St. Patrick’s Day is the time when the whole world is painted in green and almost every nation celebrates the unique spirit and wit of the Irish people. The wisdom of the Irish has its applications in today’s online marketing world, if you’re willing to listen to the seanfhocail (wise old words).

Bloodshed in the theatre

In the middle of the 18th century an Irish playwright named Richard Ashton penned a rhyming tragedy about the famous Battle of Aughrim. It apparently was a wonderful and powerful play… however it was so powerful that it was only acted once and never again! The feuding factions of Jacobite and Williamite gentlemen in the audience were so excited by the warfare which was being portrayed on stage, that they drew their swords and attacked each other in a bloody conflagration. Appalled by the bloodshed in what should have been a venue of entertainment, the government banned any further production of the play.

As a social media marketer you are well aware that any content you post can lead to results which differ considerably from what was intended. You may be posting that content in order to provide information and entertainment only to discover at your horror that you’ve just sparked a war among the Pro and Con sides with your brand in the middle! Since you can’t just ban that content and make it disappear once it’s posted, you should be prepared to act as a peacemaker and an apologist. Contrition for any real or imagined ills is the best brand social media policy in times of hostilities.

Sober as a judge

Judge Boyd was an early 19th century Dublin judge who found it difficult to get through his judicial labors without help from a few swigs of brandy. He had actually crafted a large ink bottle to contain the liquor on his bench and would turn to drink it while hearing cases. One day when a defense counsel by the name of Harry Grady was attempting to prove that a witness then under examination had been intoxicated on a certain occasion, Judge Boyd addressed the man directly, ordering him to tell the court if he had been drunk or sober at that time. Grady glanced at the inkstand and stated “he was quite sober, my lord, as sober as a judge.”

When you tweet by free-association (whether intoxicated or not) on your brand account you can let loose the Furies of the evil leprechauns. Although spontaneous tweeting is generally prized, there have been too many cases where an ill-advised tweet has brought a major brand to its knees. All tweets should be moderated prior to posting to ensure that each reflects a brand policy that is “sober.”

Lawyers in Hell

The area where the Law Courts were built on the left bank of the river Liffey in Dublin was formally known as Christ Church Yard, but prior to that was home to The Lawyer’s Close which was home to various lawyers’ chambers and was entered by an archway on top of which was a demonic figure of Satan himself, sculptured in oak. In a city which had Cheater’s Lane, Cutpurse Lane, Cut-throat Alley, and Murdering Lane, Dubliners soon started referring to this area as Hell. This led to a famous advertisement in the Dublin morning newspaper: “To be let, furnished apartment in Hell. It is well suited to a lawyer.”

Has your brand set itself up in Hell? If you are a company which is engaged in activities which act as a lightning rod for online controversy which you (or your lawyers) cannot simply explain or apologize away you’ll be better off to turn your back to social media. If the overwhelming majority of the comments which are drawn by your brand online are negative and inflammatory, then you’re not getting any of the social media benefits and only burning in Hell… so you might as well retreat to more conventional, unilateral forms of heavenly promotion.

Mark St. Patty’s Day through your online marketing by noting the relevance of these time-honored Irish anecdotes. Go n-eiri an bothar leat! (Good luck!)