Social Media Mavens 2020 – Rob O’Leary

In the latest of our series looking behind the scenes with those in charge of key areas of Irish sport on social media, Sport for Business sat down with Rob O’Leary, Digital Content Manager at AIB and a key player in #TheToughest activation across the bank’s GAA Sponsorships.

SfB: What is the social media reach of your organisation and which media are you active on?

Speaking solely about our AIB GAA Channels, we have 46.4k followers on Twitter, 111k follows on Facebook and we have 20.4k followers on Instagram.

The ambition for AIB GAA on social media is to be a global leader in sports fan engagement. To achieve this, we give all of our channels a significant amount of attention as each serves a different purpose depending on the content we are sharing and the goal we are looking to achieve. For live GAA match updates, Twitter is our first port of call with its immediacy a key factor.

However, as highlighted by Stephen O’Leary at the Sport for Business Irish Sport on Social Media event last month, Instagram is a channel that is not fully utilised by many brands.

We identified this towards the end of 2018 and shifted a considerable amount of focus to enhancing our presence on Instagram.

This shift in focus resulted in a 58% increase in our followership.

What are the best performing social media channels for you?

When measuring success it’s important to measure the right objective. If we chose engagement as an objective then Instagram would be the top performing channel.

Our approach to our newsfeed, our stories and our new AIB GAA Stickers has been massively successful.

What do you see as the optimum balance between social media as information on one hand and promotion on the other?

Each brand will have its own metric to decide a balance between informative and promotional activities.

Our objective on AIB GAA is to empower fans to enjoy and share their passions online so our balance is tipped in favour of engagement while our other channels carry our promotional offers.

What has been your favourite piece of Social Media content that you have produced over the past 12 months?

It has to go to The Toughest Temptation. For anyone who plays or supports GAA, it is well known that GAA fans are like no other. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and they would give a limb for the chance of seeing their team succeed.

Everyone knows how hard it can be to get your hands on tickets to the All-Ireland Football Final, with this in mind we gave four of the biggest GAA fans in Ireland the opportunity to get their hands on a pair of tickets. All they had to do is simply NOT watch their team play the All-Ireland Senior Football Semi-Finals. The Toughest Temptation displayed the resilience and the mental toughness of the hard-core GAA fan and promoted the GAA to the occasional fans and those unaware of the GAA

It was the most nerve-racking shoot I have ever been on but all the anxiety was worth it with The Toughest Temptation smashing KPI’s and resonating well with all GAA fans.



And your favourite use or campaign by someone else either in Ireland or on an international basis?

In terms of use of social media, Red Bull for me are the pinnacle in content creation for social media. Their content is shot purposely for each channel and where at all possible they enable the audience to engage with the content.

With regard to specific campaigns, the #CantSeeCantBe campaign from 20×20 is a personal favourite of mine.

The way they are confronting the negative attitudes surrounding women in sports and then encouraging female athletes to show the be-grudgers through sharing their own content is great. It’s simple and encourages further participation.

How much of your time would you estimate is devoted to updating social media?

A lot! On average as a team we might spend 6-7 hours a day planning, strategizing and then finally implementing social. The hard work put in by the entire team has reaped the rewards as campaign results have surpassed expectations.

From a sponsorship perspective, the foot is firmly on the accelerator all year round between club championships, county championships and our involvement in music.

What is your personal favourite channel?

Twitter. It’s the right here right now channel and if I want news or sports updates it’s where the vast majority of people go first. It is also a haven for the Meme geniuses of the world to share hilarious content.

Tell us something that made you think that you came across on social media?

The #StopSipSleep campaign which has just launched is very powerful. Focused on highlighting the dangers of driving when tired, the RSA hit home the message that one in ten drivers admit having fallen asleep at the wheel.

Utilising the power and reach of the GAA, the RSA is using some well-known ambassadors including Matt O’Hanlon from Wexford and Niamh Rockett of Waterford to effectively convey the dangers of driving when tired.

The content is short and straight to the point and certainly does leave you thinking.


And something that made you laugh?

Paddy Power’s ‘The VAR Room’ is class. Creating a miniseries around the ever topical VAR was a stroke of genius from their team. Starting almost like a 70’s sit-com, the episodes reflect what some football fans are probably imagining a VAR room to be like.


Next Up in the Series: Lisa Hayden of the GAA

Read More: Social Media Mavens 2020 – Jackie Cahill 

Read More: Irish Sport on Social Media Report November 2019

Read More: Irish Sport on Social Media Conference 2019

Image credit: LGFA
Read More: Mount Juliet to host 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Image credit: Rob O’Leary Looking for #TheToughest look.

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