By @SimonCocking. Interesting interview with Paul Buckley Head of at

What is your background, and your role now?

I’ve been Head of Social Media at Aer Lingus since 2012. My responsibility is to oversee the continued development of Aer Lingus’ social channels for delivery of guest care, marketing, communications and business intelligence. It’s my job to grow effectiveness of our social channels in terms of both guest and business outcomes.

What aspects of SM marketing do you do, and what type of content do you create?

We undertake tactical advertising across various channels, not least Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Paid social ads form an important part of our wider digital marketing strategy (together with search, email, display, affiliate and so on). Furthermore, we invest in our owned content. We see content as key to telling brand stories in a way that is engaging and unobtrusive for viewers. Increasingly this is in video format. In addition to working with external content production companies, we employ internal production capabilities for much of our content.

We like the Conor Murray initiative, who are you hoping to reach, and how will you define if the campaign is successful?

Aer Lingus entrusted Conor Murray with a pair of Snapchat Spectacles to give a first person view as the team prepared to depart for Cardiff

Our target audience with this particular activation is straightforward – people with an interest in the sport of rugby, who are also a customer or potential customer of Aer Lingus. We feel that the perspective we showed was totally unique and offered the viewer something never seen before, ie the world as seen through the eyes of an international rugby player as they prepare for an away match. As an official sponsor of Irish Rugby, this content is part of our wider #HomeAdvantage campaign. Rather than relying on individual performance metrics from specific posts, we’re more interested in the performance of the campaign as a whole, across multiple online and offline channels. We’ll be tracking how the wider campaign moves the dial amongst customers and potential customers on basic commercial KPIs such as brand perception and likelihood to purchase.

What new technologies are you using, how do you decide which to use? Which will you be using in 2017?

With Conor we utilised Spectacles, a new product from Snap (the company behind Snapchat). We always enjoy working with new tech in our efforts to produce more compelling content. In the past we’ve employed cockpit-mounted GoPros and 360-degree cameras, and we have a DJI Phantom 4 drone (IAA-registered), which we use to capture destination content. We started live-streaming back when Meerkat was a thing, but we’ve found that opportunities to live-stream content genuine appeal don’t come along too often. An example of when a live stream worked well for us was when we captured the arrival of the first A350 aircraft to visit Dublin, and we gave viewers a virtual guided tour. It will be interesting to watch how these various technologies converge over the coming months and years.

What content works on what platforms?

As you would expect, there are discrete attributes of each platform, and it’s important to be aware of these when creating content. For example, we find that YouTube video is more likely to be watched with sound turned on than off, while the opposite applies to Facebook video. Instagram stories are very similar in format to Snapchat stories, but we take a more relaxed tone of voice on Snapchat than we do on Instagram. As a brand it’s important to be aware of these small differences that can impact on how your message is received.

How much of a focus is Aer Lingus putting on Snapchat?

We’re not betting the house on it just yet. It’s great to have a level of comfort and familiarity with the channel, and we’ve just booked in our first sponsored geo-filter in the UK for St. Patrick’s Day. Overall it takes up a very small percentage of our resources. Snapchat has yet to give marketers full access to content analytics, and that’s clearly dampened levels of advertiser investment to date. But it won’t be long before an advertiser platform and more detailed analytics will be rolled out, and we’ll be ready to capitalise as soon that’s released.

Tell us about the power of video for Aer Lingus and the overall #HomeAdvantage campaign?

Our #HomeAdvantage campaign brings to life Irish fans’ passionate support, and the electric atmosphere they create whether it be at home or abroad. As the official airline of the Irish Rugby team, we’re privileged to have a direct connection to the players and the fans – they actually fly on board our aircraft to away games in Edinburgh, Cardiff, London, Paris and Rome. This gives us a tremendous opportunity to share behind-the-scenes video from airports and aircraft when team and fans are flying. Some of our highest-performing content has come out of #HomeAdvantage. I think that there’s genuine excitement when people see the national team and the national airline come together.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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