Virtual Assistants for Small Businesses


Hiring a Virtual Assistant for your Small Business

When setting up a small business, it can often be challenging as we can end up solely managing most of the business’s workload and many find it difficult to balance it on a daily basis. A full-time assistant does seem like the solution to this, but it can be very expensive to hire them and too much of a commitment for some new business owners, especially in terms of increased utility fees and insurance. This is where the convenience of a virtual assistant steps in.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA) is a remote online helping-hand who takes on tasks for you in order to reduce your overall workload, and can be situated anywhere in the world. A VA is usually an individual but can sometimes be comprised of a whole company of employees. These two kinds of VAs suit different businesses and business owners, depending on their needs.

With an individual, there is an opportunity for getting to know the person who will be taking on various jobs and tasks in your business. This is especially good for business owners who are sensitive about their business data. Having someone you can directly contact, converse with regularly and train to your standards are bonus features of an individual VA.

VA companies are also very helpful, especially for businesses with greater needs as they can manage larger jobs and project work by allocating tasks to multiple employees who can collaboratively get the work done faster than an individual could.

What kind of help can a Virtual Assistant provide?

Depending on the type of business you run, a VA can offer lots of help, especially with your online presence. Tasks they can generally perform include managing schedules, running customer service, taking on admin tasks, order fulfilment, managing social media accounts and campaigns, accounting, etc. The list goes on, and each task depends on the skillset of the VA in mind, however training for a particular task could be an option.

Keeping in touch with VAs via email and messaging is a great way to send quick notifications but video calls are a better way to build a relationship and explain the business and its goals in full.

Advice on hiring a Virtual Assistant

Before hiring, consider how close you want to work with a VA and implement these thoughts when choosing someone. Think about what tasks you can pass on that a VA will be able to perform with or without specific training, and if you are experienced enough in this task to explain what needs to be done with it. Consider how many hours should be dedicated to it.

The Growth of Small Businesses Online


It can’t be denied that the web is changing the way we do business – no matter our size. In previous times, businesses grew at a different pace. Now, everyone is desperately trying to get ahead and the web is fuelling this race. As a result, there are many developments in businesses, particularly small ones, which will continue to evolve alongside the digital landscapes.


With the adoption of ever-changing digital tools, new markets can be reached (and created). Not only is the web an extremely important factor in relation to small business growth, it is what connects businesses and these new markets. The use of digital tools help a business to analyse market behaviour. Results of this analysis guide businesses in improving their digital strategies.

A large part of the concept of new market is the growing generation of web users. Having shoppers who are pretty much raised online rapidly increases the need for extensive online accessibility. However, a key component in the evolution of these new markets are the products and services that said markets circulate around. Naturally, there is now an emphasis on digital products and the services that accompany them, therefore keeping up with trends is vital to stay relevant in future times.

Using even the most basic of digital features will make your business more available for consumers to get involved with. For example, making your business accessible via all types of digital devices, such as tablets, mobile and wearables (smart watch etc.). This is something that most new consumers expect to be in place.


Small businesses who have a strong online presence tend to be faster growing businesses – on and off the web. Given that the majority of shoppers now research products on the web before making a purchase (anywhere), having a strong online presence will help to propel a business forward in comparison to those who don’t. The “omnishopper”, who both researches and purchases online across various devices and also offline, is a prime customer for pushing this growth.

There are many factors as to why online presence leads to quick growth of a small business. These include social media, online advertising, website visibility and the strength of a business’s online presence. Optimising each of these factors helps to contribute to the end goal. Other factors include using advanced digital tools to help analyse customer behaviour in an industry, and can give insight on how a business can use this data to better their performance. The outlook for 2021 is that there will be a worldwide figure of 2.14 billion digital buyers, therefore it is important to utilise these elements of speedy growth to the best of our ability. The opportunity of expansion is increasing all the time, it seems.


Due to the speed of growth for small businesses, there is subsequently more opportunity for employment. The web is a relatively new part of business growth, so there are a lot more new jobs that are available, especially for the generation of digital natives. The bigger the business growth, the broader the range of jobs becomes.

Businesses with a digital-focused business strategy are likely to continue to create jobs with the development of the web, in e-commerce and marketing form. Many businesses who are known to thrive online as well as in store have dedicated teams focused on making their business as visible and relevant as possible. It is important to devote the proper amount of time to this and provide ongoing maintenance, while keeping up with digital trends, therefore having multiple pairs of hands available is necessary.

The fact is that the web increases small business success, and therefore some older businesses are falling behind. There are digital factors that may hold businesses back such as a lack of digital/technical skills, little access to broadband, lack of funding and also an old-fashioned mindset. In order to push growth in your business, having a strong online presence is key.

