These days, it’s impossible to market a business (small or large) and connect with customers without social media. Whereas building a social presence sounds easy enough, it involves much more than just posting content occasionally. To see success with your strategy, you need to be spending at least a few hours a week on each platform — and who has time for that?
One solution is to turn to social media virtual assistants.
What Does a Social Media Assistant Do?
There’s no standard social media virtual assistant job description. You can find VAs to carry out just about any social media task you can think of. Some of the main social media virtual assistant services include the following.
1. Setting Up Accounts
If you have a new startup or you’re looking to expand your social presence to more platforms, your VA can set up your accounts. This involves choosing the right pictures, writing your bio, and starting the process of gaining followers.
2. Developing a Strategy
Having a strategy is key to seeing results in social media. It’s no good just posting content you think users will like: you need to have an objective. A virtual assistant can determine what objectives would be most beneficial to your business according to your current strengths and weaknesses. The VA will then create a strategy to help you meet these targets.
3. Drawing Up a Content Calendar
In addition, you can’t just figure out what you’ll post as you go along. A content calendar makes sure you target each buyer persona, as well as customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey. It also ensures you post a mix of content types and aligns your strategy across different platforms.
4. Creating Content
Once you know what you’ll be posting, you need to create the appropriate content. A social media virtual assistant can do this for you, too. Content creation may involve making graphics, editing video footage, repurposing content you already have, or even just finding images to go with a message. All this takes time and requires know-how.
5. Content Curation
Not all of your posts need to be original. In fact, sharing others’ content can help your accounts become more active and reach a wider audience. A social media virtual assistant will know where to look for content to share and how to decide it’s worth sharing.
6. Scheduling Posts
To see the highest possible engagement, it’s important to post content at the right time. Scheduling will ensure your post goes live at exactly the moment you want — without the inconvenience of needing to manually post.
7. Running Ads
Another way to increase your reach is to use paid as well as organic content. Your VA can write ad copy, set targeting, and use A/B testing to find what makes ads perform best.
8. Research and Analysis
It’s impossible to know what will work without research and what is working without analysis. Research allows your virtual assistant to find out things like who makes up your target audience and what your competitors are doing. Analysis assesses the results of your posts to figure out how you can keep improving.
9. Monitoring Conversations
Monitoring shows you what users are saying about your content and brand as a whole and then steer the conversation in the right direction. Your virtual assistant can answer questions, dispel myths, and respond to feedback — both positive and negative. You can also ask your VA to answer private messages to keep response times fast.
It may be possible to find one virtual assistant to do all of the above, but many business owners prefer to contract at least a couple VAs. This allows you to assign the more routine tasks to a general virtual assistant and the complex activities (like strategy, content creation, and analysis) to a specialist.
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Social Media
Of course, a social media virtual assistant is only one of your options. You could hire an employee to work in house or handle social media tasks yourself. However, there are downsides to both of these alternatives.
In-House Employee vs Virtual Assistant
Hiring an in-house employee is much more expensive than contracting a virtual assistant. When you hire an employee, you need to pay for office space, supplies, and benefits. With a virtual assistant, you incur none of these expenses. Furthermore, you don’t even need to pay your VA a salary — you just pay for the hours you need.
Plus, it’s faster to get started with social media virtual assistants than with an employee. VAs require minimal onboarding and you can expect them to handle their own training.
Do It Yourself vs Virtual Assistant
It may seem like you’ll be able to save money by doing social media tasks yourself. But how much time do you really have to spare? When you take time away from the core activities that only you can do, it’s difficult for your business to grow.
In addition, unless you come from a marketing background, you lack the expertise of a social media virtual assistant. In fact, even if you learned social media marketing tactics a few years ago, your knowledge is already outdated. A social media virtual assistant, however, will be aware of all the latest trends.
If you want to see great results without breaking the bank, a social media virtual assistant is the way to go.
What Results to Expect
This brings us to the next point: what exactly can you expect to gain from working with social media virtual assistants?
Strategies That Work
An experienced social media virtual assistant will remove all the guesswork from strategies. VAs know what is likely to work based on past results with other clients. Campaigns are about evaluating where to make tweaks rather than trying completely new ideas and hoping something works.
Users are more engaged when you respond to their comments and have conversations with them. If you just post and never read comments, users will feel that you’re ignoring them. A virtual assistant will have the time to craft short responses to demonstrate that your brand is listening to its fans.
