Sometimes Social Media is useless, go where your customers are

Would it be better to Tweet about it?
Would it be better to Tweet about it?

I saw this sign recently and thought to myself, ‘Fair play to the publican for making an effort’.

Clonmore is a village in Co. Tipperary about 6km from Templemore. As far as I know there’s only one pub in it ‘Fitzpatrick’s’ and this is where Eamon McCann was playing.

The publican could just sit around and complain about the death of rural pubs and give out about the drink driving laws, politicians etc.

Instead he’s being proactive and fighting for every last customer. I don’t know if made the signs and hung them up himself. I don’t think it matters.

Now some would say that maybe he should set up a Facebook Fanpage, a Twitter account, video the bands and put them on YouTube (see update below), start a blog and all the rest of it.

For what? To become the expert on Country Music bands playing in Clonmore?

It wouldn’t matter how many followers or fans he had, the profile of a typical Eamon McCann fan from Tipperary does not have a Twitter account. The book they are most likely to be absorbed in, is a bingo book father than Facebook. So rather than waste time learning all about these new tools and using them to no avail he uses a simple, but effective  marketing tool aimed at his prospective audience.

The simplicity of the design is pure brilliance. It answers all the important questions, who? what? where? when? The placement of the signs at junctions and entrances to surrounding towns and villages  ensures that anyone in the area that would be interested in whatever country band is playing will know about it.

The fact that he’s not using Social Media also means that he can engage and connect with his customers when they are in his premises rather than having his head buried in a laptop or handheld device.

I’m not dismissing Social Media as an effective tool for business. God knows I use it enough myself. But it irks me when I read that it is the only way. It’s more about knowing your customer and going where they are.

A classic example of this is the complete absense of any Irish Google Ads when you search for ‘Farming Ireland’ or ‘Agriculture Ireland’. (When I mentioned this via Twitter, it was suggested, rather brazenly, that farmers didn’t have any money to buy anything that was advertised.) I can’t think of any other industry, big or small, where there isn’t some kind of bidding war over industry specific keywords.

I delved deeper into the ‘long tail’. Searches for ‘calf nuts’, ‘dairy milk substitute suckler calves’ ‘artificial insemination cattle sheep’ still yielded no results. Don’t even ask me where those terms came from. As The Breffmeister might say “They were in my brain waiting to come out”

Why wasn’t anyone targetting all the farmers in the country online? Maybe they just don’t go online.  How do you target them? Go where they go. Newspapers, Magazines, TV, Radio, The Mart, The Ploughing Championships.

There’s a vast segment of the population who never have and never will go online let alone engage with Social Media. Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket, you reap what you sew, make hay while the sun shines (ok, no more). If you are succeeding in business through your online activity alone, keep it up.

But if you are finding it hard to get new customers and seem to have exhausted all online efforts, maybe it’s time you tried something new.


Since writing this I’ve come across a YouTube video with Finbar Dennehy playing in Clonmore (see below). It’s not by the publican himself but who knows, maybe it might start a trend.

When I was a millionaire

Way back when I was a millionaire I spent the Summer on the Cote D’Azur in the South of France. Long days passed basking in the Mediterranean sunshine, swimming in the warm, clear blue waters of the Cap d’Antibes. I brushed shoulders with movie stars at the Cannes Film Festival and made numerous excursions to Monte Carlo, the playground of the rich and famous.

I did some work while I was there, an hour in the morning and an hour, sometimes two, at night. Not every day, but as much as was required to keep my businesses going. That was back in the early 90’s when there weren’t too many millionaires in Ireland. Life was good. I hadn’t a care in the World.

Recently I read a copy of Tim Ferris’ bestseller ‘The Four Hour Workweek’ as recommended to me originally by James Kennedy at Bizcamp Limerick.

It brought to mind my Summer in Nice living the millionaire lifestyle.

Technically speaking I wasn’t actually a millionaire. I merely lived the life of one.

Yes, I lived in the sunny South of France and did all those things I mentioned earlier. I did the things that a lot of us fantasize about doing if we won the lotto. The only difference being I hadn’t a million pounds. Not even close to it. In fact I was pretty much penniless. The business I had which required an hour of my time each morning required no training and very little skill or technical knowledge.

For an hour each morning along the Promenade Des Anglais I set up camp and washed car windscreens at the traffic lights. During that hour I earned, on average, more than I did for a days work in my previous job as a trainee accountant in Mullingar. Granted the career prospects were less appealing, but the hours were great. And you got a break every time the lights turned green.

My night time job was a little more glamorous. I had conceived the idea and being confident that it would work, I handed in my notice in the Brasserie where I had worked as a barman for 3 weeks. Then I planned to find an Art student to carry out my plan. A chance encounter by my flatmate with some Irish girls on my last day at work proved very fruitful. We were invited to a party in their flat that night and as luck would have it, one of them had done Art in college. I kid you not.