5 Technology Trends of 2018

5 Technology Trends of 2018

Over the next year, we will see a lot more of certain modern technological developments. Marx’s technological determinism echoes with the introduction of artificial intelligence and the likes. This is true of not only advancements in computer technology, but of technology as scientific knowledge that will affect the development and evolution of all industries. This technology is already in effect, however it is predicted to boom in 2018.

Voice Assistance

Voice assistants no longer hold the reputation of being strangely futuristic as more and more people incorporate them into their daily lives. The emergence of technology such as Google Home and Amazon Echo creates an extensive list of possibilities of what one can do through technology. There are so many readily-available features, from translating words into different languages to controlling home appliances, with a huge range of actions in between. As for business, this is a whole new landscape for advertising, business presence and modern services.

Artificial Intelligence

AI-first is a fairly new concept, overtaking the original mobile-first approach. Although this seems like a daunting concept, AI is present in more of our daily lives than many of us realise. Gmail, for example, uses machine learning for multiple things we wouldn’t give more than 1 second thought to. Ever found that Gmail delayed sending your email to ask if you have attached your file? It uses machine learning to scan your email for signs that you meant to do this. Using AI even just to enhance workability could propel your business forward as less time is being spent on admin, data accumulation and basic digital interactions.

Product & Service Personalisation

The personalisation of the consumer’s experience through products and services is an important strategy for business. Example: beauty brand No7’s “Match Made Service” which scans a customers skin to find their perfect shade of foundation – a personalised experience with a personalised product. This was one of the first in the UK which brought confused customers running to them for a scan with their special technology. This led the way for personalised or custom-blended makeup services, which most big makeup brands offer these days. The satisfaction of “the individual” will aid in increased competitiveness of a business, as customers care about “me” more than “we, the public”.

Data Valuing Tools

Personal data as a valuable asset is becoming more of a concern for users as talks of it being sold to large multinational corporations circulate on the net. The introduction of personal data value tools/platforms will assist consumers in discovering the worth of their data as the reality of data brokers sets in. The fact is that an enormous amount of data is collected by social media companies every second, however the creators of this data get nothing in return since they do not own it. However, some are thinking of ways to work around this, such as storing data on a decentralised blockchain in order to gain control over its access.

Industry Convergence

Industries are beginning to connect and merge with the development of technology in each sector. It acts as a commons on which all industries can evolve through new products and services, transforming into a modern day version of what they once were. For example, it makes sense nowadays to buy our mobile plan through our TV and broadband provider, rather than through an external mobile provider. Once upon a time, we would have had a mobile plan with O2, a TV subscription to NTL and a internet service from Eircom. It’s safe to say that Virgin Media and Sky have successfully converged all three industries into one multi-servicing giant.

5 Tips To Running a Profitable Google AdWords™ Campaign

1. Set the Objective

Ask this question: what is it you want your Google AdWords™ campaign to achieve (do you want to generate more calls, sell more products or services, drive more relevant traffic to your website). Setting your objective will help you design your campaign and define your goals. Also, it is important that your results be measurable so you can determine if your AdWords campaign is worth the investment.

Book a Free AdWords Consultation.

2. Research your Audience

It is vital you verify there is a search volume online for the products or services your business offers. Verifying that there is a search volume will help you decide if Google AdWords™ is right for your business. The Google Keyword Planner™ ( provides insights into how keywords and phrases might perform in Google. It also shows how competitive the keywords and phrases are, and estimates how much it will cost you to advertise for each keyword and phrase.

3. Review Your Website

There is no point in driving customers to your website if your site is low quality and performs poorly on Mobile Devices. If your site is low quality and not optimised for mobile devices, you will end up paying more for your AdWords campaign and customers will lose trust in your business. The speed and design of your website are your keys to success.

Get a Free Website Health Check.

4. Build the Campaign

Once you have set your objective, identified the keywords and phrases, and are happy your website is of a good standard, you can then start to build your AdWords campaign.

Here are three things to consider:

Expanded Ad Text
In a nutshell, expanded text ads let you include more information about your business in the ad copy. We could dive deep into this, but Google already has some great information that can be found here.

Include Keywords In Your Ad Copy
Put keywords you are bidding on into the headline of your ad. For example, if you searched for “cheap holiday packages” and saw two ads, one ad showed “cheap holiday packages”, and another ad showed, “book a vacation online”. It is evident you would click the ad for “cheap holiday packages” as it is more relevant to what you wanted to find.

