Business

How to punch above your weight

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Can I let you into a little secret?

I’m a big Brentford FC fan. 

Although these days, I’m less inclined to keep this a secret… as back in May, after 74 years in relative obscurity (and at one point just twelve years ago flirting with relegation from the football league) we were promoted to the Premier League.

Having been to about 500 games over the last 38 years or so, to finally reach the promised land was a dream I thought could never be achieved, the main reason being that The Championship (the league below the Premier League) is famously one of the most competitive leagues in the world, and Brentford were one of the ‘smallest’ clubs competing, having been promoted from League One seven years ago.

And tonight, we kick the season off at home to the mighty Arsenal. And *if* we win, then for a few hours at least, we’ll be top of the Premier League.

The Championship features at least three teams every season who have been relegated from the Premier League. These teams receive ‘parachute payments’ when they’re relegated, in order that they can continue to pay players who’ve been signed on Premier League contracts and of course, wages. 

This gives the relegated teams a huge advantage, as they can often hold onto these players and bounce straight back up. A number of teams have subsequently ‘yo-yo’d’ between the Premier League and The Championship across the last few years since these payments were introduced. 

On top of this, there are loads of traditionally ‘big’ clubs in The Championship, each owning a big stadium, and regularly attracting crowds of over 30,000 people.

Brentford’s old ground, Griffin Park, had a capacity of 12,000, and their new ground, as yet largely un-used due to Covid, has a capacity of 17,500.

Factor this in with various other elements, and last season Brentford had the 17th lowest playing budget of the 24 teams in The Championship. 

But in February, after a 21 game unbeaten run, we were top. 

And in May, after a small blip, we were promoted via the play-offs at Wembley Stadium – one of three teams to achieve promotion from the 24 vying for this at the start of the season.

So how did they punch so massively above their weight?

By thinking and doing things differently to everyone else. 

They use data-driven information to find players in lower leagues, often in Europe, who are over-performing at the level they’re playing at, and who are unlikely to have been noticed yet.

They carry out further analysis on these players to make sure that they fit the positive culture of the club and will act as ambassadors as well as footballers.

These players help the club to achieve increased success, and have been sold on for over ten times what was paid for them. 

This enables the club to re-invest in new players as well as in facilities, infrastructure and the club’s financial future. 

The compound result of the implementation of this strategy, repeated and evolved over the last ten years, has seen the club now competing at the highest domestic level, and rubbing shoulders with Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City etc as equals for at least the next 38 games and hopefully beyond. 

Why am I telling you this?

Well, aside from taking any opportunity to talk about my beloved team, you can think like this within your business too.

Using data, and implementing a strategic approach, repeated month on month, year on year, can produce amazing results, and see you soar above your competitors, whoever they are. 

The compound effect of making gradual improvements to your website, testing what works and what doesn’t, repeating and enhancing the things that are going well and tracking your efforts, means that your website can rise up the rankings in the way that Brentford have climbed up the league tables.  

Analysing your competitors is an often overlooked element in digital marketing, and this is good news, because it means that your competitors probably aren’t analysing you! This gives you a massive advantage over the competition when trying to get ahead of the game in making sure that potential customers are contacting you before them.

Our specialist software can see where your competitors rank on Google, for which keywords they’re ranking for, and even if they’re doing advertising, and how long they’ve been doing it for. If they’ve been doing it for a while, it’s probably working, and is probably something you should be doing too.

If you’re running your own Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns, you can not only get yourself to the top of Google as quickly as you want to (by the end of the day if you really wanted to!) but you also get access to the *exact* terms that visitors to your website are typing into Google to find you. This means you can use this data to inform which of these keywords might be good to optimise your website for organically, meaning that visitors can then find your website without you having to pay for it.

Mining this type of data can often mean finding keywords that you didn’t even know related to your business, or understanding search volumes in a way that you didn’t before. You could have been underachieving for a certain keyword for years, missing vital traffic, leads and sales, but having this type of knowledge can change all of that in a heartbeat.

