Sport, Social Media & Property Investment Opinions

Welcome to the Blog Page of Gareth Lloyd

Here you will find stories and content but most importantly opinion on the following topics covering sport, social media and property investment. This is about raising interest and sharing individual opinions where every voice is welcome to the topics raised. So Get Involved in the discussion Today.

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Social Media for Business

Previously having worked for organisations in a digital marketing capacity, focus and discussion from business quickly turns to “we want to be on Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, blogging, etc” without having any real thought process as to the why, where, when or how.

I think nowdays the penny has dropped for many businesses that social media is a powerful tool for marketing & promotions, communications and public relations however apart from knowing they need to have a presence within social networking, not much thought as to by being in these networks what they want to achieve that ties back into their overall business objectives.

Going about it with a well mapped out plan that involves all of your business and not just small pockets of certain areas of your business or selected staff, as the way forward so everyone connected to your business knows what is trying to be achieved by having a presence in  the land of social media.

 

 

 

Whenever I’m talking or consulting with business people who want a social media presence I always pose questions relating to:

- What benefit to your business do you hope to achieve from social media ?

- What are your competitors doing in social media that you know are their competitive advantage ?

- What resources and budget can you contribute to developing your social media presence ? (it’s not all for free)

- Who’s going to be involved in your social media journey ?

- Who will run your social media presence ? Internal staff, agency, business owner, consultant, etc ?

- How will social media cross over to your other digital assets ? (blog, website, email marketing, etc)

- Do you have a content/communications plan for social media ?

By asking yourself as a business some key questions in the initial phase will assist in identifying and reaching your goals and objectives through social media much more quickly.

As your social media presence evolves things will become much clearer and along the way you should be wanting to educate yourself and your staff in this journey that is the new way to attract new customers, retain established clients, become leaders in your market and industry as social media is the best medium to be accessed by all types of business for some time.

Remember it’s not so much what social media can do for your business but what you want social media to do for your business.

Interest Rates – What Will They Do ?

Being a home owner or property investor with a mortgage and deciding what to do with ones interest rate of should I fix or should I not, will rates go down or will they go up seems like we are all at a casino gambling on our immediate futures.

Depending on who you speak to or listening and/or reading expert opinions everyone seems to be divided on this issue and what will and should the RBA do next time they meet. Tracking the overseas markets and what the Australian dollar is doing lately will play a big part of if interest rates drop or remain the same for another month at least.

My personal view is that after the last rate rise in November 2010 followed up by the big 4 banks rate hike that this hurt many households and that a .25% rate drop would make up a little for the big increases in rates we were smacked with last year.

If there is one common viewpoint from many financial experts out there is that majority of households are saving more rather than spending that is a habit many have followed since the heights of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis). Government policies also come into place with like the Carbon Tax along with big hikes in electricity and gas bills that all play a part in peoples attitudes to spending versus saving further for a rainy day.

From here I guess it is ‘watch this space’ with what the RBA decides on current rates and for mortgage holders looking to fix their loans there are some great deals out there at the moment that would be worth considering to secure your finances for the future.

The Footy Codes Battle for Western Sydney

With anticipation building and the media focus turning more attention to the footy codes battle happening in Western Sydney with the introduction of the 18th AFL team for 2012 in Greater Western Sydney Giants (GWS) against the increase in Rugby League promotions and strategies to keep its status of Number 1 football code in the area I thought it timely to dissect what each code has to offer in what is shaping up to be a great boxing heavyweight title fight between the AFL v Rugby League.

In the RED Corner….the AFL with its loaded weapon of what seems now and endless pit of money since their billion dollar TV deal arrangement that they are able to throw all money needed at resources and promotions to promote the sport through new AFL franchise the GWS Giants. Allowing for the fact that this club will more than likely take considerable time to prop itself up on its own two feet financially the AFL no doubt will have planned for the initial settling in period to throw any money it can to make this venture succeed.