In AdWords, you can add snippets of information about what you are offering in the form of extensions. Sitelink extensions take users to specific pages of your website. Callout extensions show different offers or services that you provide (for example 24 hour service). Location extensions can help potential customers find your business by including your business address in the ads. Including some or all these will help lower the cost of your AdWords campaign.

5. Negative Keywords

Negative Keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaign. After your campaign is running for a week or so look at the search terms, that trigger your ads to show. Gain insights from the search terms report and add the search terms that are unsuitable to your business as Negative Keywords. Keep doing this continuously throughout the lifespan of your campaign. By adding Negative Keywords, you can focus more on the keywords that matter most to your customers.

These are some tips that will help you drive down the cost of your AdWords campaign. Most small businesses struggle with AdWords because they cannot dedicate the time to optimising the campaign. We would suggest you devote at least 45 minutes to 1 hour a week optimising your campaigns.

If you are new to FCR Media or an existing customer do not hesitate to book a meeting with one of our Digital Marketing Specialists who can help set you up with a profitable Google AdWords™ campaign.

360 Virtual Tours leave lasting impressions on consumers

A. 360 Virtual Tours help bring businesses to life in the digital space.

Companies can showcase all the details their customers love.

Click and drag to explore Paris Texas Bar and Smokehouse

Click Here To View More 360 Virtual Tours


B. Consumers can experience a business with a 360 Virtual Tour.

They walk around, explore and interact with a premises points of interest.

Experience Epic Ireland in 360.

Get a Quote Today


C. 360 Virtual Tours Promote Engagement.

360 Virtual Tours show on Google search results, Google Maps, listings but they can also be embedded on a website and shared on Facebook.

Businesses can encourage engagement by showcasing their business in 360 on, Facebook and Google. This helps build trust and leaves a lasting impression on consumers.

If you are new to FCR Media or an existing customer don’t hesitate to book a meeting with one of our Digital Marketing Specialists who can help promote your business online.

5 Local SEO Tips – How To Become More Visible Online

1. Verify your Business Accuracy on Google and other Leading Online Directory Sites.

Through SnapSync you can enter your business information and see how visible your business is everywhere online for free.


2. Add or Claim a Business Listing on Google My Business.

85% of people in Ireland use a Search Engine to find local information, and Google is by far the most Dominant Search Engine with over 90% market share. Verifying your Google My Business Listing gives you a better opportunity to show in the 3-pack for local searches.

Google 3-Pack

GOOGLE 3pack


3. Get Listed on High Authority Online Business Directories.

Listing your business on High Authority Online Business Directories like or Yelp helps build trust and generate more leads for your business. and Yelp are obvious choices, but it can be hard to determine what is a High Authority Online Business Directory. shows you how your business appears on the best Online Business Directory sites.


4. Optimise your website with Local Keywords.

Local keyword research will benefit your long term Local SEO goals. The problem with keyword research is that it can be time-consuming. Try to find some generic keywords that are relevant to your business and blend them with your location keywords.

Google Keyword Planner and Moz will help you find some generic keywords. Attempt to include keywords in your Websites Meta Data. Where ever you add Local Keywords make sure they are relevant to the context of that page. Google will penalise sites that try to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google’s search results.


5. Social Media.

Not every business has a Social Media presence. Some find it hard to choose the right social media site, and some don’t have the time to post regularly. If you are willing and able to add a social media channel, we suggest that you do. Social signals are good for local visibility.

Facebook is an excellent way to build relationships and communicate with current and potential customers. Also, it’s a great way for existing customers to share a positive experience of your business with their friends and family.

These are just some of the hundreds of different ways that can help your business become more visible online. We hope these tips help you get started.

If you are new to FCR Media or an existing customer don’t hesitate to book a meeting with one of our Digital Marketing Specialists who can help grow your business online.

Is Your Business Evolving With Your Customers Digital Needs?

A whopping 22% of all Irish SMEs do not have an online presence, according to new figures released today by IE Domain Registry (IEDR). Even more concerning, 66% have no intention to get online in the future, according to IEDR’s dot ie Domain Profile Report.

If you own a business but have no intention to get online, these stats below might make you reconsider.

  • 63% of people look for prices when searching online for local information.
  • 29% search for the location of a business.
  • 73% of customers lose trust in businesses because of inconsistent information published online.

Review your business information online for FREE here

If your business doesn’t evolve with your customer’s digital needs, then your competitors business will. The IEDR report shows that the number of .ie domains registered internationally was up 4% compared to last year while there was a 2% decrease in the number of domains registered in the Republic of Ireland.

It’s said that by 2020 Ireland’s digital economy will be worth more than €21billion.

Want to get your business online? Search and Register your domain here.