When sending out an e-newsletter, or posting a blog post (such as this one) – you can analyse who opened the email, who clicked on the links, which devices the article was most popular on. This can show you who the most engaged people in your audience are, and also inform you as to which types of email / posts to send in the future. You might find that your best open rates are on a Friday for example… hence while you’re reading this particular article today 😉

Social Media insights can also give you a wealth of knowledge on your audience when used properly, and when using the FB Pixel on your website, you can build audiences and then create lookalikes of this audience to market to.

The point of all of this is that there are now quite a few teams of Brentford’s size and stature employing the techniques that Brentford have used on their rise to the Premier League, but they’re ten years behind.

Brentford are the 50th team to ever play in the Premier League as we know it today. That means that there are 30-odd teams who used to be in the Premier League but who aren’t anymore. Doing things ‘the old way’ or ‘how we’ve always done them’ doesn’t cut it long-term. You have to adapt (in the current climate more so than ever) and you have to think differently.

So if you’ve no idea how many people visit your website or what they type to get there, if you’ve been running ads but they’re not working in the way that you expected or if you’re wondering why your competitors, even if they’re perceived to be smaller than you, are winning all the business that you want to be winning instead, then we should talk 😊

You can book a Zoom meeting directly into my diary by clicking here: https://meetings.hubspot.com/matt1638

Or give me a buzz on 020 3131 2230 and we can have a chat over the phone – I promise I’ll only talk about Brentford a little bit. Honest.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

Matt

The Google Network

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The Google network is a great way to engage with audiences across the internet. It consists of both
the Search Network and the Display Network.

Search Network: Includes other search engines such as AOL as well as Google.

Display Network: Made up of a number of different websites which are owned by Google i.e.
YouTube and sites which specifically relate to Google such as Gmail.

The Google network makes up thousands of sites which display targeted AdWords. AdWord
campaigns are placed in the Google network by default. However it is possible to opt out of either
network by changing the settings.

Key things to know:

– If you are displaying a keyword – targeted ad, it can be placed across both the search and display network pages. Google uses search- engine- targeting to match keywords that users search for on search engines.

– Google display network pages use contextual targeting to match keywords to web page content, otherwise known as ‘automatic placements’.

-‘Placement-targeted’ ads can only appear on pages in the display network. It works by
choosing a specific audience and site to direct your ad at, otherwise known as ‘managed
placements’. The keywords and placements will combine efforts and work together to
determine the best position for the ad.

-Ads are displayed on Google based on their relevancy.

-Ads that are fully text based can appear on both search pages and on display network pages.

-Ads that feature images or videos can only appear on Display network pages.

Display Network Placements – Where do they go?

Search network ads are shown on pages related to the keywords related to the ad. These ads
appear alongside, above or below the search results and are specific to that particular search query.
Display network placements work differently.

‘Managed placements’ are ads which are placed separately for increased control. There is also the
added option of excluding certain placements for which you don’t want to run ads.

For more information on The Google Network contact us today on 08433 832 732

The Benefits of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

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Online Marketing

There are two types of marketing approaches for search engine listings. The first is; ORGANIC; search
engine results are natural or ‘free’ listings. The second is PAID; search engine results have are paid
advertisements AKA ‘sponsored links’.

Search engines will rank the most relevant at the top of the page. This is determined by the
searchers query. Depending on the search engine, the relevancy of the search is calculated in
different ways. On Google, both organic and paid results will appear for the same query, however
the results are separate from each other. This means that the ranking of an organic search result will
not interfere with the ranking of an ad. The advertiser can perform well and have a strong online
presence, even if their site doesn’t rank top in the organic search results.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) = Creating new websites or altering existing in order for them to
rank highly in a search engine’s organic listings when users search on terms that are related to the
site’s content.

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) = the process of marketing and promoting a site through paid listings
on a search engine.

