Social media has undeniably had a massive impact on modern-day society. Our dependence on this communication channel is seen in the way in which we use our mobile phones to browse through the various social media apps, searching, trying for inspiration, and hoping to receive the latest news. This is the perspective of the consumer, but what if you are on the other side? Namely that of the founder of a startup, or manager of a business. Do you understand the value you could gain from social media? However shocking it may seem, some businesses do not yet have a website, never mind space on any social media channels. Reasons for this will vary, from not being skilled with the different platforms, to lacking the funds to hire an onsite employee to manage these channels for them. This is the focus of this article – how a virtual social media assistant can be used to assist your business to reap the fruits of digital marketing. Let us first explain some terms, and then discuss the benefits.
A virtual social media assistant
A virtual assistant for social media is a person working remotely (hence the term virtual), mostly from their own home office. They will have a solid knowledge of social media, copywriting, some graphic experience (could even be using Canva’s professional edition), and experience with paid advertising. A virtual assistant is really a consultant hired to assist a company. Such a person is not a full-time employee of the company, making the cost associated with hiring a virtual assistant much lower. In fact, some businesses can save up to 70% on operating costs. The reason for this is that the business forgoes costs such as taxes, benefits, and setting up and maintaining an office space.
Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing efforts are focused on internet-based platforms. These platforms do vary. But include websites, emails, social media, and paid advertising. Various forms of marketing can be deployed. These range from content marketing (for instance blogs, whitepapers, and case studies), to video marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing. What they all have in common is that they are digital forms of communications aimed at reaching the consumer. In digital marketing, massive amounts of personal data are stored on multiple social media channels. Software such as cookies can be used to narrow your market down. You can then target a specific group of people, for instance, in Newfoundland, aged 35-50. You would then not waste your marketing budget on reaching people 15-25 living in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The various types of social media
When you think of social media, you might think of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; however, the list of platforms is much longer. Other sites include Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, but also messaging apps such as Telegram, and WhatsApp. In addition, community-based sites such as Reddit, Quora, and Yelp are also viable, the full list being much longer. The important point is that you need not be on all these platforms – seriously, you don’t! What you should be doing when you devise your social media strategy is to consider the identity of your niche market. Build up a profile of your main customers, and those consumers you would want to attract as customers. Once you have this in place you can move on to select the social media channels that will help you best to reach these people.
Selecting the social media channels that will work for you
Even though you might be outsourcing your social media to a virtual assistant, you still cannot spread yourself out on all the social media platforms. Be selective. First, consider your market. Then think about the resources you are willing to spend on being on these different platforms. You will, for example, not just be paying a virtual assistant to create the copy and accomplish the posting. You might need a graphic designer if you want custom-designed images. These images might need to be edited to fit in with your brand’s identity. And you might even want to invest in software such as Hootsuite on which you can upload all your content and then schedule it from a central point, which will make analytics easier. Normally, companies would use the channels they are familiar with. However, have a look at your competition, and note what they are using. Study their channels and observe where they are failing and where they are winning. After all, you will be competing against them when you join these channels. That said, the most common channels people migrate to are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and if applying B2B marketing, you would need to consider LinkedIn.
Now – how a virtual assistant can help
A virtual assistant for social media will be able to handle your nest of social media channels. Such a person will be responding to customers and engaging with them. Also, they will be posting fresh content and sharing content of other brands you might have partnerships with. Most importantly, the assistant will learn how to style and conduct their work based on your brand’s identity. This means that if, for instance, you are an auction house dealing with valuable art pieces, the tone used will be much more formal than that adopted by a surf shop with a very young and outgoing client base. However, an experienced social media assistant will be able to draft the social media campaigns to match the market and add the content into their social media calendars, ready for posting.
But what else can a social media assistant bring to the table?
Lead generation via social media
The goal with any marketing effort is to reach your niche market, engage with them, and then lead them down the marketing funnel so that they ultimately buy from you and become your customers. On social media, there are massive amounts of information. For instance, on a LinkedIn profile, you would obtain information such as their name, where they live, where they work, what degrees and education they have completed, and even some info about their interests. Add this information to info from other social media channels, and you could build up a very good database on your consumers. More so, you can use techniques to drive more traffic to your website or gather their email addresses to start a drip-email campaign for them.
Some lead-generation tricks you might want to try
A very popular SEO method is using a Facebook group to gather your ideas, marketing, and then engage with them. This involves a great deal of work and time, but it will be well worth it. Other tools you can use are online quizzes or offering a free course or content that your consumer might find interesting. Overall, the goal is to enlarge your database with your ideal consumers. You will need to clear the list now and then. This will be mostly to remove spammers, and clients that have not interacted with you over the past 90 days.
Time to hire your social media assistant
When you are ready to take the next step, contact us. If you need additional advice, we have an outsourcing expert onboard who can guide you, drawing on his decade of experience of working with and advising large international corporations. A reminder − when you take on Aristo Sourcing, you are not left high and dry. We remain on board with you to support you as you grow and scale your business successfully.