Some critics will say they have underestimated the support for rugby league in the area and that they don’t truly understand the culture of Sydney based football supporters as they can be quite different to the rest of the country in following or not following a football team.

From what I see is that the GWS will need to be competitive from the outset if they are to gain support from a state that will only tolerate a winning culture no matter who is playing or coaching the club (take note Sheedy and Folau). The key strategy that the AFL is trying to achieve in the set up phase of this new club is to drive community engagement and look to identify and establish meaningful connections to the multi-cultural demographic of western Sydney to support the game through GWS.

Especially for a professional sporting club if you can get the locals backing you and are passionate about your brand then more than likely they will stick by you and promote you through their own connections regardless of where the club is coming on the ladder. I would dare say their future supporters are the future migrants and communities to settle into the greater western Sydney region that will be looking to establish their own social connections through sport.

In the BLUE corner….the rugby league administrators who have had this region to themselves for so long should have if not already taken considerable steps to ensure their sport remains the main sport of choice for the people of greater western Sydney.

In my mind they have strength by numbers in the form of several professional teams in Parramatta, Wests Tigers, Penrith and Canterbury Bulldogs who should be working together with the NRL as a sport to ensure their market share for the future of the game in the area. When the new independent rugby league commission finally gets underway this should be their top priority to shore up the game in this region through an established and ongoing strategy.

Interesting to note a few years back now rugby league decided to follow the path of the AFL in establishing and promoting club memberships as a way to forge closer relationships between a fan and its club along with the financial benefits that a large membership base brings to a club. It is through establishing connections with your brand to community via various channels that will then bring financial benefits to a club and help grow the sport in that particular region.

Complacency by rugby league will provide a great opportunity for the AFL to score some easy points in this ultimate title fight and as a supporter of both codes I look forward to seeing what unfolds in the future and who will be champion of western Sydney.

How Do Interest Rates Affect Property Investing

With another reprieve from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) yesterday to put interest rates on hold for the seventh consecutive month there seems a great sigh of relief for many mortgage holders out in the community that for now they don’t need to go looking for more money to meet their repayments.

The double dip of the last interest rate increase from the RBA and major banks really put the brakes on consumer spending it seems and in particular families are still trying to catch up with meeting their mortgage payments and sadly for many another few hikes in interest rates at the moment would send them broke.

I might play devils advocate in saying whilst it is very sad to hear these stories of financial hardship I do wonder how much planning some families and individuals do when going into such huge debt as a mortgage and do they factor in interest rate increases happening in the future when initially jumping into home ownership ?

On evidence perhaps not as the dream of owning a home is still relevant today and people can tend to put the blinkers on regarding the risk factors that can occur such as interest rate increases, loss of employment, personal injury, etc.

For property investors like myself these rate hikes whilst not convenient are manageable as you do have people assisting to meet mortgage repayments namely the tenant and taxman. For mine if rates are going up it says to me that the economy is in a pretty good state of affairs and together with financial planning and the right insurance taken out as part of a risk management strategy that you should be able to survive the financial pressures in today’s variable economy.

Like always interested to hear people’s thoughts on how interest rates affect the property investing and home ownership desires.

2011 AFL Season – Who Has Impressed You ?

As the 2011 AFL season rolls on I thought it time to reflect on the first part of the season to see Who Has Impressed You in both team and individual performances. From my pre-season predictions I must say a couple of teams that stand out are Geelong and West Coast purely from the point of view that I thought they would struggle this season.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and with a new rookie coach coming on-board for the Cats this year many pundits could have been excused for believing that it would take time for this great team to play under a different face and voice of Chris Scott. This has probably been the catalyst for their success so far as there seems a freshness amongst this squad and players have stepped up left by the void of their best player in Gary Ablett.

Geelong will be Top 4 for this year and go very close to capturing another premiership as they have proved themselves against the other top contenders this year including Collingwood and Hawthorn.

