Winners of NI's first Social Media Awards announced

  • Photo: Harlso, The Balancing Hound is pictured accepting his award for Social Media Personality of the Year

    The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Hastings Hotels, the Irish Football Association (IFA) and a miniature dachshund from Belfast picked up prestigious accolades at the first ever Northern Ireland Social Media Awards.

    The awards aimed to shine a light on the local businesses, organisations and individuals excelling in social media marketing.

    There were 27 categories with the winners announced at a gala event in the Europa Hotel, hosted by local social media influencers Annette Kelly of Little Penny Thoughts and Shauna Rafferty.

    It was attended by 400 representatives from a host of industries including finance, tourism, education, government, retail, healthcare and fitness.

    Winning awards in the Best Use of Social Media Channel category were the Belfast Giantsfor Best Use of Twitter, Cool FM for Best Use of Facebook and the Bearded Candle Makersfor Best Use of Instagram.

    The PSNI picked up two awards – Social Media In-house Team of the Year and Best Social Media Campaign in Public Sector for its #NoGreyZone initiative, which aimed to raise awareness of what sexual assault and sexual consent.

    Northern Ireland’s largest independent hotel group, Hastings Hotels also won two awards for its 2018 Christmas Gift Card campaign - Best Social Media in Hospitality and Best Use of Social Media in Hospitality over a 10k following.

    Hannah Corbett, Laura McIntosh and Donna Barton from Hastings Hotels accept the award for Best Social Media Campaign in Hospitality from Naomi Bingham of Moira Cosmetic Dental. 

    Local tailor, Chris Suitor of Suitor Brothers won the award for Best Use of Social Media in Retail in the over 10k following with his close friends at Halo Healthy Kitchen winning the award in the under 10k following category.

    Social Media Personality of the Year went to Harlso the Balancing Hound, an Official Guinness World Record Amazing Animal, whose skills have earned him over 50 million views on his social media channels. The IFA picked up the Best Overall Use of Social Media award. 

    Speaking on behalf of the judges, Mark Wright, BBC Apprentice Winner and director of the UK’s fastest growing digital marketing agency, Climb Online, said: “Congratulations to all the finalists for getting shortlisted and to the winners of each category. We had a very hard job selecting the overall winners as there are so many businesses, organisations and individuals across Northern Ireland excelling in social media to achieve their goals.

    We were very impressed by the clear strategies in place to engage with audiences to keep them coming back; the impactful social messages to achieve standout in a crowded marketplace and those individuals delivering excellent results for their clients. Unfortunately, there could only be one overall winner in each category, but every person here tonight is definitely winning at their social media.”

    Founders of the inaugural NI Social Media Awards, Niamh Taylor of Digital 24 and Caroline O’Neill, owner of DIGG For Success and DIGG Childrenswear added: “We were truly overwhelmed by the response to the first year of the awards and would like to extend our congratulations to the winners and finalists.

    "Thank you to our fabulous sponsors as the awards wouldn’t have happened without their support and to our expert panel of independent judges for giving up their time to go through over 300 entries and selecting the stars of Northern Ireland’s social media marketing.”

    Individual category sponsors include Bellamianta Luxury Tan, Tayto, Boost Drinks, Íon Distillery and BNL Productions.


    Fiona Williamson and Lee McArdle from the Police Service of Northern Ireland accept the award for Social Media In-House Team of the Year from Emma Miller of Dollybird Interiors. 

    FULL LIST OF WINNERS: 

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA   

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN RETAIL (Under 10k following)
    Sponsored by Schweppes
    Winner: Halo Healthy Kitchen

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN RETAIL (Over 10k following)
    Sponsored by Mid Ulster Auctions
    Winner: Suitor Brothers

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN FITNESS
    Sponsored by Body Fit Mums
    Winner: Sam Conley Fitness

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN HEALTHCARE (Under 10k following)
    Sponsored by Absolute Protection
    Winner: Zen Orthodontics

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN HEALTHCARE (Over 10k following)
    Sponsored by Flower Walls NI
    Winner: The Academy Masterplan

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN HAIR / BEAUTY (Under 10k following)
    Sponsored by C&C Boutique
    Winner: Surgery Hair