Using keywords associated with your website improves the ranking results of your website a great
deal. It is vital to generate engaging content and appropriate keywords in order to achieve the best
results possible for your site.

The majority of search engines work by using a pay-per-click (PPC) service, meaning that your only
charged when a user clicks on your ad and not for an ad impression (the amount of times in which
your ad appears on the page).

It is becoming increasingly popular to advertise websites rather than opting for the organic search.
There are several benefits of the PPC service; advertising allows you to become more proactive
about when and where a listing for your site to appear. Targeting and engaging with an audience
becomes a great deal easier, you can specify the user’s location, demographic, language. You can
also determine how to reach your audience through the device they use i.e computer or mobile
phone.

One of the most attractive aspects of online marketing is that it can be tailored to fit any budget.
There are a number of formats you can use to target different users such as text ads, graphical
images, audio streams or interactive and video ads. Also, if you find that the ad is not as influential
as you first hoped and believe that a different approach is needed, the formatting of your ad can
easily be changed.

Direct response vs. Branding

Direct response

Direct response determines what action you want your audience to take after they have clicked
through to your website, it could be; making a purchase, sign up to a newsletter or request a quote.
The action of your desired user is called a conversation.

By setting up a cost per acquisition (CPA), the impact of your ad can be measured. This is a great
way of monitoring the performance of your ad and ensuring that your CPA targets are met.

If your advertising goal is to promote your brand then your main purpose for advertising online is to
raise awareness of your brand and engage with potential audiences. This is achieved by being ahead
of as many competitors as possible within your target audience.

Examples of how online marketing can help you:

  • If you are an online retailer without a shop of location. Driving traffic to your website through displaying ads with keywords that will target your audience.
  • If you own a small business that cannot afford traditional marketing materials/ methods: Narrowly target your ads to target niche audiences and closely control your costs and track your return on investment (ROI).
  • If you own a large company but want to build on your brand awareness. Place images on sites you think your audiences will spend most of their time.

How can Google Ad Words benefit you and your company?

It is argued that the most beneficial aspect of Google ad words is how thoroughly measureable
it is. This makes it easier to understand what works and what doesn’t; every user’s click is linked
to a particular ad, keyword and search query. You can track each aspect and make improvements
and adjustments whenever you feel is necessary. This will enable you to engage more with your
audience and improve your return on investment.

Ad words will also be beneficial to you in terms of targeting audiences more directly. The ads will
target a user according to their query; the result being only highly relevant ads will be advertised to
the user. They are more likely to click on an ad if it is advertising what the user is searching for.

Want help with your SEO? Find out more by calling us on 020 3131 2230

Social media and how it drives traffic to your site.

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5 Ways To Use Facebook Places For Business

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Facebook Places | Matt Davis MediaMashable is today reporting that Mastercard are spreading 20 seats from the now demolished Yankee Stadium across New York City, with each seat containing a unique QR Code which when scanned will check them into Facebook Places.

Then, once checked-in, they make themselves eligible to win VIP tickets to a 2011 Yankee game in MasterCard’s exclusive Batter’s Eye Café.

This a great example of a business using Facebook effectively – in particular Facebook Places, which many businesses that I’ve spoken with do not fully understand the potential of.

You see, Mastercard have done something very clever in that they don’t have a store, or stores, that people can visit in order to purchase their product, so they have placed these seats in specific locations to allow people to check-in to a ‘place’.

However, of course, many businesses have premises that customers will visit daily and its these businesses that could really benefit from Facebook Places.

