Tag Archives: Mayo

Bringing the World of Twitter to a Local Level….

To Tweet or Not To Tweet, that is the question?

The reason I love twitter over other types of social media is down to two reasons.

  1. Being dyslexic, I found the 140 characters format suited me, made me focus on the words with less chance of making mistakes and getting hammered by the unforgiving Grammar Police.
  2. It’s real time and opens doors to people you would never get chance to speak to. Watching a big TV event, with twitter at your side can enhance your viewing pleasure ☺

I once tweeted Alastair Campbell (the ex-Labour Party Spin Doctor). And he used my words from our twitter conversation on the BBC’s Football Focus Show… I felt like a Spin Doctor for a Spin Doctor for the day!!

The Twitter age is before us, not behind us.

To understand how to bring the world of Twitter to a local level you must first understand what is local?

I came to Mayo with work, fell in love with the place. So moved over 3 and a bit year’s ago. Was a bit of a culture shock – being born and raised in Leeds, Yorkshire (You can tell a Yorkshireman, but you can’t tell him much!). So with no family connections to the area I found it difficult to find out what was going on in Mayo, where to go, where to buy certain items etc. Back in Leeds I would pop onto Google or Twitter and 99 times out of 100 the answer would be there in seconds. Here in Mayo when I started looking, Google & Twitter was not the answer. So what choices did I have?

  1.  Local Radio? Would guess that it is still the number 1 for information on what’s going on in Mayo. I like to drop in and out of radio, mainly listening whilst in the car. So it is hit and miss whether I heard the information I required.
  2. Local Newspapers? Can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper (whether here in Mayo or back in the UK). Do use the newspapers websites, but the local ones are not the best.
  3. Local Websites? Less said about them the better, out of date information, not mobile friendly. In fairness the mayo.ie website re-launched with a nice website, but it mainly focuses on the bigger events and news.
  4. Local Social Media? Mainly Facebook and very tribal, North Mayo did not interact with South Mayo, West Mayo doesn’t know what’s going on in East Mayo!! And a number of accounts that have a good number of followers, but have not tweeted since 1842 ☺

If twitter be the food of love, tweet on.

As you can see there was a need, but how and why can my story help you?

Starting from scratch and building an account:

Although the number of followers is not important, you can’t be an expert in your field if you only have 65 followers, you can be an expert offline however you will come across more credible as you build followers and if you put in a little time and follow the below tips will not be long before you are a larger following, remember each of your followers can be classed part of your marketing team!

Plan how you are going to build your follower base, who do you want to follow you and why? Make sure your account is of interest to followers that you are going after. Remember there is a limit of how many people you can follow so choose wisely. Plan it weekly, target around 500 hundred people by following them, BUT make sure that you tweet something that will make them follow you (Example target Mayo GAA fans tweet 2 or 3 tweets about Mayo GAA before you follow them, they are more likely to follow you back). Starting off from little or more followers do this weekly, but as time goes on can be a monthly process to keep the account fresh. You will find once you get passed the magic Twitter 2K you will automatically get more people following you, as people are sheep and like to follow who other people are following (not a dig, just human nature).

Friday: Tweet your 2/3 tweets that followers are going to find of interest. Follow your targeted 500. Leave them as following over the weekend. Monday: Start unfollowing them by 100 per day (most free apps have a limited of 100). You will be level by Friday so repeat the process. Unfollowing rule Verified-Private-EggHeads-6months-3months-1months-Rest (I use android Unfollowers). As a rule out of the 500 you should gain between 150/250 followers. (I use android TweepMap).

Build your account base by using the following rotating methods:

LOCAL: follow people that are in and around your town/county/region. If you are a new business it’s a great tool to get your name out there, putting yourself on the local map. Do a Twitter search for the town or area (#Cong or #Mayo).

INTEREST: follow people that are in the same of similar fields of interest to you, make sure you spread your search wide, don’t forget look to the US or the UK – twitter is a great introduction tool. You never know what a Twitter connection will lead to.