West Coast Eagles and their coach John Worsfold have done an amazing job this year and proved everyone wrong with coming from wooden spooners last year to a genuine Top 8 contender. If predictions had gone to plan Worsfold would have been sacked by now, instead he is fast becoming ‘coach of the year’ with how the club has turned around their performances to date. There are still tests to come but for now a big pass mark must come against their name.

As for individual performances to date I must say Chris Judd (Carlton) is like a nice bottle of red wine and getting better with age and it won’t surprise me if he picks up his third Brownlow medal this year. James Kelly (Geelong) and Dale Thomas (Collingwood) seem to have elevated their games this year and are now A Grade players who are big factors as to why their clubs are up the top.

Tell us your great performances of note in the AFL this season and who you predict will come out on top for this season.

Is the Great Australian Dream Still Alive ?

For many Australians growing up in years gone by a symbol of success was owning your own home on a large block as a point to starting a family and living the comfortable lifestyle. Within today’s world though there seems to be a shift in thinking and attitudes to the ‘Great Australian Dream’ of home ownership from Gen Y and X and migrants new to Australia largely due to the way we live these days and the costs of owning a home.

The common theme for many people starting out and looking to purchase their first property is that it is unattainable due to the high buy-in costs to purchase a house these days across all our major capital cities that the alternative is to simply rent in an area you want to live in rather than purchase in an area that you can afford but don’t really want to live there.

The number of single households has increased as well over the years and for many it seems to be more desirable to live in an apartment than a stand alone house due to affordability and practicality reasoning.

In this busy world of ours who really wants to be spending increased time in maintaining a house or commuting extra distances to work if they don’t have to. Along with many more people migrating to Australia and the desire for many to live as close to a capital city as possible for work and lifestyle that there is more compact housing arrangements being built in the forms of large apartment blocks, townhouses and duplexes being constructed rather than houses as a shift in desirable living arrangements are being met.

For others the ‘Dream’ is still alive but a smarter strategy to get into the housing market is apparent with many First Home Buyers looking to purchase an investment property first, use the increased equity to either buy another investment property or to help them buy that home they have always wanted.

With the 2011 Census survey starting shortly it will be interesting to compare the results from the 2006 survey on things like home ownership and number of people living in each household as the world we live in today certainly has changed from a few years ago.

Blayney to Bathurst Bike Race Experience

As I write my latest blog with pain all through my body from my latest bike race experience in the Blayney to Bathurst 110km event organised by Cycling NSW one quote I heard recently comes to mind that is ‘To be able to suffer in cycling is the key to success’.

The race in its 7th year of existence is one of the highlights on the NSW cycling calendar and with well over 2000 cyclists participating the sheer weight of numbers suggests many keen cyclists have this as their individual target race for the year. I was riding with my club Sydney Uni Velo and it was great to see an array of clubs represented from around the state and really made it a carnival atmosphere.

After a perfect autumn day on the Saturday for the Hill Climb Championships and Criteriums the next day proved to be the opposite as the first and last time I saw the sun was leaving getting on the bus to be transported to the start line in Blayney and from there on it was a mixture of rain and wind along with very low temperatures throughout the day.

The race started off in 5 waves according to your anticipated average speed for the race as I started off in the 30-35km wave that proved to be accurate as I averaged 30km for the day that was not too bad with faced with the poor riding conditions. To give you an indication of the elite riders they were reported to be averaging 50km/h for the first half of the race with an overall average speed of 40+km/h that is quite brilliant over such a distance.

The first part of my plan was to get into a group that were going at a managable pace and together with some of my club mates we were able to average 35km/h for the first 40km in what was a fast part of the course. Then we turned 90 degrees and faced  a small climb before hitting massive headwinds that would split the large peleton we were in and it was every man and women for themselves as you either ended up riding by yourself or catching onto a small group to battle on with.