Here are a few ideas as to how these businesses can benefit:

Facebook Places | Matt Davis Media1) Claim your place! I’ve seen countless examples in recent weeks of businesses who didn’t even realise that people had been checking-in to their premises. This can create further issues as customers create multiple locations, enter the wrong information, even spell your business name incorrectly! By claiming your business not only can you see who’s checking-in, but you have control over the information related to your premises (for example opening times) and you can also encourage people to ‘like’ your page as well as ‘check-in’…

2) Because once they’ve checked-in, it’s in their interest to ‘like’ your page in order to hear of any special offers and stay up-to-date with the latest news on your business. They’ve taken the trouble to check-in which shows that they’re interested in the first place – it’s a perfect way to stay in touch with daily updates appearing in the news feeds of your customers – it keeps you in the picture.

3) Reward your customers for checking-in. For example if you own a coffee-shop, all a customer has to do is show you their smartphone in order for you to see how many times they’ve checked-in at your shop. You could offer a free coffee for every six check-ins, encourage them to return. And remember – every time they check-in, it shows up in their news feeds for their friends to see….

4) Feedback – …they may even tell their friends they got a free coffee…! Or you may notice certain trends – for example that more people are checking-in at weekends than weekdays. In this case you could promote a weekday-only check-in offer to encourage more weekday visitors.

5) Marketing – Even without analysing the trends, once you’ve merged your ‘Place’ with your ‘Page’ you can market directly to people who you already know are fans of your business. You’re preaching to the converted, a great opportunity to up-sell and offer further promotions.

Let me know how you’re using Facebook with your business – I’d love to hear how it’s going…

 

5 Great Things About Google+

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Google.

Even if you’ve never used the internet before, you’ve almost certainly heard of it. Like ‘Hoovering’ became a verb for vacuum-cleaning, so ‘Google it’ is now what you say when you’re suggesting that someone search for something online, much to the chagrin of Yahoo and Bing, who would probably advise otherwise.

But for all of Google’s online dominance, Facebook has emerged as the most popular site on the web – indeed a huge positive for those wishing to embrace Social Media is that Facebook and Twitter are so huge that searches on Google include individual posts in real-time from these sites, expanding the SEO benefits of using these sites enormously.

Google, in the past, has tried and notably failed to become more ‘social’. It’s ‘Chrome’ browser is fantastic, its Gmail service innovative and second to none, and it’s iGoogle homepage is clever if not fully embraced.

However ‘Buzz’, and ‘Wave’ – its last attempts at Social Media, much like my weekend BBQ, failed to catch fire.

Google Plus | Matt Davis MediaEnter Google+. Now in my experience, anything with a + after it, is usually great. Sky+ : life changing. Nike+ : Genius. Lost+ : Better than the original.

And Google+, thankfully, is no different.

Here are five things that make it GREAT.

1. If you’re lucky enough to get a Google+ invite (which I was :-)), and you have a Google account (ie a gmail address) then it’s brilliantly easy to sign up.  Once you’re signed in with your Google account, click the link in your email, and you’re ready to go. Confirm your name, add your gender and optionally change your profile picture, accept the terms, and Join!

Google Plus | Matt Davis Media

2. Circles.

Google+ is built around Circles. Circles are Google’s version of  friend lists, and work by dividing your network into sub-networks of  ‘like’ interests. For example – I tend to share more Social Media related items with my Twitter followers, and more personal stuff with my Facebook friends. I therefore follow a wide range of relevant industry profiles in Twitter lists. In Google+, I can instead add family to a ‘Family’ circle, friends to a ‘Friends’ circle, Social Media experts into a ‘Social Media’ circle and so on. But if my brother happens to like Social Media too, I could add him to my ‘Social Media’ and ‘Family’ circles.

Initially it takes a bit of effort, but Google has worked to make it fun. You can select those people you want to add  and drag them down to the relevant circle, and their name cards will be bundled together with a paperclip to emphasise what you’re doing. Facebook has had lists for some time now, but few people use it since it takes several clicks per friend you want to add. With Google+, a couple clicks is all it takes to add as many friends as you like to circles.

Best of all, once you have established your circles, you can add new friends to lists in just one click. This is more similar to Twitter following than Facebook friends, since you are able to add anyone to your circles, whether they’ve added you or not. However, if they’re private and mostly share updates with their private circles, you won’t see / hear from them very often.