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN HAIR / BEAUTY (Over 10k following)
    Sponored by The Skin Health Clinic
    Winner: Olivia Muldoon Hair & Makeup

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN SERVICE / B2B (Under 10k following)
    Sponsored by Bradley Henderson Photography
    Winner: Fathom
    Runner-up: Niamh McAuley (Purple Dot)

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN SERVICE / B2B (Over 10k following)
    Sponsored by Insta Belfast
    Winner: News 360 – Leona O’Neill

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN HOSPITALITY (Under 10k following)
    Sponsored by Changing Events
    Winner: AJS Promotions – The Blind Cobbler
    Runner-up: White Horse Saintfield

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN HOSPITALITY (Over 10k following)
    Sponsored by ION Distillery
    Winner: Hastings Hotels
    Runner-up: Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CHARITY
    Sponsored by DIGG Childrenswear
    Winner: Christian Fellowship Church
    Runner-up: Centred South-Health & Wellbeing for all the Family

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

    BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN IN PUBLIC SECTOR
    Sponsored by Beautiful Balloons Cookstown
    Winner: PSNI - #NoGreyZone
    Runner-up: Department of Finance

    BEST SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN IN RETAIL
    Sponsored by Cloughbane Farm
    Winner:  Jack Murphy Jewellers
    Runner-up: KES Group

    BEST SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN IN HOSPITALITY / EVENTS
    Sponsored by Moira Cosmetic Dental
    Winner: Hastings Hotels
    Runner-up: David Meade (Run DMG)

    BEST USE OF A SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL

    BEST USE OF TWITTER
    Winner: Belfast Giants

    BEST USE OF FACEBOOK
    Winner: Cool FM
    Runner-up: Property Pal

    BEST USE OF INSTAGRAM  
    Winner: Bearded Candle Makers
    Runner-up: Style Edit

    INFLUENCER / BLOGGER

    BEST INFLUENCER / BLOGGER CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
    Winner: Jack Murphy Jewellers
    Runner-up: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

    HAIR / BEAUTY INFLUENCER/BLOGGER OF THE YEAR
    Sponsored by International Beauty Ireland
    Winner: Louise McDonnell (LMD)

    FITNESS INFLUENCER/BLOGGER OF THE YEAR
    Sponsored by Cuba Clothing
    Winner: Maeve Madden

    FASHION INFLUENCER/BLOGGER OF THE YEAR
    Sponsored by Room 7
    Winner: Oh So Femme

    Lifestyle Influencer/Blogger of the Year
    Sponsored by Jack Murphy Jewellers
    Winner: Anna Corry (Blossomingbirds)

    PARENTING INFLUENCER/BLOGGER OF THE YEAR
    Sponsored by Bumble and Bee
    Winner: Sara Holland Co

    HOME INFLUENCER/BLOGGER OF THE YEAR
    Sponsored by Creative Stone & Tile
    Winner: Inside Number 16

    SOCIAL MEDIA PERSON / TEAM OF THE YEAR

    SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETER OF THE YEAR
    Sponsored by Bellamianta Luxury Tan
    Winner: Lana Richardson – Property Pal
    Runner-up: Sinead McKeever – SM Marketing

    SOCIAL MEDIA FREELANCER OF THE YEAR
    Winner: Run DMG
    Runner-up: Paul Malone

    SOCIAL MEDIA IN-HOUSE TEAM OF THE YEAR
    Sponsored by Dollybird Interiors
    Winner: Police Service of Northern Ireland
    Runner-up: Galgorm Resort & Spa

    SOCIAL MEDIA AGENCY TEAM OF THE YEAR
    Winner: MXB

    OVERALL SOCIAL MEDIA EXCELLENCE

    SOCIAL MEDIA PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
    Sponsored by Tayto
    Winner: Harlso The Balancing Hound

    MOST INNOVATIVE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
    Sponsored by BNL Productions
    Winner: Hover Hubs

    BEST OVERALL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
    Sponsored by Boost Drinks
    Winner: Irish Football Association

    Andy McComb and John Gillespie from the Irish Football Association accept the award for Best Overall Use of Social Media from Lucy Manby of Boost Drinks. 

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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