I bought a Polaroid camera and borrowed a sheet of plywood from a building site. The girls set to work and painted one of those things you put your head through to have photos taken (the photo below explains better:)). I set up shop each night in Marche Aux Fleurs, the centre of night life in Nice. There were several other street traders and entertainers. I charged 40 Francs (about £4 at the time) a photo (10 francs if you used your own camera). Each photo sheet cost around 5 francs if I remember rightly. At the end of the Summer when I was returning home I sold the board to a pub for 200 Francs.

Anyone for a holiday photo momento?
Anyone for a holiday photo momento?
The painting nearly completed
The painting nearly completed

It wasn’t very a very glamorous way to make a living. Although I did meet Goldie Hawn while trying to sell her a photo. Of course I didn’t realise it was her at first, until I stood back with arms folded and said ‘Jasus, do ya know something? You’re the spitting image of Goldie Hawn’. When she ran off into the crowd then I realised my missed photo opportunity.

About 2 weeks later after accompanying some friends to the airport I saw a fella who looked just like Bono pass me going into the airport. Get a grip on yourself Derry I said to myself, just cause you met Goldie recently doesn’t mean they’re all famous. A few later I got a thank you letter from my friends with following photo enclosed.

The time I nearly met Bono.
The time I nearly met Bono.

Anyhow, why am I telling you all this? I’m not sure myself. I think I’m re-evaluating my modus operandi. I quiet like  the thoughts of having more free time to play with the kids and romance my wife. I was never into flash cars or having the latest fashion (although I do like gadgets) or building the biggest house. I enjoy my work, so much so that it doesn’t seem like work, but it still has to be done. And that does take up my time. I like the idea of outsourcing and it’s something I will be trying to implement more and more of. With all the technology currently available it is possible to run a business from anywhere.

Then maybe I will be able to spend another full Summer in the South of France with my young family while only having to work a few hours a day. But not washing windscreens or selling photos.

Oh social meeja, social, social, social, socialmeeja

I was driving on the motorway recently at about 1 or 2am. As you can imagine it was quiet deserted and relaxing to drive on. To keep myself alert and awake I decided to write a song. Or should I say write new words for an existing song. I had used the same song many years ago while living in Paris and rewrote it for a party piece. Anyhow, this time around it’s based around social media in Ireland. I’ve mentioned names and websites that just fit into the lyrics or rhyme or just popped into my head at the time. So don’t feel left out if you’re not included but you can buy me a pint if you are 🙂

To give you a reminder of the air of the song play the video below

How’s it goin’ there everybody,
From LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter tonight.
Here I am in my old armchair
Is there anyone else online out there?
There’s my profile and my avatar
My last blog post didn’t get too far,
MySpace Bebo, it’s all uphill,
Years gone by, I’m learnin’ still.
Tweets and tweople everywhere.
If it’s Twitter you want,
You should go to Claire.


Oh, Socialmeeja
Social, social, social, socialmeeja

Everybody needs a break,
Go talk shop or cook a steak.
Open coffee in lots of places,
You’ll always see familiar faces.
Others go to de-stress in France,
Visit Bizcamp if you get the chance.
Some people just love uploading,
Others could spend all day coding.
Blog awards come round each year,
I’ll win some time if I persevere.
Some jet off to ….. California
But I always go to Socialmeeja


I always tweet on a Thursday night,
With me beer and me laptop screen upright.
I like to hit Facebook,
In around Friday afternoon.
This gives me time to get my thoughts together,
I don’t want to update about the weather.
Stumble upon or Digg it out,
You’d never know what it’s all about!
There’s a Dutchman who likes LinkedIn,
And a Peter that does landscaping.
And there’s Tommy, Bernie and Pat Fitzgerald,
Twittering photos all over the World.
Foley, Hookie and Rick O’Shea
On the radio every day.


The multitudes, they flocked in throngs
Sharing videos and songs.
Facebook pages, get some fans.
With prizes, raffles, whatever you can.
Mighty craic, grumpy bollix,
Marketeers and followerolics.
Udoo, Igo and Krishna De,
Free API and the fail whale.
Connector nights and Twestivals,
I don’t seem to have any ‘normal’ pals.
Tweetups, Twineups, they’re here to stay
Britney put that thing away!
There’s YouTube, Podcasts, Loud reviews
Qik, Twitpic all citizen news.
Who’s following me, who’s following them.
This is heaven, social media hell
Who cares? Who can tell?
(Anyone for the 1000th follower now?)


What happened then it made me frown,
A Denial of Service meant the site was down.
Mafia wars I will not play,
Don’t invite me now, please stay away.


And then I just got tired and decided it was time to stop. So if you feel like finishing the song or adding lines, whatever, be my guest.

This video caught my eye while getting the other one and I had to put it in. What with Arthurs Day and all that. You know yourself