360 Virtual Tour

People want more businesses with 360 Virtual Tours

Don’t believe us? Here are the facts.

  • Global search interest in VR grew by 400% in the last year.

  • Research carried out by Google shows that listings with photos and a Virtual Tour are twice as likely to generate interest.

  • A recent Hong Kong Airlines campaign found that 360 Video was 35X more effective than traditional display.

360 Virtual Tours work for every Business, not just the big brands. At FCR Media we have made hundreds of 360 Virtual Tours for Businesses throughout Ireland, including small Local Businesses and more well known Irish Institutions.

Here’s a recent 360 Tour of Evolution Bikes in Ennis.

Explore Epic Ireland’s immersive 360 Virtual Tour.

Want a 360 Tour for your Business? Here are some suggestions before you schedule a 360 Tour.

Verify your Business accuracy on Google and other leading directories.

73% of consumers lose trust in Businesses because of inaccurate information, so it’s important that your listings are accurate before you schedule a 360 photo shoot. Here’s a handy tool you can try for free to verify your Business Listings across the Web.

Make sure you hire a Street View Trusted Photographer.

Trusted Pro’s receive Google’s stamp of approval for image quality, connectivity, and appropriateness. FCR Media is a Google Trusted Agency, drop us a line if you are thinking about getting a 360 Tour for your Business.

Share! Share! Share!

After your 360 Tour is finished make sure you share it everywhere. Add it to your Google My Business Page, share it on Facebook, Twitter, and all your Social Media Profiles also embed your 360 Virtual Tour on your website.

If you decide to book a 360 Tour with FCR Media we take care of all the above, including, verifying your Business on Google Maps, creating a landing page of your 360 Tour that you can use to share your 360 Tour on Social Media and the embedding of the tour on your website.

Ready to showcase your business in 360? Express your interest here

Keep your Social Networking under control with SnapSync!

Did you know that with SnapSync you can effectively manage your business Social Media presence?

If your business is listed on Facebook, Google my Business, Google+, Foursquare and your own website is connected to SnapSync you can easily add enhanced content, make updates and share information simultaneously across these great platforms from one central location – your SnapSync Dashboard. You can even monitor the responses you receive from social media posting through your SnapSync portal eg. comments/likes/shares etc.

Let’s take a look at a quick post made from our favourite demo business, The Shine Online Beauty Salon.

Here where we make social posts in SnapSync: (SnapSync Section -‘Post’)


Simply add the text and any additional content you would like to share where the message ‘Make a new post….’ is featured.

You can also choose to schedule the message as below, saving yourself time and allowing to you plan ahead for a proactive approach to your social media marketing efforts.











Here we’ve entered the following text ‘ Today in the Salon receive a free treatment with every cut and colour! and added the website link using the ‘Business Name’ dropdown menu.


You can check or uncheck the platforms you would like to post your message to by clicking on the icons representing the social media on the SnapSync network. In the post above you will see that I have chosen all of the Social Media which our sample business is synced with. The ‘f’ represents Facebook, the ‘g+’ represents Google + and the ‘w’ represents the Shine Online Webpage. To uncheck a platform, simply click on the icon, it will grey out and your post will not be published on that platform.

Once the Social Post is ready simply click the ‘Post’ button.

You’ll be able to see that the post is shared when it appears in the Social Post Feed ‘All posts’ and track it’s performance as you can see here:


Use the listings tab ‘View Listing’ to check out the post on Facebook and Google Plus too.

Here are some screenshots taken just after the message was posted from SnapSync:


Social Posting on SnapSync is incredibly simple and effective. It will save your business time and money and help bring customers to your door.

Try it now for yourself, if you need any assistance, as always, our team is available during office hours to assist you, simply call us on (01) 6188000.

Click here to login

Not yet using SnapSync? Find out more and run a free Scan on your business listings at today!

Happy posting!

SnapSync News: Update your Bank Holiday Opening Hours


Open for Business!

Holiday Season is fast approaching. No sooner have children settled back into school and we have Mid-Term, October Bank Holiday, Halloween and Christmas Season on our doorsteps!

Your customers will regularly check your opening hours online as they decide where to spend their valuable time and money.

Before the busy business of the holiday season takes hold of you and your team, take this opportunity to update your Opening Hours across the SnapSync network and ensure that your customers know when you’re open!

Simply click here now to update your Opening Hours and more now!

We've made this short video to quickly show you how you can update your opening hours on SnapSync. Have a quick watch then simply click here to update your Opening Hours now across the SnapSync network!

We’ve made this short video to quickly show you how you can update your opening hours on SnapSync. Have a quick watch then simply click here to update your Opening Hours now across the SnapSync network!