COMPETITION: As well as following your competition, follow who they are following, they are following your competition for a reason!

COMMUNITY/CHARITY GROUPS: Make sure you follow Community Groups, Charities and other organisations in your local/Interest area, and don’t forget to help them out with the occasional retweet, shows that you and your business is in touch with the “real world”.

Tweet, Tweet, mere tweets, no matter from the heart.

Do’s & Don’ts

Decide what you want from your twitter page, whether it will be primarily a business page or personal page, not an issue if you have more than one, but you can link them in your Bio! If you are the business, remember to keep it professional and don’t get involved in arguments or rants, will only look bad on your business.

Only use DM’s as private message service, do not send automated thanks for following DM’s it’s only going to be deleted! And DO NOT send a “Thanks for Following, PS don’t forget to check us out on Facebook”  if I want to follow you on another platform I will, it’s like going into a pub and asking for a pint of Guinness, paying for it and then the landlord asking you if you want a pint of Heineken? If I would have wanted a pint of Heineken I would have asked for a pint of Heineken!!!!!

Be nice and helpful, Twitter is a NETWORK just like BNI or a Chamber of Commerce, if someone you are following needs a builder, and you know Bob is following you, connect them by a tweet. If someone new follows you, no need to send them a thank you tweet, better option is look at their tweets and if there is something relevant to your account give them a retweet instead. Don’t forget if someone retweets you for the first time do make a connection and thank them for the retweet.

Look out for the Twitter hours, lots out there great FREE way of promoting (soft sell) you or your business and building your follower base, Join in the chat using the defined hashtags, good way to grow your followers and get new business.

If you have the time keep your entire social pages separate, but if you don’t have time make sure you use the correct tool to post updates. Nothing worse than seeing a tweet with just fb.me/48RqkquhD on it, you will gain twitter followers, if you are seen as a Facebook account on Twitter! (If you share links on FB make sure you add a comment).

Do use Twitter for customer service issue (especially with the BIG service providers) you get an issue resolved quicker than an email or hanging on the phone. Don’t forget to send a thank you tweet once the issue is sorted. But it works both ways if you are running a company make sure your customer service on twitter is also first class.

And last of all, the best Twitter (all social media) pages are the ones that act as themselves, don’t try to be something you are not, wear your heart on your sleeve! People will see through you very quickly, as the saying goes takes months to get a new customer, but only takes seconds to lose them. Don’t be afraid to try new apps or ways of tweeting – learn by playing with it, but do not be afraid to ask for help, put it out there you will be surprised how much help you will get!


4 Takeaways:

  1. Follow people back, don’t be a Twitter Snob! But learn where your “mute” button is. #FollowBack.
  2. Stuck on 2K ditch the celebs! They are never going to follow you back and if they do say something “Big” on twitter someone you are following will probably retweet it anyway. Don’t following back “Private” Accounts, no point you can’t retweet anything from them, and pending follows, stop you following other people.  #CreateANetwork.
  3. Twitter is real time, so use your phone as your primary tool for twitter. #RealTime.
  4. Get yourself a good “managing app” and keep your account up to date, get in to the habit of looking after your account on a daily basis. #FirstCupOfCoffeeRoutine.

Visit to Winter Wonderland at Westport House

The following blog is about my family’s trip to see Santa at The Winter Wonderland, Westport House (Sunday 29th November 2015).

This was our second trip to see Santa at Westport House, had a great time last year so we came back!

The day is all planned out around your booking time to see Santa with plenty of activities to do before or after seeing him. (Do allow plenty of time for your visit, as it is VERY popular and all the activities are busy).

We were booked in at 5pm to see Santa, so planned to get there 2 or so hours before, to make sure we had time for all the activities, saying that we were a little delayed, due to watching Andy Murray on the box!

SignpostsWhen we got to Westport House we were met at reception by one of the many elves (Santa’s little helpers). Given a leaflet with all the activities on it. Great first impression was made and a BIG fuss was made of Samuel (our 5 1/2 year old son). Instructions were given on where and when to make our way to the Santa visit and  I must say that there is plenty of signposts along the way, so you will never get lost!

