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Irish Railway Model Enthusiasts - facebook page

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Bumble_Bee
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Apologies if this sort of post isn't allowed on the forum, but I would like to share this. 

 

The last few days/weeks I've seen here and on facebook, people mentioning that they are unsure of how the likes of Murphy Models will be gauging interest for how many units to make for upcoming runs, with people expressing concern about maybe missing out because of limited numbers being made again. 

I can understand that back in the 90s etc, it would have been difficult to gauge interest in irish railway models, but in todays social media age I believe it would be easier than ever. 

I understand that MM and IRM for example have their own facebook pages, as do other manufacturers, and they can maybe use these to get an idea of interest, however I would personally like to add a bit more 'science' to it. 

 

To that end, I have created a facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Irish-Railway-Model-Enthusiasts-104105321748403

 

The aims of the page are the following:

1 - To reach as many irish railway modellers as possible, so that companies can use these numbers as a gauge of interest. (not the number of likes on the page, but participation in polls etc run by the page, as this allows for a more accurate guesstimate of interest)

 

2 - To raise the profile of Irish prototypes in other parts of the world, that can be reached on social media, which would further drive demand. This will show companies that its not just a handful of lads on a wee island in the atlantic that want these models, but that potential is there for a larger market. It will be particularly important to get momentum going in the UK and the US given their already large model railway markets. 

 

3 - To be completely neutral. The page would aim to work with companies to gather information for releases by running polls etc and gauging interest, however the page would not accept sponsorships or advertising from any company. There will be no favouritism or hate thrown towards any model railway manufacturer, the aim is to raise awareness and raise ideas etc, not to do reviews on existing products. We would also like the page to become a 'two way street' in the sense that as well as companies being able to gauge interest, people can pitch ideas to the manufacturers (the method by which this will be done is yet to be decided, but I was thinking perhaps something like monthly polls where folks can add their own suggestions and vote, and the winner of each poll vote can be presented as an official 'suggestion' to the various manufacturers.) 

 

4 - To push the case for more RTR Irish models, in under-represented areas (such as steam, or NIR for example). Don't get me wrong, kit builds are great and this forum showcases that well, there are tonnes of talented people making awesome kits, however, the reality is that most model railway folks are not at that level, and more RTR models on the market will be extremely important for getting people involved in the hobby who may not have the skills to make brass kits yet, everyone starts somewhere afterall.

 

5 - To build on point 4, to brainstorm and suggest ways for accurate entry level models to be made. (No I am not talking about Hornby doing their orange hymeks or anything like that lol), I am talking about, for example, a railroad level locomotive that is representative of a real Irish prototype. This step is super important for getting the next generation involved. It may also be a way for certain manufacturers to dip their toe into the Irish market and see what happens.  

 

At the moment, the page is very sparse as I have only just set it up, but if we can get interest going and get it growing, then in my view it would be a great way to show companies that there IS in fact more of a market for it than they realise. My nightmare would be for MM for example to underestimate interest and only produce very small numbers of the announced stock, only for it to be hoarded and flogged on Ebay in a few years time for extortionate prices. Would it not be better for everyone involved to have accurate expressions of interest so that supply can meet demand? 

This of course relies on community support and engagement, so if anyone here is interest please feel free to give the page a like and to share it with people who will be interested. Also if anyone has suggestions or ideas for the page please let me know. 

I know model railway manufacturers work months and years ahead, so it is unlikely that this push will see any immediate results because most companies are probably already working on their 2022 and 2023 products, but we can use this time to build momentum and get involved. 

So what do you think? :) 

 

 

(PS - I would also like to say in case it is brought up, this page is in no way designed to be 'competition' to any other group on facebook, or to these IRM forums. Unlike these groups and forum, it is designed to be as neutral as possible and as public as possible, because I hope to raise awareness and ideas rather than building a group or community as exists on this forum and various facebook groups. The groups and the forums are fantastic, but very different to what I am envisioning with this public page. )

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Hi Bumble Bee,

Would the best place to discuss these topics not be this very forum, as Bosko suggests above? Facebook is littered with countless groups which means conversations get diluted and lost rather quickly. And here on the forum you already have the facility to host a neutral/non-biased discussion while also having a direct line to a manufacturer. :)

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Hi folks thanks for the likes and comments so far. 

 

I agree that this forum is a great place to host discussions, however my main aim with it is to raise the profile of Irish prototypes worldwide and get more people interested and involved. 

