshaping marketing as we know it. Creative agility, responsive reflexes and continual consumer dialogue – the foundations of social media – are now critical elements for marketing in 2017. The world of marketing got a taste of the power of social media – and now we’re addicted.

Goodbye Radical – hello Leading Social


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After 5.5 years it’s time for me to say goodbye to my Radical and Core Media family. It’s been an incredible journey of challenging tasks, creative solutions, awards, lessons and making life-long friends. With exciting times ahead for Radical and Core  I’ll be looking on with admiration wishing them the best in every way.

Cian Corbett's highlights of working in Radical

A few snapshots of the great times in Radical 2012-2017

The exciting times are not theirs alone – my own personal journey starts a new chapter joining Leading Social as Managing Director. It’s an incredible opportunity to join a hugely creative team as well as serial entrepreneur, Jamie White.

So here’s to the exciting times ahead and if you’d like to get in touch with me at Leading Social you can reach me on

Cian Corbett's Linkedin Post capturing Day 1 as Managing Director of Leading Social

Day 1 as Managing Director of Social Media Agency “Leading Social”

Story-telling through Social Content – speaking at Social Media Summit 2017


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Everyone loves a good story! And no one knows this better than advertisers. For decades brands have been injecting their products with human qualities with a view to creating and sustaining relationships. The continued rise of Social Media has really brought this to the fore with brands needing to create more content to fuel the conversation on Social Media. While before a brand’s annual communications calendar may have relied on a creative campaign per quarter cushioned with sales messages today’s Social Media calendar demands continuous content to stay alive.

As we say in Radical:

“Social Media isn’t just for Christmas”, meaning a successful social strategy needs to be much more than one campaign per quarter – it’s a relationship that needs to be nurtured and developed with value-adding experiences and conversation.

At this year’s Social Media Summit I spoke about the importance of Story Telling and Content Creation in nurturing these relationships. I purported that brands need to define the role their brand plays in the lives of their customers and how social content can tell this story. This should bring every brand on Social firmly into objective lead marketing with each piece of content providing proof of their brand values.

You can view my slides below 🙂

Focus Ireland’s Contactless Donation Station is nominated for a CSR Award!


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Delighted to write that Radical’s Contactless Donation Station created for Focus Ireland has been nominated for a CSR Award. I was so proud to be part of this innovation, which has already won a Digital Marketing Award  for Best Use of Interactive Media in February.

Picture of Focus Ireland's Contactless Donation Station, housed at 16 Sir John Rogersons Quay, Built by Radical

Focus Ireland’s Contactless Donation Station

Click here if you’d like to read about the insights behind building Ireland’s first Contactless Donation station and if you’d like to support the amazing work carried out every day by Focus Ireland you can click here to make a donation.

Radical's Salvo Vaccarino and Cian Corbett joined by Focus Ireland's Eimear Kellett and Aoife Cooney

Radical’s Salvo Vaccarino and Cian Corbett joined by Focus Ireland’s Eimear Kellett and Aoife Cooney

Radical win Social Media Agency of the year for the 5th time!


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I’m very proud to write a familiar blog – Radical have been crowned Best Social Agency for the 5th year in a row!

Radical Win Best Social Media Agency 2017

Radical Win Best Social Media Agency 2017

I was particularly proud of our entry for the Road Safety Authority who picked up the award for Best Use of Social Media by a State Body. This is a particularly competitive category which has been dominated by the Defence Forces since I’ve been attending the awards. This year the RSA’s entry, bolstered by the Facebook Memories campaign ,was recognised for it’s continued effort to making Ireland’s roads safer by speaking to disparate road using communities in a bid to increase road use behaviour.

Cian Corbett (Radical) and Elaine Gibson (Road Safety Authority)

Road Safety Authority win Best Use of Social Media by a State Body


The Social Media Awards have become an interesting barometer for me in my career. On the evening of my very first day in Radical in 2012, I joined my new team at the Social Media Awards. And here we, 5 years later with a brand new team but the same creative and innovative spirit driving us to push the boundaries of social.