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 TheJournal.ie 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.