First stop was “Make Your Own Yuletide Log” This is a Parent/Child activity,Log after a 5 or so minute wait (which the elf kept all waiting informed and interacted with us) we started to make our Yuletide Log, full instructions and safety warning were given by the Yuletide Elf! A log with a candle is provided and plenty of holly, evergreen leaves and pine-cones to make your own design of the Yuletide log. A great family activity. Emma (my wife) was the “responsible” adult and was in charge of the glue gun, I was in charge of prepping the green and Sammy was chief prodder (holding the pieces in place, with his own little glue stick). After some great family “teamwork” we have a wonderful centre piece for our Christmas day table.

Next up was the “Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Man” This activity is held in one of the many side rooms, and runs from 10.30am behind a closed door, sginger1o you will need to queue for the sessions. The activity is for the children,
with support from parents. The Elf interacted with both kids and adults, so make sure that you are up for a bit of light-hearted singing! The Gingerbread Elf did a great job in telling the story of the Gingerbread man, making sure all the children were included and got them in the mood for making the gingerbread elf. We just about got it done before we had to go to see Santa (the main event).

You need to make sure you are up at the entrance for the Grotto 10 minutes before your booking, all kids have to be checked in and given a name badge. Only a small number of children grottoare in with each session, so they all have an equal chance of a good chat with Santa. Last year’s Santa had a look that you would say was a traditional Scandinavian St. Nicholas look, but this years was straight out of the Richard Attenborough school of Father Christmases, with a look straight from “Miracle on 34th Street” The children each get a mention from his “Naughty & Nice” book (personal messages can be added at the time of booking, to make it extra special). Each child gets a present from Santa and an opportunity to have their photo taken with and without their parents (photo’s can be purchased in the entrance hall). Samuel loved every minute, transfixed on Santa’s every word, priceless to build memories like that. Each group of children get enough time with Santa, did not feel rushed and Santa was great with the children.

After leaving the grotto, we headed back down the stairs and purchased a photo of him with Santa, there can be a queue after each session finishes so top tip would be leave 5/10 mins and come back after the rush, plenty of other stuff to do.

Next on the visit list was a trip to the Old Kitchen Cafe for a glass of wish1mulled wine and juice for the kids, service was good and with a smile. I recommend you do take a few minutes out just to re-charge the batteries. They have a new menu and it is open from 11am-8pm so plenty of time to get food and refreshments throughout the day. When you are at the cafe do not forget to make a Christmas Wish at the Wishing Tree  in aid of Mayo/Roscommon Hospice.




Well that was the end of this years visit, with still plenty of other activities to do (so we WILL be back next year)!

Other Activities include

  • Visit Mrs Claus’ Storytelling in the Drawing Room
  • Christmas Face Painting
  • Elves Music, Games & Fun in the Dining Room
  • Ride the Westport House Express Train on the Lakeside Loop
  • Kids Making Memories (Christmas Decorations)
  • Train Ride into Town (make a full day of it and visit the delightful town of Westport.

Best recommendation I could make is that we will be back next Christmas to do it all again. Many thanks to Santa, the Elves and all the staff at Westport House for kick-starting Christmas in the Miles Household. Think it was a wonderful weekend to go to Westport House for the Winter Wonderland as it is the same weekend of the #LateLateToyShow so really in the mood for Christmas NOW!


Westport House:  http://www.westporthouse.ie/

Booking: http://www.westporthouse.ie/events-calendar/winter-wonderland/

Youtube: https://youtu.be/o6SOy4_hl0w

Tips for parents:

Make sure you wear your Christmas Jumpers and join in the fun, makes it more fun for the children if the parents are enjoying it too!

Just beware of the dark nights, and make sure the excited children are safely walking to the car park after their visit to see Santa.


Hope you enjoyed the blog, feel free to leave a message.