Technology has drastically changed the way people do business. Over two decades ago, successful marketing agencies had to be big firms with a team of creatives and strategies and a huge budget to boot. However, the internet has carved a special niche in the last couple of decades in the form of digital marketing and here, social media is king.
Today, digital marketers who are experts in promoting brands and building communities around them have access to a $15 billion industry that is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
If you have been in the digital marketing profession long enough, chances are you’re looking into expanding your services and even putting up your own social media agency. However, this can be a big leap particularly if you’re used to dealing with clients by yourself.
Virtual assistants (VAs) are an excellent option for you if you need an extra pair of hands while running your own social media management business. Today, we will be walking you through the rudiments of finding and hiring a virtual assistant for social media agencies. Let’s get started!
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Why You Need a VA for Your Social Media Agency
If you’re a freelancer, you are probably used to doing things on your own. However, things are different when you decide to run your own company.
There are so many things you need to juggle when you run an agency. You’ll have to think about strategies to win over clients, craft packages that offer great value for different price points, and meet client deadlines along with a long list of day-to-day business management tasks.
Your days can get swamped pretty easily so having someone who can take some things off your plate can really help you.
If you are still not convinced that you need help from a virtual assistant for social media agencies, then here's a quick round-up of reasons that might resonate with you:
1. Virtual Assistants can help you save time
As a business owner, the most valuable asset you have is your time. You need a whole lot of it so you can keep growing your social media agency. Frankly, the only way to do that is to learn how to delegate tasks that may be essential for your business but are not part of your core competency.
With the help of a VA, you can save a lot of time and be able to use it more wisely day in and day out.
2. Virtual Assistants can strengthen weaker aspects of your business
While you can possess a wide range of skills as a digital marketer, you will not always have a knack for everything, There will always be a skill gap in your organization that a virtual assistant for social media agencies can help you fill.
Some VAs even specialize in improving the productivity of an organization through developing and implementing procedures for streamlining your workflow. What’s more, a VA can also identify ineffective systems in your organization and develop solutions that address them.
3. Hiring a VA can help you save money
Hiring a virtual assistant is one of the most cost-effective decisions you can make as a business owner. Most VAs charge only for hours rendered which helps reduce your overhead costs.
Moreover, you don’t have to spend a fortune on in-house team members since a lot of VAs already have the skillsets you need.
4. You Can Focus on Your Core Competency
As a business owner, you need to put a lot of time and effort into perfecting and focusing on your core competencies. The truth is there are business operations that do not require your full attention every day. The sooner you accept this, the better you can run your agency.
A virtual assistant for social media agencies can take care of routine tasks for you so you don’t have to spend a majority of your workday dealing with these tasks.
Tasks that a VA can Take Off Your Plate
Virtual assistants are highly skilled professionals that can offer you various services so you can focus on generating revenue while the sometimes less glamorous side of your business still runs smoothly.
While there is a wide array of tasks you can delegate, there are three overarching aspects of your business where VAs and their skillsets often shine. This includes administrative work, customer service, and of course, tasks that are specific to social media.
Administrative work is often repetitive and doesn't require your full attention. This includes:
Receptionist tasks like answering messages and organizing appointment bookings
Meanwhile, when it comes to customer service, everyone can agree that it takes a specific set of qualities in order to be effective in this area. VAs specializing in this type of work employ active listening, empathy, problem-solving, and of course effective communication.
Some customer service tasks that a virtual assistant for social media agencies can help you with include:
Responding to and managing customer inquiries
Maintaining relationships with long-term and repeat clients
Addressing customer complaints
The third aspect of running your agency is, of course, the social part itself. As a digital marketing professional, you understand the value of social media presence for a business. However, now that you are running your own company, you won’t have time to do this yourself.
The good news is you can hire a VA to help you with the following:
Scheduling posts across social networks
Creating and sending out your monthly newsletters
Updating your business information
Replying to comments
Interacting with followers through liking their comments, pictures, or posts
Confirming posts from your monthly blog
Inviting people to like your social media pages
Creating a custom social network page (if you don’t already have one)
Tracking and measuring the key performance indicators of your social media accounts
Where to Find the Right VA for Your Agency
Finding a virtual assistant for social media experts like you don't have to be a daunting task anymore. These days, there are many ways to find the right person who can make your life easier as a business owner.
One of the easiest ways to find a VA is by asking people in your network. You can ask fellow business owners, partners, mentors, clients, and other people you’ve worked with before.
