The National Ploughing Championships 2014 – Social Media Analysis

by Stephen O'Leary on 26/09/14

 

Ploughing Word Cloud

This week thousands of people descended upon Co. Laois to attend the National Ploughing Championships. The event, which is in its 83rd year, is the largest outdoor event in Europe and one of the largest agricultural events in the world.

But, it is not just all about ploughing, tractors and farm animals – like any major event, social media now plays an important role. At Olytico, we monitored and analysed online conversations over the past week to see what people had to say about Ploughing 2014.

The National Ploughing Association used the hashtag #Ploughing, and their Twitter account @NPAIE was another key search term. Other hashtags included #Ploughing2014 and #Ploughing14.

Use of Social Media

As the Championships have grown over the years so too has the online conversations and mentions of the event. Over the past three days, mentions of the ploughing totalled 10,843, with Wednesday being the peak day for online (social) mentions.

But how were people using social media are what were they talking about online?

Anticipation and Enjoyment

This year was a record breaking one for the National Ploughing Championships with the attendance figures reaching 279,500 over the course of the three days. This was reflected in the sentiment expressed by those online. Throughout the event people commented and shared how they enjoyed the activities over the days. For some the Championships are a date of note in their calendars – they share memories and reminisce about previous years and the good times they had.

 

 

Brands & Exhibitions

This year there was in excess of 1,400 exhibitors and brands at the event. In the build to and during the event brands utilised social media, particularly Twitter to promote their presence and also create awareness about their activities at the Ploughing. In particular, brands who had interactive and engaging activities (demos, competitions, etc) drove higher levels of conversation across social networks.

 

Truly Irish

 

Odlums

AIB

 

Done Deal

 

SuperValu

 

 

Weather & Wellies

In Ireland you can be sure to be involved in at least one conversation on a daily basis about the weather – during the Ploughing Championships it was no different and this conversation was taken online.

 

With the combinations of it being outdoors and Ireland’s weather being unpredictable by nature, people had one burning question – to welly or not?

 

Travel and Traffic

With attendance reaching into the high thousands inevitably there were a number of conversations online about how to get to the event and how long it takes to get there.

 

Pestaurant

One of the more unusual exhibitions at the event was the Rentokil ‘Pestaurant’ stand.

The host of edible insect delights on offer certainly was a talking point online:

 

Free Stuff and Competitions

Many exhibitors offer free samples or goodies as part of the activities at their stands.  A number of attendees talk about and share some of the treats and goodies they received over the days.

 

 

National Brown Bread Baking Competition

One of the major attractions of the event are the cooking demonstrations – these interactive exhibits showcase not only the talents of some of the best Irish chefs but also the quality of Irish food products.
In particular this years’ Brown Bread Baking Competition in association with Irish Countrywoman’s Association and the National Ploughing Championship and sponsored by Aldi gained a lot of interest online.

There could only be one winner – congratulations Betty Williams:


The National Ploughing Championships are a unique part of Irish culture and heritage, and could be considered one of the most traditional events in Ireland. However, this tradition is now mixing with social media as event organisers and exhibitors realise the potential of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Message Boards, Forums and a variety of other platforms. Indeed, attendees have now come to expect social media to be a key part of their ‘live’ experiences.

Nowhere was this juxtaposition of the traditional and the modern more evident than in the example of the Labour Party, who in addition to sending Tweets from the Championship, and updating their Facebook page with news, also shared photographs through Flickr, the photo sharing network. There is no doubt that the National Ploughing Championships are an important event for all political parties – with a lot of energy and resources invested. On social media at least, it would appear Labour had the greatest impact.

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