To this end, I believe that while forums are amazing for what they are, the simple fact is that to find it, someone would have to type in 'irish railway modeller' into their search engine and find it, but as much as we hate it, facebook is on most of our computers and our phones, so its much easier to reach people there. 

I do not envision the facebook page becoming a place of in depth discussion or sharing hobby tips etc, thats what this forum does best, rather I would like it to create excitement and raise awareness. 

The page will not take away from any other group, or this forum, but add to them. It might be the first thing people see, and from there they can be directed to here. 

As an example, a young american diesel modeller isn't going to be googling 'irish railway modelling' but if they see a post come across their facebook feed they might think 'huh that looks pretty interesting' and want to learn more. 

In terms of links with IRM/Accurascale, I am putting together a list of companies who currently offer Irish railway model products and will be posting that on the page for people to see, and I welcome being able to work together but I hope you can understand my intentions behind this are not to go behind anyones back so to speak but rather inspire other companies to get involved also. There are afterall tonnes of irish prototypes that have not yet been modelled, so there is plenty of room in the market.

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But by that logic there are already Irish railway model groups on Facebook with thousands of members? This forum is one of the oldest communities of Irish model enthusiasts online, and in addition to 1500 registered members, serves over 4 million pages a day of content to people interested in Irish models. Starting a new group from scratch seems duplication :) You'll also find a list of services and manufacturers here.

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18 minutes ago, BosKonay said:

But by that logic there are already Irish railway model groups on Facebook with thousands of members? This forum is one of the oldest communities of Irish model enthusiasts online, and in addition to 1500 registered members, serves over 4 million pages a day of content to people interested in Irish models. Starting a new group from scratch seems duplication :) You'll also find a list of services and manufacturers here.

I understand what you mean but I also feel like there is misunderstanding between a facebook group and a facebook page. 

Yes there are groups on fb with 1000s of members each, however they are all different. 

IRM for example as you say has this forum with 1500 registered members. However another manufacturer might look at a group on facebook and think 'oh theres only 800 people interested in this' and not bother when they are missing the larger groups. 

A page means that everyone can 'like' it and if everyone from every group liked it, it would be a wider representation of the irish railway modelling scene rather than just using a single source. It is not duplication because it is a fundamentally different aim. 

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The primary objective of the Facebook page as stated to promote Irish Railway Modeling to a wider market and to help with measuring interest in RTR models.  I would be inclined to be supportive of that because I wonder if it wouldn't have greater reach than this forum. Personally my interest in Irish Models was sparked by the MM/Bachmann trainset when I saw it in a store here in the US about eighteen years ago. But I was completely unaware of this forum until about 2017 when I discovered it by accident.  This forum is invaluable there is no disputing that but 1500 members is a very small club and the actual number of really active members seems to be a small percentage of those 1500, so are we really reaching the potential audience and can we really gauge potential etc. on that? 

This forum and the Facebook page can be complementary so let's give it our support.

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Nice idea and I for one understand your motivation Bumble Bee. However I personally have never accessed any 'social media' (Facebook, etc.) and NEVER will. The whole of so-called 'social media' is in my opinion a sea of sh*t that I would rather avoid. Is it really the case that someone in Thailand who suddenly wants to build a model of say Wexford would not 'Google' MODEL IRISH TRAINS and find this marvelous site? Dilution of resources is often not the best way forward. Polls have been carried out on this site and resources are already listed.

All that said, I wish you good luck with your project. LM 

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Just to note, Facebook for example, doesn't seem to show an independent Irish model railway page high up in the search results, so there is definitely an opening to create one.

Facebook opens up access to a much much wider audience than the website ever will - Facebook is almost like a giant closed version of the internet.

However, the flip side is that unless you're prepared to put in a lot of work in manually sharing posts (trust me, I know how much work it takes with sharing posts about rehoming animals), or prepared to pay to have Facebook share your posts, there will be no visibility.

What is your plan regarding the Facebook page, long term?

What sort of audience figures do you expect over what time intervals, and what will you do to reach those goals?

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Actually the forum itself has a Facebook page that is regularly updated with forum content, Twitter too https://www.facebook.com/irishrailwaymodeller

I get the idea of a page instead of a forum, but I dont get the purpose. How many Irish models should IRM and Murphy Models be making every year? We brought out a number of wagons last year and the 121 came out and we were asked by a good few customers to slow down, if anything and let the wallets cool. Both IRM and Murphy Models do a massive amount of PR to promote our models and the hobby (like this forum, magazines both physical and online content) attend exhibitions when we can of course both here and in the UK. We also participate on the likes of RMWeb, Facebook groups various and Twitter, provided models for the Late Late Toy Show and worked with the mainstream media for articles on the hobby. Then there is the efforts in SEO optimisation and search terms for optimised performance on Google. 