There is always power in referrals. Chances are, the people in your network can recommend someone who fits your qualifications or they can introduce you a service that specializes in virtual assistants for social media agencies.
You may also find reputable VAs at industry workshops or events. The best part about finding a VA through this channel is that he or she may already be familiar with the ins and outs of the social media marketing trade so you won’t have to spend too much time onboarding them.
Alternatively, you can visit freelancer marketplaces like FreeeUp which pre-vet VAs to make sure that they possess the skills, attitude, and communication that you and your business can benefit from.
What to Look for in a VA
A general rule of thumb when looking for virtual assistants is to judge them based on their capacity and competency. They should be able to handle the tasks at hand efficiently so you can focus on business processes you are good at.
In terms of qualifications, a VA should have prior experience that is relevant to the task.
You may also ask for samples of past work as well as for testimonials from past clients. Be sure to check candidates’ portfolios to make sure that what they can offer is in line with your expectations. You may even do a trial run of tasks you think are necessary.
Furthermore, a VA should be able to communicate well and should follow standard turnaround times for correspondence.
As far as preference for traits goes, it's more of a personal choice. However, a few general things to look for include the ability to learn quickly, honesty, transparency, and accountability.
An effective virtual assistant should also be able to work despite the absence of overly detailed directions. He or she must also be able to think of ways to improve or grow your business.
The VA Hiring Process
The whole process of hiring a virtual assistant for social media agencies like yours doesn’t have to be complicated. Here, we will outline the four main steps you need to take when you’re looking for a VA:
Step 1: Create a task description and post it online
Identify the tasks you need help with and design a description for each one. Remember that a clear task description is important so that you and your potential VA’s expectations are met.
Be sure to include background information about your business, the level of education or skills required for the task, a list of duties and responsibilities, as well as any apps, tools or software you expect the VA to use.
Once you the description is ready, post it on your preferred platform or send it out to your network.
Step 2: Review applications and start interviewing people
Once you receive applications, you may start shortlisting promising VAs. Once you have a list of five to ten people, you can start interviewing them. (Note that you can skip this stage if you hire through a marketplace like FreeeUp.)
At this point, it’ll be your choice whether you’ll interview them over the phone, through a video call, or via chat.
Apart from asking about their work experience and skills, you should also ask potential VAs questions that will help you understand their values, strengths, and their workflow. Ask them about their goals, their work process, their hobbies, how they handle difficult scenarios, and the like.
Step 3: Give candidates a test
If you’ve narrowed down your candidates to two or three but you still aren’t sure which one to hire, you may give them a paid test. Ask them to complete a task that’ll be part of their regular responsibilities.
In doing so, you will be able to see how well they perform in day-to-day situations which will make your decision easier in the end.
Step 5: Onboard the VA
Once you’ve found the perfect virtual assistant for your social media agency, it’s time to onboard.
Set up a conference call to reintroduce the VA to your company, dive deeper into their role, set up an on-going schedule, daily check-in times and weekly meetings.
It’s also important to introduce the VA to your business tools if you have specialized apps or software he or she may not be trained for yet. For instance, send login details to a company email and any other accounts he or she will be using.
If you have a company manual or guidelines, share it with your new VA. If you don’t, you should at least prepare a document that contains your expectations for the task.
Remember that Communication is Key
Virtual assistants work remotely which means they aren’t physically present and that you may have to deal with time zone differences. Because of this, constant and open communication is important for your working relationship to flourish.
Say what you mean and say it plainly
When working with a VA, it’s important to be clear with your instructions, expectations, and timelines. Avoid being vague and beating around the bush.
The only way for your relationship to thrive and for a VA to learn the ropes easily is through giving regular feedback. Don’t expect a VA to read your mind.
Constantly stay in touch with the VA. Set regular check-ins so you can touch base and make sure that everything is going smoothly on both your ends.
Reward their successes
Positive reinforcement is crucial when someone is working with you remotely. Be sure to let the VA know when he or she is killing it and how your business is benefitting from their services. This way, you can motivate them to keep doing their best.
Every business owner needs an extra pair of hands. A virtual assistant for social media agencies can definitely help you with a lot of different tasks like administrative work, customer service, and social media strategy.
With these things off your plate, you can focus on more important things for your business, like growth. Use these tips to help you find the right VA so you can confidently pass off tasks and be free to scale.
About the Guest Author:
Connor Gillivan is the CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp.com, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler. He has sold over $30 million online, has hired hundreds of freelancers to build his companies, is a published author, and is the owner of ConnorGillivan.com. He currently lives in Denver, CO.