3. The Stream

Now that you’ve added some friends and colleagues to your Google+ circles, it’s time to start sharing. Just like every other social network, Google+ is designed for you to share what you’re doing with others. This aspect is very similar to Facebook in that you can upload pictures, videos and links directly to your updates. You can also add your location, which is turned on by default in the mobile web app. A key aspect is that you can choose to share your update only with certain circles, with all of your circles, with extended circles (all of your circles and all of your friends’ circles), or with the the whole world – the choice is yours.

The main page, (The Stream), will show posts from others, with pictures, videos, link previews, and comments. You can click 1+ to show you like a post, or you can share public and semi-public posts with your own network. New posts and comments show up automatically in near-realtime. Posts are bumped back to the top of your list whenever new comments are added to them, but if you’re tired of seeing a particular update, you can simply choose to mute the post using a drop-down menu. You can also navigate through the posts in your stream with standard Google keyboard shortcuts.

A nice feature is that you can edit your posts and comments anytime after you’ve left them. How often do you supply an update with a mistake on Facebook or Twitter only to have to delete it?With Google+, that’s a thing of the past. Although this can of course potentially change the context of any longer conversations…

Similar to @replies on Facebook and Twitter, adding @ before someone’s name lets you select their name from a list and link to them in the comment

4. Hangouts

A unique feature of Google+ is Hangouts – group audio and video chats where you can bring your friends together even if you live around the world.

Once you’ve installed the relevant plug-ins (takes moments), you can start a new Hangout and invite your circles or individual friends to join in. Or, you can jump into another Hangout that’s already going on. Before you jump in, Google+ gives you a quick preview of how you look in the video if you have a webcam turned on, and shows you who’s already chatting.

Once you’re logged in, Google Hangouts will let others in the chat know that you’re there. You’ll see a large video of the chatter currently talking on the top, and smaller thumbnail videos of everyone else underneath. Hangouts does a great job at recognizing who’s currently talking, and it automatically switches the top video when others start talking. Or, if you only want to see one video feed, click on the thumbnail to only see that video in the larger view.

Yes it’s similar to Skype, but in my opinion much more intuitive and better looking too. There are a few functionality issues to be ironed out, but that’s why we’re still in the test phase!

Alternately, if you prefer text chat, Google+ includes the original Google Talk text chat that you’ve likely already used in Gmail. You can chat with your existing Gmail contacts even if they’re not on Google+, even while you’re talking in a Google Hangout in another window. This gives you the best of both worlds. Full voice, video, and text chat with groups in Hangouts, or one-on-one text chat right in your Stream just like you’re used to in Facebook.

5. Sparks

Yet another unique feature in Google+ is Sparks. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with certain niche topics you’re interested in, so Google built Sparks to give you automatic updates about the things you love. Just enter a topic, and Sparks will bring you highlights from it right to your account. It’s essentially Google Alerts but in a stream on your social media site – great for me.

There’s a little way to go but the initial signs are that Google has really thought this one through and are determined to get it right no matter what. Is it a Facebook Killer? Probably not just yet, but in the way that it integrates with your existing email, calendar and of course your search engine, it’s going to give it a run for it’s money.

For business users though – nothing to really report as yet – but it’s still early days…

Do You Need To Measure Social Media ROI? I Don’t Think So…

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Matt Davis Media | Pound SignOne of the questions that I get asked a lot is:

“What is the return on investment from Social Media?”

Now in cases where a Social Media campaign is being implemented by a business itself, by existing personnel for example, the only real cost is time, and it does take time and dedication to implement a Social Media campaign effectively. There may be a small cost to train the relevant member of staff initially.

But in my case it’s different, as my clients are paying me directly to manage their Social Media platforms for them, and as with most things that you pay for, you expect to see some kind of return.

In my opinion however, there are different forms of return and these all need to be taken into account.

