In the first of a new series looking behind the scenes with those in charge of key areas of Irish sport on social media, Sport for Business caught up with Jackie Cahill, Commercial and Communications Manager of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.

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

On Twitter we have 31.9k followers, on Instagram: 23.8k followers, and on Facebook 63,220 follows.

It’s difficult to say which channel we are most active on as we are pretty active on all three of our main ones. We give equal attention to all three platforms and our growth figures have been impressive in 2019, with an 80% increase in Instagram followers, and 15% on both Twitter and Facebook.

On matchdays, Twitter is our preferred platform for up to the minute updates, with photographs from the games posted then on Instagram, and match reports on Twitter and Facebook.

What are the best performing social media channels for you?

As outlined above, our Facebook Page has the greatest amount of followers, but Instagram has grown incredibly quickly for us in the last two years, increasing by over 21,000 followers in that time.

It may have been something of a neglected platform for us but time and attention to it has reaped rewards.

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

Instagram is very much promotion and competition, showcasing some of the best videos and photographs that we compile, while also using the repost option to share relevant content.

Twitter and Facebook provide users and followers with all of the latest news, views and information from the LGFA. Ensuring that our Facebook and Twitter pages are up to date and filled with regular content ensures a happy balance between using them as information and promotional vehicles.

Our social media channels are also vital to drive traffic to our official website, with traffic from January-September 2019 up by over 24% (sessions) when compared to January-September 2018.

The number of website users also increased by 32% year on year. A very simple rule of thumb is to ensure that all news appearing on the website is then packaged on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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

We created a promotional video before the TG4 All-Ireland Finals, focusing on the story of Gráinne, a young girl from Mayo who dreams of making it big as a Ladies Footballer.

Gráinne devours all of the information that she can get her hands on, sticks posters on her bedroom wall, and falls in love with the game. Gráinne’s confidence takes a knock when her team loses a big game – and she doesn’t want to talk to anyone, not even her Dad. But Dad has the answer – and he buys tickets for Gráinne for the TG4 All-Ireland Finals.

Gráinne’s faith is restored and she comes to the realisation that winning isn’t everything. “Maybe it doesn’t matter if I win or lose. All that matters is I love this game.” It was a piece of content, produced by our videographer Stephen Hallinan, that performed extremely well for us across all channels.

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

In 2019, AIG became official Insurance Partner of the LGFA and they produced some wonderful content with ambassadors including Eimear Scally (Cork) and Áine McDonagh (Galway).

My favourite piece of content featured Áine. ‘We grew up watching the Sunday Game, singing the National Anthem. Chun báis nó saoil. To live or to die. It’s a live or die situation.”

This piece was part of the new ‘One Tribe’ series, focusing on Áine and her close family ties to Dublin GAA and Cuala GAA.

But despite her East Coast connections, Áine is a driven and dynamic talent in her own right, one of Ladies Football’s brightest young stars, carving out her own destiny with Galway and Moycullen. Galway enjoyed a terrific season, contesting both the Lidl National League Division 1 and TG4 All-Ireland Finals.

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

It’s difficult to quantify but when your screen time reports an average of 7 hours daily, that might give you some indication of the time and effort involved in ensuring that the channels are up to date.

Obviously, there are times during the year when we are more active than others, particularly around big games or when we are promoting our various development initiatives.

What is your personal favourite channel?

I’m a huge fan of Twitter, both as a personal user and on behalf of the LGFA. Disclaimer/Warning! My personal account contains lots of Liverpool FC-related material!

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

This piece of content below is just an incredible thought-provoker, charting the impact that Lidl have made since coming on board in 2016.

The numbers are staggering, with 145 Post-Primary Schools receiving new sports equipment, and 150 LGFA Clubs benefiting from cash donations. 150 clubs received €75,000 worth of vouchers, with 155 LGFA Juvenile club teams receiving kit and equipment.

In addition, 1389 girls received jerseys and footballs at Lidl Future Stars events, with a total of over €3.5m invested by Lidl in the grassroots game since 2016. These are numbers that shouldn’t be taken for granted, with another €3m committed over the following three years. And the best thing is, there’s a lot more to come.

And something that made you laugh?

This one made me laugh and smile, a wonderful video featuring the Gaelic4Mothers&Others teams from Sheriff Street and Ballybough in Dublin, who had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grace the hallowed Croke Park turf at half-time during the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC semi-final between Dublin and Cork.

Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley is a programme officer with Dublin NEIC, a regeneration project for Dublin’s North East inner city, and he joined the teams on their special day, along with former Dublin Ladies Football star Niamh McEvoy. These brilliant Gaelic4Mas teams had a superb day, and the video even features a horse-drawn carriage! To cap a memorable day, they featured on The Marty Squad live from Croke Park after the semi-finals.

Next Up in the Series: Rob O’Leary of AIB
Read More: Irish Sport on Social Media Report November 2019
Read More: Irish Sport on Social Media Conference 2019

Image credit: LGFA