Another indication of success is reach: how many people are seeing your posts. A higher reach leads to greater brand recognition. Using their knowledge of your target audience, what is trending in your industry, and the top social media tactics of the moment (like what makes a popular post and how to collaborate with influencers), VAs can help you increase reach.
With a virtual assistant, you’ll never need to worry again about the day-to-day maintenance of your social media accounts. If you want to be as uninvolved as possible, you can just check reports to ensure campaigns are performing as you hoped. This will free you up to focus on other work.
How to Find the Right Virtual Assistant
You have three main options to find social media virtual assistants: freelance platforms, virtual assistant agencies, and job sites. There are pros and cons of each.
On a freelance platform, you can search for VAs using your own criteria and quickly compare candidates. It’s easy to find thousands of candidates based all over the world. You can be selective as you like in terms of skills, experience, rate, and location.
There are a huge number of VAs to choose from on the biggest freelance platforms. You can contract VAs to cover all the tasks you need, while ensuring that you stay within your budget. If a virtual assistant falls short of your expectations, it’s easy to find someone new.
In addition, the freelance platform will manage the payment for you. You can pay by the hour or per project — in either case, you’ll have payment protection. This means the virtual assistant will only receive funds once work is complete to your standards.
The interview process can be quite restrictive on a freelance platform. For instance, you’ll need to keep all communication on the platform until you decide to hire the VA.
Virtual Assistant Agencies
When you use a virtual assistant agency, you are matched with a VA who will meet your needs. There’s no need to search for candidates yourself.
Like with a freelance platform, you have payment protection when you contract through an agency. Another advantage is that you can start working with a VA immediately. Simply request the services you need and the agency will pair you with suitable social media virtual assistants.
In addition, if a virtual assistant is ever unavailable or decides to quit without much notice, you’ll receive a new VA in minutes. This is particularly important for any task, but it’s crucial for social media, as pausing your strategy even for a short time can ruin your efforts.
You have no choice about who to work with when contracting through an agency. Whereas you can usually ask to change to a different VA, you’ll have no opportunity to select individual VAs.
A final option is to search for candidates on job sites. This provides you with a great amount of choice, but you may need to look in more than one place to find VAs that meet your requirements.
Searching for social media virtual assistants on job sites gives you the most freedom of all. It’s up to you to decide how to conduct the interview and how you want to pay your virtual assistant. Plus, unlike hiring through a freelance platform or using an agency, there are no service fees. This may mean you’re able to find lower rates.
To pay upfront, you’ll need to trust that the VA will do the work and not just disappear. If you pay after the project is complete, the virtual assistant will need to trust you!
In addition, if your social media VA decides to leave, you’ll need to go through the whole process of searching for someone new again. To avoid surprises, you could create a contract — but this could also mean you get stuck with someone who does subpar work until the contract term ends.
What to Look For in a Social Media Assistant
Now you know why you should want a social media virtual assistant and where to look, all that’s left is to pick the right candidate.
Social media virtual assistant rates vary widely according to skills, experience, and the types of tasks you need. Having an idea of what’s typical will tell you if a VA is charging a reasonable amount.
For basic tasks, you may be able to pay as little as $3 (especially if you hire a VA from a country where living costs are low). However, the minimum for a social media virtual assistant in the U.S. is around $10 and the average is about $15 an hour. For more advanced tasks, you can expect to pay as much as $25 per hour.
The exact skills you should look for in a social media virtual assistant will depend on why you need a VA. For instance, if you want someone who can schedule posts, look for a VA who knows how to use the top scheduling tools. You should also consider expertise on particular platforms. If you have a tight budget, you may need to settle for a virtual assistant who has less experience or specializes in fewer platforms.
Questions to Ask in the Interview Process
Vetting candidates is just the first stage of the process. Once you have a shortlist, invite them to an interview. Asking the right questions is key to arriving at the right choice. What exactly you ask will depend on what you’re looking for, but consider adapting some of the following questions:
- What services do you offer?
- Which platforms do you specialize in?
- What tools and tech do you know how to use?
- Do you have experience in my industry or niche?
- What are the most important KPIs to you?
- How do you keep up with changes to platforms and best practices?
There’s nothing complex about finding a social media virtual assistant — you just need to know where to look and how to narrow down candidates to arrive at the best choice. Once you’ve found someone suitable, you can start working with your VA in just a few days. You should almost immediately see results in your social media presence. And, if you don’t see the results you were expecting, finding a new VA to take over tends to be fast and easy.