Matt Davis Media | Solar SystemFirstly, before implementing a Social Media campaign, you need to know what you’re aiming to achieve from it. I think that primarily your main aim through using Social Media is to drive people to your existing ‘main’ website. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, think of your website as the ‘Sun’ in the middle, and of your Social Media platforms as ‘planets’ orbiting around it.

Professor Brian Cox I ain’t but hopefully you get the picture!

Secondly, I genuinely believe that at some point in the near future, businesses will have little choice but to use Social Media in one form or another to communicate with their clients / potential clients. Whether that’s because Facebook becomes the default way to log into the majority of websites (giving you one portal for all the websites you use – handy?) or that Facebook messaging becomes the ‘new email’ I’m not sure, but sooner rather than later it will have an even bigger part to play than it already does, in much the same way the the second version of the internet overtook the first version.

Also, your competitors are most likely using Social Media. The vast majority of your customers are too. So unless you want to play catch-up later on, it’s a good idea to be there now.

Lastly, a question. What’s the return on investment of a receptionist? Or a secretary? I would view Social Media much the same way. Social Media is doing a job for you. It’s increasing your online presence, enhancing your online reputation, boosting the chances of your business being found by the search engines, allowing you to hear what your customers are saying about you, allow potential customers to see actual examples of how you treat your customers and clients… and that’s not even scratching the surface.

Recent studies are now showing that Return On Engagement is a more effective way of measuring the success of your Social Media output. Please click here to read more about these studies, and please let me know your thoughts too!

Hair Today – Gone Tomorrow?

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Matt Davis Media - HairdresserI spoke with a local business today, based just down the road from me. I won’t mention the nature of what they do (although see if you can spot the hidden clues :-)) but they are often busy and have been established for several years – I have been in there a few times in that period and they are friendly guys. The shop is well run and looked after, contemporary and smart.

So I was surprised, when carrying out some research beforehand, that they had no Facebook or Twitter page, even though quite a few people had ‘checked in’ to the shop on Facebook, this was just a blank Check In page, rather than one with any info or opportunity to engage. They do have a nice-looking website, full of useful info and decent images.

I asked the owner why they didn’t use Social Media and he said that he had done some customer research in the shop (great idea) and discovered that only 1% of his customers found the shop through the internet. Most people just ‘know it’s there’ or learn through word of mouth. Therefore, online marketing was ‘not for him’.

I then asked him in that case, why have a website at all?

He remarked that having a website is vital to any business, it’s essential. And he’s right – however there is little point in having a website if no-one is looking at it.

I mentioned the benefits of using Social Media to drive traffic to his website, but he remained adamant that no-one would find his business online.

My opinion is that having less than 1% of his customers being driven to his shop from the internet suggests that he should be doing more online marketing, rather than less.

His business could not be better set up for Social Media marketing so it’s a real shame. He provides a service to a demographic which use Facebook more than any other age group. The potential for these guys to unlock special offers by ‘Checking-in’ on Facebook, or retweeting, is huge, word could spread incredibly quickly across the community.

Facebook and Twitter may be worldwide platforms, but their respective community reach should not be underestimated – a huge majority of people – particularly those at school or college – will have vast numbers of ‘friends’ who live in the immediate area.

Anyway, at this stage, to my dismay my friend above doesn’t want to move forward with any online marketing, even though people in his shop are ‘checking-in’ on a daily basis – essentially for no gain to anyone which is a massive shame.

I’m confident that the day will come very soon, where having a Social Media presence will become more important than having a website, and I would urge all small business owners to consider how you attract visitors to your website, and subsequently your business, and how your online marketing could be a ‘cut above’ the rest!

5 Reasons Your Business Needs A Facebook Business Page

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Facebook Business Pages are essential in enhancing your business’s online presence.

Here are five reasons why:

1)      Do you want to set the pace or play catch-up? If you don’t have a Facebook Business Page, your business is already playing catch-up.  Facebook has over 600 million users – it’s where the majority of your customers are – you need to be there too!