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts shared here too on stuff like above, and what you think can be improved to promote the hobby? 

Thanks,

Fran

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/1111393745593442/ Railway modellers Ireland has 2.2k members, 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1891729351153157/ Model Railway Enthusiasts Ireland has 728 members

https://www.facebook.com/groups/244994963227832/ Railway modellers in Ireland has another 489

https://www.facebook.com/groups/318749555716842/ Railway modelling Ireland has 889

and there are other pages and groups for trading, buy and sell, regional groups, etc.

and as @Warbonnetjust posted, this forums page has 1333 followers.

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29 minutes ago, Lambeg man said:

Nice idea and I for one understand your motivation Bumble Bee. However I personally have never accessed any 'social media' (Facebook, etc.) and NEVER will. The whole of so-called 'social media' is in my opinion a sea of sh*t that I would rather avoid. Is it really the case that someone in Thailand who suddenly wants to build a model of say Wexford would not 'Google' MODEL IRISH TRAINS and find this marvelous site? Dilution of resources is often not the best way forward. Polls have been carried out on this site and resources are already listed.

All that said, I wish you good luck with your project. LM 

Have to agree, LM - I try and avoid the UNSocial media as much as I can.

Despite Provincial Wagons not having a Facebook page, we come up on Page 2 of the replies to your "Google" query above -

in good company with IRM, MM, Silverfox and Marks Models.

A month ago, a guy in Illinois found my website - and he was looking for connections to the Titanic It turns out that one of            John Milligen's coal wagons (which is on my site) was photographed alongside the ship as she was being built.

Quod erat demonstrandum?

Or, as an even better Man said "SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND!"

Like you, I wish the guy well, but not for me, thanks.

LM (the other one!)

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I think that @Bumble_Bee is referring more to FB pages than FB groups.

FB Groups are almost like internet fora, whereas FB pages are like owner-operated websites with a lot less user interaction.

The main reason to have a page is for promotion, not so much for discussion, but building an audience requires work and / or costs money.

There needs to be an incentive to do so.

I can only assume that Bumble would be on there several times a day, publishing information, articles etc, and investing a couple of hours in sharing these in order to boost popularity.

 

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15 minutes ago, DJ Dangerous said:

I think that @Bumble_Bee is referring more to FB pages than FB groups.

FB Groups are almost like internet fora, whereas FB pages are like owner-operated websites with a lot less user interaction.

The main reason to have a page is for promotion, not so much for discussion, but building an audience requires work and / or costs money.

There needs to be an incentive to do so.

I can only assume that Bumble would be on there several times a day, publishing information, articles etc, and investing a couple of hours in sharing these in order to boost popularity.

 

I totally get that. If it's the promotion of the hobby then that is great, the more the better. 

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52 minutes ago, Warbonnet said:

Actually the forum itself has a Facebook page that is regularly updated with forum content, Twitter too https://www.facebook.com/irishrailwaymodeller

I get the idea of a page instead of a forum, but I dont get the purpose. How many Irish models should IRM and Murphy Models be making every year? We brought out a number of wagons last year and the 121 came out and we were asked by a good few customers to slow down, if anything and let the wallets cool. Both IRM and Murphy Models do a massive amount of PR to promote our models and the hobby (like this forum, magazines both physical and online content) attend exhibitions when we can of course both here and in the UK. We also participate on the likes of RMWeb, Facebook groups various and Twitter, provided models for the Late Late Toy Show and worked with the mainstream media for articles on the hobby. Then there is the efforts in SEO optimisation and search terms for optimised performance on Google. 

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts shared here too on stuff like above, and what you think can be improved to promote the hobby? 

Thanks,

Fran

Hi Fran thanks for your comment, 

I understand and appreciate the work that MM and IRM have done for the hobby over the years, its honestly second to none. My reasoning behind the page isn't because I think you folks aren't doing enough or anything like that at all. 

I feel that there has been a fundamental misunderstanding from folks over the intentions of the page. I am not by any means trying to lobby MM or IRM into doing more. Instead I want to raise the profile of Irish prototypes to people who may not have seen them before, and also to show that there are gaps in the market currently not filled by any model manufacturer. 

I understand that you all work hard to promote your products and to work with your audience, but my point is more about creating a more general audience. The options for RTR Irish diesel era modellers have been served well by MM and IRM over the years, however we can see a growing number of folks interested in steam era stock and also more modern interests like the DMU fleets. 