It was a mixture of both for me and I must say riding by myself for around 15km was very draining as you have no protection on your own and can be a real battle both physically and mentally to get through a tough stage like the one I faced. But battle on I did as the rain got heavier and visibility was decreasing you just hope for relief somewhere and for me it came with a massive peleton coming through that I was able to hitch on the back to be dragged through the next 10km.

With 25km to go the King of the Mountain (KOM) stage arrived that was a grinding 5km hill climb that to be honest did not look much of a challenge on arrival but soon after hitting the climb I noticed that my legs were really starting to hurt and I was scratching around for the lowest gear possible to get me up the hill. At times it felt I was hardly moving as I passed a few cyclists that were forced off their bikes due to cramping and it really was a matter of getting through this stage anyway you could to survive.

After reaching the top with 20km to go it was very welcoming to be greeted with a water station to top up and re-fuel for the descent back down into Bathurst and with some riders reaching speeds of 80km/h this was when you could really make up some lost time over the journey. So down the mountain I went and just praying that my aching body could hang on and survive as soon after the descent I latched onto another small group to ride through the next 10km with before I decided to step up the pace to stay on track to achieve the time I was aiming for.

With 4km to go I needed to ride under 10 minutes to hit my time goal and again I decided to hit the hammer down to reach the finish line. As I got up out of the saddle to put on a sprint I felt a sensational shockwave go through my body as I realised both of my quads cramped up at the same time as my legs went into a spasm where I could not pedal any longer and was forced to crash over to the side of the road as I tried to stretch out both cramps so I could continue on.

After losing 3 minutes I knew on this occasion my ideal time would not be achieved and it was just a matter of rolling through the next few kilometers to the finish line. Passing round a sharp bend there were two cyclists who had just had a heavy crash and were both flat on their back with cuts and scratches that to me summed up what a brutal day this was together with what was reported later that 40 cyclists had crashed at the 60km mark with around 20 riders having to retire from the race.

Heading up the last incline and praying the my cramps would not return I managed to get through and roll over the finish line to the relief that my pain and suffering had finished and I could celebrate a great achievement with all other riders who had completed the course.

Overall this was a fantastic event and experience and the organisers did a great job over the entire weekend. The sport of cycling is such a great challenge for oneself and no matter what ability of rider or fitness level you are at there is always a test for each cyclist in an event like Blayney to Bathurst and no doubt I’ll be back like so many others will be next year.

Other articles

Riders pushed to their limits

Photos from B2B

Why Local Businesses Should Use Location Based Social Media Marketing

As the smoke starts to clear from the rapid fire of social media and the ever-increasing popularity of channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare the questions start to arise of ‘where to from here ? ‘.

With such large audiences using these social media channels for a local business who may have a large Facebook fan base and/or big Twitter following the question should be ‘How do we leverage these opportunities for increase sales and/or enquiries ? ‘.

The answer and the next trend I see is for business to utilise location-based social media marketing in the form of Foursquare and Facebook Places. These services are a great way for ‘word of mouth marketing’ where it is the consumer talking to other consumers about your business and in hopefully most cases being a promoter of your business and brand.

An example I had recently was when I was at local pub near where I live and through using Foursquare to check in via my mobile phone I came across the hundreds of other people who had done the same recently and left comments about the business from its food menu, service, decor, atmosphere, etc.  After reading the very positive comments about this pub it got me wondering if the business owners firstly knew about Foursquare and secondly were they actively involved in the conversations being had about their business online ?

Without going into too much detail about the likes of Foursquare and Facebook Places and how they work, for a business they can leverage these channels to great effect through running promotions and by ‘claiming the business’ on these channels. The benefits of claiming your business and running a promotion through these channels can include:

- higher patronage to your establishment.

- increased frequency of visitation by your most loyal customers.

- instant feedback about your business.

- rewards customer loyalty.

- to acquire and retain customers.

- separates your brand from your competitors.

- increases in overall ROI.