2)      Engage and connect with your customers and clients. This is the ‘Social’ bit about Social Media – interacting with your customers online.  If someone has taken the time to connect with you using Social Media, they are likely to be active on various Social Media platforms – and when they talk about your business, their friends will be listening.  It’s also a great way to drip-feed news and special offers without being intrusive.

3)      Promote and Protect Your Brand:  Facebook is a great place to build on and enhance an existing brand.  Keep your content up to date and topical and your customers will love you for it. Also it’s worth bearing in mind that if you’re not using Facebook to promote your product or service, someone else could be… stake your claim early on.

4)      Customer Satisfaction and Feedback: Social Media is the new ‘Word Of Mouth’ but the best part is that you can hear exactly what people are saying about your business! Even negative feedback can quickly become positive if you are able to respond quickly and effectively. If you already have customer service procedures in place then Facebook should simply be considered as an extension of this – the best part being that potential customers have amazing visibility on how you engage with your existing customers!

5)     It will enhance your SEO and online presence: Facebook is getting bigger by the second. It now has its own search facility, which research shows that more and more people are beginning to use. And regardless, Google now searches within Facebook to display relevant content. Optimising your Facebook Business page with the right keywords and phrases can make your business a lot easier to find – and when your business is then found, making sure that your page is topical and looks great will give a great first impression!

Do you need advice on setting up your Facebook Business Page? Do you have a page already but are not really sure what to do with it?

Drop me a line at matt@mattdavismedia.co.uk and I’ll be pleased to assist!

5 Time Management Tips

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“I need a little time to think things over, I need a little time to work things out…” sang the Beautiful South, ages ago.

And that’s something we all need isn’t it? A little bit more time.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

Someone called Harvey McKay said that. I have no idea who he is, but I like what he says.

But how many of us use our time truly efficiently?

You see time is the one thing that we all have in common, all walks of life, all types of business people, every day lasts for 24 hours – for all of us. Now I’m not saying that we should all live Jack Bauer-style days with no room for eating, drinking or toilet breaks, but the majority of us could definitely manage our time better.

Here’s five ideas to get started with:

1) Keep A To-Do List
I’ve talked about this before in my blog post about procrastination but my to-do list is the most important thing on my desk. I write down what I need to do and prioritise it. At the end of every working day, I transfer anything that hasn’t been done onto a new to-do list and start again the next day. I consider that everything I achieved off of the original list was a priority, and therefore every evening I have a good idea as to what the next day holds.

2) Be Organised
Set up your emails, e-documents and physical documents in an easy-to-navigate system. I’ve seen countless senior managers in the past who don’t organise their emails into folders, and it’s so easy to do. If you spend ten minutes a day searching for files you can’t initially find, that’s virtually four hours per month, or four working days per year!

3) Stick To Your Task
I read recently that the average person, once interrupted, takes eight minutes to continue with the task they were working on. Tips to avoid this are to say ‘no’ more often, or only check and respond to emails at certain times of the day, rather than as they come in to your inbox.

4) Schedule Your Meetings Cleverly
As I live a little out in the sticks, this matters hugely to me. If I have meetings planned in London, I’ll do my best to have them all on the same day. A round trip to London for me is three hours, just in travelling. It makes much more sense for me to only have to do that once if possible, even if I can work on the train…

5) Delegate or Outsource
Do you really have to be doing that project yourself? Spending some time training a colleague or even outsourcing to a third party could save you time and money in the longer-term. For example, my clients outsource their Social Media and marketing work to me to free up more time for them to concentrate on their other business strengths.

6) Play Games!
OK I know I said five and so now I’m effectively wasting time too, but there are some great Time Management games available, as well as apps for your iPhone or Android phone. This site had stacks of downloadable games, but try not to get distracted while you’re there 🙂

What are your tips on time management? Let me know…

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