Orange diesels are fantastic, but Irish railway history is far more diverse than that, and I would like to promote that more in the hopes that someone is inspired to make those types of models. 

I am no marketing expert, nor do I have experience with manufacturing processes, I am just someone with an idea for something new to try. 

That said, I am willing to bet any amount of money, that the first company to make a commercially available and reasonably priced (to todays standards), ready to run GNR(i) V 'Merlin' model will make a killing. As the flagship loco to so much of Irelands preservation history, I am sure we can all agree that it would be wanted by anyone and everyone with even a vague interest in irish railway modelling. 

I understand that social media is not for everyone, I personally hate it too, however one cannot deny the power that is has in modern society. To answer some other comments raised, there is no 'dilution', a page is a completely separate idea to a 'group' and completely separate to a 'forum'. I understand that not everyone has a lot of experience with social media, so I do not blame anyone for the misunderstanding, however it is fundamentally different in aim and audience. 

Perhaps I should have phrased my initial post better, I honestly did not think it would bring so much confusion and I apologize. 

1 hour ago, DJ Dangerous said:

I think that @Bumble_Bee is referring more to FB pages than FB groups.

FB Groups are almost like internet fora, whereas FB pages are like owner-operated websites with a lot less user interaction.

The main reason to have a page is for promotion, not so much for discussion, but building an audience requires work and / or costs money.

There needs to be an incentive to do so.

I can only assume that Bumble would be on there several times a day, publishing information, articles etc, and investing a couple of hours in sharing these in order to boost popularity.

 

Yes this is exactly my intention. 

Think of the page more of a way to reach new people rather than 'preaching to the choir' so to speak. ultimately I want to help promote Irish railway models and their real world history, and in doing so will inevitably help funnel new members to forums like this. 

I actually found this forum from facebook because I saw the new MM 121s advertised on Hattons page, which led me to the MM page which then led me to the IRM A class and then to this forum :) 

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15 minutes ago, Bumble_Bee said:

Hi Fran thanks for your comment, 

I understand and appreciate the work that MM and IRM have done for the hobby over the years, its honestly second to none. My reasoning behind the page isn't because I think you folks aren't doing enough or anything like that at all. 

I feel that there has been a fundamental misunderstanding from folks over the intentions of the page. I am not by any means trying to lobby MM or IRM into doing more. Instead I want to raise the profile of Irish prototypes to people who may not have seen them before, and also to show that there are gaps in the market currently not filled by any model manufacturer. 

I understand that you all work hard to promote your products and to work with your audience, but my point is more about creating a more general audience. The options for RTR Irish diesel era modellers have been served well by MM and IRM over the years, however we can see a growing number of folks interested in steam era stock and also more modern interests like the DMU fleets. 

Orange diesels are fantastic, but Irish railway history is far more diverse than that, and I would like to promote that more in the hopes that someone is inspired to make those types of models. 

I am no marketing expert, nor do I have experience with manufacturing processes, I am just someone with an idea for something new to try. 

That said, I am willing to bet any amount of money, that the first company to make a commercially available and reasonably priced (to todays standards), ready to run GNR(i) V 'Merlin' model will make a killing. As the flagship loco to so much of Irelands preservation history, I am sure we can all agree that it would be wanted by anyone and everyone with even a vague interest in irish railway modelling. 

I understand that social media is not for everyone, I personally hate it too, however one cannot deny the power that is has in modern society. To answer some other comments raised, there is no 'dilution', a page is a completely separate idea to a 'group' and completely separate to a 'forum'. I understand that not everyone has a lot of experience with social media, so I do not blame anyone for the misunderstanding, however it is fundamentally different in aim and audience. 

Perhaps I should have phrased my initial post better, I honestly did not think it would bring so much confusion and I apologize. 

Yes this is exactly my intention. 

Think of the page more of a way to reach new people rather than 'preaching to the choir' so to speak. ultimately I want to help promote Irish railway models and their real world history, and in doing so will inevitably help funnel new members to forums like this. 

I actually found this forum from facebook because I saw the new MM 121s advertised on Hattons page, which led me to the MM page which then led me to the IRM A class and then to this forum :) 

Understand where you're coming from, but who is to say no current manufacturer isn't considering or indeed working on Irish steam? Or Railcars? You never know what some of these companies get up to of an eve... ;)

Best of luck with the page. 

Cheers,

Fran

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3 hours ago, DJ Dangerous said:

Ah, @BosKonay. The kids of today have an attention span of about five seconds.

