By @TheMarkDalton

Photos by @byard_inspired

Yesterday The Round Room inside The Mansion House was packed to capacity as Leading Social presented a stunning lineup of guests. Samantha Kelly, Anthony Quigley, Niall Harbison, Pat Divilly and of course Gary Vaynerchuk took to the stage to give a masterclass in social media.

Samantha Kelly

Samantha Kelly (tweetinggoddess) took to the stage first to share her story about finding social media through Twitter and using it to market her first product which was a first time period box for teenage girls. She spoke about how she simply started by talking to people on Twitter and engaging with them as opposed to trying to sell something. Samantha says that, “Brands are not talking to their customers,” and it couldn’t be more true. People buy from people and one of the problems that a lot of brands have at the moment is that they are not talking to customers on social media like they are talking to a person.

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The personal touch can make all the difference and as a result Samantha makes sure that she does one useful introduction per day and one good deed per day on social media. Her success is because she talks and engages with users on Twitter instead of just shoving content in front of their face. “Build relationships online and then bring them offline.”

Anthony Quigley

Next up was Anthony Quigley who set up the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) which has now grown to 70 countries and is partnered all over the world via social media. He spoke about how social media is helping them to engage with people and showed a fantastic tool they have developed called

This is a diagnostic tool which you can use to benchmark your skills against your colleagues and the industry. So if you are trying to figure out which course you may get the most value from then you simply take the test and based off the results they can suggest you do an SEO course, or a social media course, or an analytics course. It allows you to tailor your course selection to your needs based on things you may not have scored as well in during the benchmark test.

People can then tweet and share their results on social media and it passes the message along about the Digital Marketing Institute. Anthony says that you should “produce stuff around what you do which people will value.”

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Some of the basics that he feels we need to keep in mind when trying to build a brand online, be it company or personal brand, is to create a compelling brand, target potential customers, nurture – stay on schedule, be responsive, be original.

We also need to make sure that we test what we do on mobile platforms. Most business is now done on mobile and the evolution of the smartphone means that we have more power in our pocket than ever before. Your website needs to be mobile responsive and mobile friendly for users. If it is not mobile friendly then you are losing the battle before you even begin.

Anthony also believes that you should use video where you can, it is short, sharp and sends a message.

Niall Harbison
Following Anthony was Niall Harbison who founded the Lovin Dublin website and is now expanding into different areas such as Lovin Dubai. Niall delivered a fantastic talk full of energy and enthusiasm. He says that social media’s value is that it takes you direct to the customer.

He started Lovin Dublin three years ago and says that the biggest thing people worry about is failure. He says that putting yourself out there is hard but it is also one of the best things you will do. Running a business is a nightmare but it is the most enjoyable, exciting and exhilarating nightmare you can have.


He spoke about how you shouldn’t be scared of failure and some recently launched projects have resulted in maybe 25 disasters and one or two successes.

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Niall gave a brief insight into some of Lovin Dublin’s data. He says that mobile is at the stage where social was three or four years ago. The majority of customers are now using mobile screens to access content online, that is why mobile is becoming such a big player in the market.

81.5% of Lovin Dublin traffic comes from mobile, a massive number of people access their content through a smartphone or a table of some kind. Lovin Dublin also gets 30 times more traffic from Facebook than it does Twitter. Niall says that Twitter is not dead but at the moment it is a small little corner of the web – “its half dead.”

He also spoke about Facebook Messenger and how it will become the most important tool for customer communication in the future. This is 100% true, we know that Facebook has now changed the approach to Messenger from an App to a Platform. They are also experimenting with a new virtual assistant known as Project M in the San Francisco area.

He says that everyone needs to be a publisher in 2016. You need to make some content around your business.

Pat Divilly

The final speaker before the main event was Pat Divilly. I have never heard Pat’s story before so it was my first time and it was absolutely fantastic, motivating and inspiring.

Pat was working in a gym in Dublin but he became frustrated working in a commercial gym where the main focus was to make money and not to pursue better health and a happier lifestyle for the customers.

At the age of 22 he set up his first business in Dublin but it failed to get up and running. He took a part time job in a clothes job to try keep his head above the water but was struggling to pay the rent and struggling to live. He couldn’t afford a ticket home but in Christmas of 2011 he was forced to move back to Galway and try to figure out what he wanted to do next.

He took a job in a restaurant in Galway and eventually decided to commit himself to pursuing his passion with everything he had. He left the restaurant, printed up fliers advertising a fitness camp on a beach in Barna. He was told it would never last and that people would not train out in the cold and the rain.

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However he started off with 5 people and a few cones and a small group of people who believed in him and what he was doing. He worked hard on building a business and was determined to make people’s time on the beach with him the best part of their day.

People started contacting him via Facebook to ask how they could get involved and he started sending them nutrition plans and programmes to follow. 12 months on from the beach he opened a studio not far from his home in Barna and he now trains clients at the studio and via online programmes through Facebook.

In 2014, as an ambassador for Cystic Fibrosis, he took 534 people to complete Tough Mudder in Punchestown. They didn’t know each other, they had come together through the Facebook group he had started and they fundraised over €160,000 for charity.

Pat’s talk was motivating and inspiring, a story about someone pursuing their dream and not giving up. As Pat said himself during the talk yesterday, “you are only live your life once.”

Pat Divilly Fitness.

You can read our post on Gary Vaynerchuk’s talk here.

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