As an entrepreneur, you frequently don’t have an in-office support network. This is why many business owners partner with a virtual assistant. VAs utilize the internet to work with clients around the world. Because they work virtually, they can be located in distant parts of the globe. You, as an entrepreneur have the world’s workforce at your fingertips.
If you are new to the concept of virtual assistants, the dictionary definition is:
“A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.” (Source)
I have found that many entrepreneurs are interested in outsourcing tasks to a virtual assistant but aren’t sure what to delegate. One simple way is to start a list of tasks that you feel aren’t in your ‘sweet spot’ or you just don’t enjoy doing. Actually create this list, either on paper, your computer or your phone, as you go through the next week. Then review it and determine what tasks you could outsource. The following are some tasks that may show up on that list.
What You Can Outsource to a Virtual Assistant.
1. Email Management
“On average, office workers receive at least 200 messages a day and spend about two-and-a-half hours reading and replying to emails.” (Forbes)
I’m sure this is more for entrepreneurs! If you don’t believe this, time yourself every time you read or answer an email tomorrow. How much time do you spend on email?
You can reduce that time when you delegate email management to a virtual assistant. She/he can
- Sort emails into appropriate folders so you know what must be handled immediately and what can wait
- Answer routine emails
- Take care of customer service issues
2. Client Care
How much time do you spend scheduling your clients, setting up meetings, sending call recordings and reminders?
Depending on the number of clients you serve, this could equal several hours a day. Delegating this to your virtual assistant will provide better quality service and improve customer satisfaction.
3. Social Media
Social Media can be a time-sucking black hole. 43% of small businesses spend over 6 hours a week on social media. Does any of this sound familiar?
Besides simply scheduling the posts you create, here are some of the items your virtual assistant can take care of for you.
Finding, creating or editing images to use in posts
Not sure why you need to use images in your social media posts?
“Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.” Kissmetrics
“When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.” Lifelearn
Convinced? Your next question may be where do I find all these images and edit them to fit my needs? There are many places you can find images but you need to be sure they are royalty free or that the creator will let you share with proper credit noted. Your virtual assistant can find or create these images for you. One more thing you can mark off your list.
Curating quality content from relevant sources
You’ve probably heard ‘social media is supposed to be SOCIAL.’ What this means to you is every one of your posts should not be about you. There are several ‘rules of thumb’ regarding how many of your posts should be self-promotion. The one recommend is:
30 percent of your content is owned
60 percent of your content should be curated
10 percent of your content can be promotional
As you can see, 60% of your content needs to be owned by someone else.
Your virtual assistant can monitor the internet for content that pertains to your keywords. She can then create posts that link back to the curated content. You can breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to do all the research!
Keeping track of brand mentions
One of the things you should be doing constantly is keeping track of where and when your brand is being talked about on the internet. To maintain your stellar reputation or save it when there are negative remarks, you need to know who is talking about you and how. One survey found that 84% of consumers expect companies to respond within 24 hours after posting on social media.
If you or your virtual assistant are not monitoring brand mentions, you will miss a lot of these comments and this will directly affect your reputation. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it needs to be a priority.
4. Content Management and Marketing
If you’ve been employing content marketing for any length of time, you more than likely have a vast collection of content. Take a look at all of the blog posts, eBooks, reports, social media posts, articles, infographics and other audio/video content that you’ve created to date. You probably have accumulated enough content to fill a library! You can use this collection of content, and future content, in a more productive manner. And it’s a great job to outsource to a virtual assistant!
Creating and managing your editorial calendar
Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay
You know what to share but if you post it all at the same time, people will get confused. And you will be surprised how quickly you run out of things to share. To avoid this you need to create an editorial calendar.
In other words, make a timeline and plan which topics you want to post first and which ones should follow in chronological order. If you know your destination and the best way to reach it, you can easily get back on track when you get sidetracked (and you will).
After meeting with you and learning your goals and purpose for the content, a virtual assistant can create and manage the calendar.
If you need a template to get started, there are many available on-line and a google search will provide a variety of options. Hubspot is my favorite.
Finding statistics for your content
When you quote statistics in your content it helps establish the validity, credibility, and relevance of your piece. The toothpaste companies are the best example of this with ‘9 out of 10 dentists recommend our toothpaste.’ By referring to someone who is recognized as an expert, they set themselves up as the best product.
Finding these statistics and ensuring they are from a valid source can take time. Be sure you don’t take any statistic at face value. It’s a good idea to investigate the source.
Promoting your content
If you’re consistently publishing high quality, relevant content and no one is reading it, ask yourself how you are promoting that content.
There are literally millions of websites on the internet competing for readers’ attention. If you are only posting your content on your blog, or even a few social networks, it will be hard to get anyone to notice you. To get your target audience to read your content, you need to promote it.
There are almost as many ways to do this as there are websites on the internet. Be sure you are implementing the best practices for your industry or niche. One I always recommend is Medium.com
All of these content marketing tasks and many others can be completed quickly and efficiently when you outsource them to a professional virtual assistant. This will save you time and your content will become a valuable marketing tool.
5. Other Tasks You Can Outsource
Your virtual assistant can handle many of the routine as well as special tasks for your business. Here are just a few of the tasks you can delegate to him/her.
- Client Emails
- Email replying and filtering
- Appointment scheduling
- Calendar Management
- Expense report processing
- Customer record update and maintenance
- Vendor research
- Document management
- Press Release Distribution
- Email Marketing
- Internet Research
- Video/Audio Editing
- Graphic Design: Logos, banners, etc.
- Website Design & Maintenance
- Sales Pages/Opt-In Pages
- Membership Site Setup and Moderate
- Registration pages and back-office systems – including conference lines, recordings and class materials
- Client Concierge: Manage client’s questions and program needs.
- Moderate calls
- Program Follow-Up Surveys
- Profile Setup
- Group Page Setup and Monitor
- Posting to social platforms
- Creation of posts and memes
- Blog Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Blog Marketing
- Email Marketing
(Note that not all virtual assistants’ will have expertise in each of these areas so be clear what you need when you start your search.)