Fora are too difficult for them, social networking is where it's at.

🤣

funny you say that I've a brother that's 17 who is incapable of using facebook too old school for people younger than early 20s it seems

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9 minutes ago, Warbonnet said:

but who is to say no current manufacturer isn't considering or indeed working on Irish steam? Or Railcars? You never know what some of these companies get up to of an eve... ;)

 

Hi Fran, I expressed disappointment at a comment you made a few weeks ago which seemed to say the exact opposite of this, (as regards steam) you have me confused.

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10 minutes ago, Warbonnet said:

Understand where you're coming from, but who is to say no current manufacturer isn't considering or indeed working on Irish steam? Or Railcars? You never know what some of these companies get up to of an eve... ;)

Best of luck with the page. 

Cheers,

Fran

Me oul GNR "S" class, GSR J18, D14, D16, D17, D19, GSWR bogies and Midland six-wheelers must be in the post from IRM Towers! Yippeeeeee!

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13 minutes ago, Warbonnet said:

Understand where you're coming from, but who is to say no current manufacturer isn't considering or indeed working on Irish steam? Or Railcars? You never know what some of these companies get up to of an eve... ;)

Best of luck with the page. 

Cheers,

Fran

Oh what a tease! 

 

And thank you!

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4 minutes ago, Strimmers said:

funny you say that I've a brother that's 17 who is incapable of using facebook too old school for people younger than early 20s it seems

Looks like FB is becoming a resource for oul fogeys like me! The nippers are all on insta-twitterogram.........

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2 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Looks like FB is becoming a resource for oul fogeys like me! The nippers are all on insta-twitterogram.........

I must admit that my haunt is normally twitter more than anything now because my attention span is less than that of a lobotomised goldfish :P 

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5 minutes ago, Ironroad said:

Hi Fran, I expressed disappointment at a comment you made a few weeks ago which seemed to say the exact opposite of this, (as regards steam) you have me confused.

We can’t be confirming or denying

all rumors now can we 😀😀

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7 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Looks like FB is becoming a resource for oul fogeys like me! The nippers are all on insta-twitterogram.........

Im 17 and despite using it on a daily basis for West Cork railway Colourised...J can confirm its antiquated toss to us!

 

11 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Me oul GNR "S" class, GSR J18, D14, D16, D17, D19, GSWR bogies and Midland six-wheelers must be in the post from IRM Towers! Yippeeeeee!

YAY my CMDR inspection car dream is finnally coming true!!

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21 minutes ago, Ironroad said:

You are tormenting us.       

It's all part of the fun! 

On a serious note, and it's one that does need pointing out for the general conversation; new product development takes time, a LOT of time. So, while you may think IRM or MM or whoever are gone a bit quiet, that does not mean that nothing is happening behind closed doors. For instance a locomotive project can be up to 3 years end to end. So if we started work on something everyone was asking for today, you wont see it on your layout until 2024. 

I know most know that already, but just to keep newer members to the forum informed when it comes to expectations etc. Then there is the truckload of cash needed to fund it.. but that's a discussion for another day.

Cheers!

Fran

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Any FB pages to promote the Irish aspects of the hobby are good as long as they look the part and preferably encourage people who come across them to sign up here.

I would love to know how many new or returning Irish modellers just grab the first GB outline yoke on the shelves and go from there. I almost only found out by accident that Irish stuff even existed. I was very close to modelling US outline.

I'd have really kicked myself if I hadn't dug a bit deeper.

 

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3 minutes ago, murphaph said:

I would love to know how many new or returning Irish modellers just grab the first GB outline yoke on the shelves and go from there. I almost only found out by accident that Irish stuff even existed. I was very close to modelling US outline.

I wonder if there'll ever be any mass-produced (and not sold out on day 1) & cheap, Irish starter sets, the likes of the €85-100 Hornby ones that come with a basic oval of track and a controller plus a not super detailed piece of Irish rolling stock.

Probably have to be a real economy-of-scale big order for that sort of thing to even break even.

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3 minutes ago, murphaph said:

Any FB pages to promote the Irish aspects of the hobby are good as long as they look the part and preferably encourage people who come across them to sign up here.

I would love to know how many new or returning Irish modellers just grab the first GB outline yoke on the shelves and go from there. I almost only found out by accident that Irish stuff even existed. I was very close to modelling US outline.

 

 

So true. I had already started investing in GWR outline when I discovered by chance that some Irish stuff existed (albeit very little at that time) but that was a game changer. The existence of Irish stuff isn't all that obvious, you have to know about it.

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