Confessions of a social media manager: Paddy Power on acting as a news feed, Oasis, and Donald Trump's manhood

PRWeek's series on social media managers profiles those lucky folk on the comms front line for some of Britain's biggest brands and organisations. Next up, Paddy Power...

It's fair to say Paddy Power takes an original approach to PR and marketing. If there was one brand that Twitter suited best – with its boundless opportunities for promotion to, and interaction with, the public – the Irish betting behemoth would surely be it.

For that reason, it would have been a crime to leave Paddy Power out of our Confessions of a social media manager series:

Name: Martin Hynes

Job title: Social media support team leader

My typical day involves…

The role requires the management of a team of 12 fantastic people that deal with traditional customer support (CS) contacts (phone, live chat, email), as well as social media, predominately through @AskPaddyPower on Twitter.

The first objective is to make sure the team have the information available and feel empowered to deal with the daily customer contact we face. In a fast-paced environment in which new products, promotions and markets are added frequently, we need run different internal programmes to maintain strong product knowledge. This enables us to take a more proactive approach regarding potential contact drivers, for example a 'heads up' tweet. Our customers are smart, they’ll regularly search for an update first and if we can make life that bit easier, that’s what it’s all about. For example:

I also feed back customer contact trends and suggestions to stakeholders. If it impacts the customer, the business wants to hear about it and will look to resolve it.

Which social media channels do you use for CS?

Twitter, Facebook and to a lesser extent Instagram.

Although the brand has a very strong and engaging presence on Facebook, the vast majority of this engagement will not be related to customer contact queries. The social marketing team are working wonders on Instagram also, so as engagement and follower count increases, we are monitoring this for customer-related queries and can respond to those if necessary.

Which channels work best for the brand & why?

Twitter is the best and busiest channel for CS. The customer base/following is very reactive to goings-on in the world of sport and entertainment, as it acts as a real-time news feed and caters for the curious and speculative punter. The @PaddyPower account is on top of any news story; if there are requests on the back of this we monitor the contacts so we’re on hand to jump in from @AskPaddyPower to answer those type of contacts.

My brand guidelines/restrictions are…

What we focus on is providing quick, concise, informative and personalised responses. We look to stay on brand and remain the punter’s pal, and enhance the customer’s experience rather than being seen as a traditional complaints avenue.

Common issues:

One common security issue is where a customer provides usernames and other personal details in the public domain when querying a particular issue. We’ll look to get them to delete them, provide a quick link to get us via direct message and get the issue sorted from there.

What makes a good social media team leader?

I’ve asked the guys on the team to answer this, but they can’t actually put it into words... I jest. I think it’s the simple things: set the expectations from the start; we’re the customer's friend and let’s act accordingly. I look to cultivate the 'customer first' culture, and social is a big part of this.

I also constantly look for feedback from the team and implement those suggestions; this in itself creates a strong team culture and helps increase collaboration across multiple teams.

Best experience…

I can’t nail a particular one down, but the most satisfaction I get is when a customer has reacted positively to an interaction with us. Our first port of call is to action the customer’s request or provide the answer, but we should always be making this experience as positive as possible. The guys on the team have the licence to make of that what they will (within reason) and it’s a job well done if we’ve achieved both objectives. For example:

Worst experience:

Thankfully nothing too outrageous - which is not what you want to hear - but we often get flak for what the @PaddyPower account has posted. When we remarked on Cristiano Ronaldo's, let’s say, 'softer' side before Euro 2016 and Portugal went on to win it, the Portuguese public weren’t afraid to publicly (and privately) give us a piece of their mind. I can’t be 100 per cent sure what they were saying, but it definitely wasn’t a technical issue.

On occasion it is possible to tweet the wrong account. Not this wrong though, surely:

Unusual experiences

All it takes is a little murmuring in the press and the price requests will follow. Within the CS social team it takes a bit to surprise us in terms of price requests but after almost confirming with a customer we couldn’t offer a price on the size of Donald Trump’s manhood, another customer joined the conversation (with a link to the site) advising it was already available to back: four inches or less at 50/1. Sometimes the work will be done for us.


Read next: 

Confessions of a social media manager: Morrisons on avoiding politics, complaining lizards and 'the doughnut thing'

Confessions of a social media manager: TfL on helping passengers and 'being human'


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