It is those businesses that take the initiative to utilise these new forms of marketing tools to their advantage that will separate themselves from the competition as the eyes and ears of the consumer have changed considerable and rapidly to where they spend their time and money.

Do you or a business your frequent utilise Foursquare or Facebook Places ?

What Drives Sports Fan Engagement ?

Having recently been interviewed by a sporting organisation for a Community Marketing & Fan Engagement Officer role with a particular focus on creating and driving strategies to identify and acquire new fans for a new sporting club franchise it got me thinking as to the key drivers for someone to follow a particular sport and team.

Now for myself I was brought up on sport at a young age by my parents in particular Aussie Rules, Rugby League, Soccer and Cricket in both following and participating in all of these sports. When I think back a large majority of friendships were made through sport and to even this day sport plays a large part of my social and professional life.

For major sporting clubs and organisations this is now a real focus within their staff structure to have Fan Engagement Officers that predominately act as the brand ambassadors for the sport and club. The competitive landscape to create an awareness and attract new fans and communities to a sport brand is paramount to that sporting brand existing for its own future development.

I would go as far to say without fans, supporters and/or advocates (call it what you like) that there is little future for a sport brand as without this essential asset there are no revenue opportunities through memberships, merchandise, ticket sales, sponsorships and large media rights deals. You just need to see what the new TV rights deals for both AFL and NRL that will be negotiated shortly that due to their large fan base around the country that these are big dollars at stake so for these sports in particular fan engagement initiatives are essential for the future growth of each sport.

So back to what makes you follow a sport and/or club is it because:

- Family culture that you were brought up to follow a particular sport/team ?

- You are able to relate to a sport through participation ?

- You see sport as an avenue to make new connections and develop friendships along the way ?

- You enjoy the health benefits of participating in a chosen sport ?

- Your friends and/or work colleagues got you into following a team ?

- You use sport to network and develop business relationships  ?

Have you ever sat back and think how much you spend on a sport related activity as well each year ? What are you worth to that sport and/or club that you support ? From personal experience last year alone I spent over $7500 to pursue my passion for cycling so as an engaged fan of that sport I am worth a fair bit.

So Why Do you Invest in Property ?

As I catch up on this weeks property investment news from industry commentators and leading property institutes on the latest figures around the country I do from time to time ponder what got me interested in property investment in the first place.

I suppose you could call it a ‘semi’ passion of mine this property investing as apart from having a portfolio even though small to date for the past few years I have attended countless seminars, read monthly property magazines, read property related blogs and follow certain experts through social media. I do all this to educate myself so when it comes to investing in large sums of money that it is a less riskier option as I know what I am doing.

You see to me property investing is an avenue to retire more comfortably and hopefully earlier than if I was not investing and through establishing good relationships with key professionals from accountants, property buyers, solicitors, financial planners who are experts in their field that I am guided with the best possible advice for property acquisition and structuring.

Property is also an investment vehicle I understand and trust as oppose to the share market and the volatility that comes with that investment sector. I’m not for one letting a share trader make decisions on my behalf where I should invest as there is a real satisfaction of being able to make the key decisions yourself to investing I believe.

To me it is amazing the low percentages of Australians that are property investors and those that are the percentages that have less than two properties in their portfolio as only having one or two will not be enough for you to retire comfortably on. The most common reason people don’t invest more is generally down to risk and their mindset to investing in property for the longer term.

They hear stories in the media of property bubbles and the massive decreases in property values through the US in relation to the GFC and many think it will most likely happen here as well. I can tell you the property and lending markets could not be more different and due to our very stable banking system Australia is in a good place to continue its solid property growth.

You just have to look at overseas ownership of local housing to realise that the Australian market is a very attractive place for investors and it is those that have both a finance & property strategy, good team of experts to call upon, understand the different phases of a property cycle and most importantly have a mindset to want to be able to build their property portfolio will be the one’s that retire when they choose to later in life.

So again I’ll ask why do you invest in property ? And if not why not ?

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