Business owners realize that social media, from Facebook to Instagram to Yelp, isn’t going away. But that doesn’t mean they have much time to spend on it themselves!
Often the easiest and best solution is to outsource social media and other administrative tasks to a virtual assistant. As a result, virtual assistance and social media management are growing every day as legitimate ways to make money online.
As you build your business as a virtual assistant or social media manager, you’ll learn the ins and outs of marketing through social media. Social media marketing is one of the most powerful ways to generate interest in your services.
However, to find clients, social media marketing alone is not enough.
You need to reach business owners who spend little or no time on social media themselves, and don’t have the time, knowledge or desire.
These people are your ideal clients, because they are the ones you can help the most. They know it’s an important path to getting customers, but have no idea where to start.
But at the same time, they are not on social media because they don’t have the time, technical knowledge or both.
So how do you reach those potential clients? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Here are five of the best, proven strategies for promoting yourself as a virtual assistant or social media marketer and finding great clients.
First, do some market research.
Before you know how to get the attention of the people you want to serve, you need to know what their questions are and where they’re going for answers.
The first step is to do some keyword research. Your keyword research will help you create a list of words, phrases, questions, and topics that your clients are thinking and asking about, so that you can use them in all of your marketing.
What questions or phrases will your best clients type into Google? Write down as many as you can come up with and then start doing those searches Look at the results that pop up and see if it helps you come up with more ideas for keywords. See if you can find other businesses that have great results for the searches you’re doing and click through to see what else they’re writing about.
To be more effective with your market research, talk to as many potential clients as you can. You can ask your current clients what their biggest questions were about social media marketing or getting help from a virtual assistant before they hired you. If you don’t have a client yet, start asking about your regular life. Anytime you meet a business owner around town or online, ask them about social media questions. The more you can do this, the more you’ll know about the problems you’re trying to solve and the better you’ll be able to speak to your ideal client in your marketing.
1. Have a well designed website.
A great website is the core of your virtual assistant business. This is your online hub and will act as your own online business card, resume and “storefront”.
Even if a business owner doesn’t spend time on social media, he is definitely familiar with the Internet and the process of searching for information online. Make sure you have a website that is optimized to capture searches in terms the business owner can use. This is where all your keyword research comes in handy.
On the front page of your website, have big, clear buttons that allow potential clients to differentiate themselves so you can tell them what they need at the start. For example, if you offer social media management, have separate buttons for those who need to build a social media presence from scratch and those who have a social media presence and need help maintaining it.
When the new client follows the intended link, have content that clearly explains how social media marketing works, including case studies and testimonials. Make sure the clients you profile are the ones you’re trying to reach: Know they need social media marketing but have no idea how to go about it.
Don’t forget to collect email addresses of your visitors. This allows you to follow up with people multiple times instead of just trying to catch them during a fleeting visit. Don’t rely on the contact form alone. Offer your visitors something in exchange for an email address, like a free guide or a checklist they can download.
Finally, make sure your site has links to your own business’s current social media feeds on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Show them that your own efforts are ongoing and up to date. Show them what you preach!
Be on top of your game.
The online world is moving fast. It’s vital to stay on top of new and emerging technologies so you know how they work for your clients as they heat up. For example, Pinterest has exploded over the past few years into a primary social media marketing platform for hiding ideas for crafts and food.
YouTube and Facebook roll out new functionality every few weeks, and best practices for each of those platforms continue to evolve. The biggest thing right now is messenger bots on Facebook. If you don’t know what that means and you want to be a social media manager, you have something to do!
You need to stay on top of what’s happening with major marketing spaces as well as what’s coming, because your competition will. Talking about and participating in new procedures will show potential clients that you know what you’re doing.
Offer educational media opportunities
What are the opportunities in educational media? It’s your chance to teach potential customers about you and your services, while also showing them a specific type of service and getting them thinking about how it might work for them.
Examples of opportunities include:
- YouTube videos
- Google Chat
- Facebook Live Session
- Live Webinar
The idea is to create some sort of “media” (like a recording) where you teach a specific skill or aspect related to the services you offer. If you’re using it to attract new business clients, make sure what you’re teaching is relevant to them — not to other virtual assistants (unless a VA is your ideal client!).
What stuck teaching? Go back to your keyword research. Choose one of the frequently occurring topics or questions and talk about it. Tutorials are a nice, quick “win” for educational media, so think about showing a trick for finding great hashtags on Instagram, or how to create a beautiful Facebook page header image in Canva in 5 minutes or less.
For all live events, make sure you record them and make them available for your website visitors to watch later And keep track of questions you get at live events from attendees Use them to generate more content for your site by answering questions in blog posts or articles
Blog about online business and your own experience as a business owner.
A well-maintained, frequently updated blog is a key component of your social media presence. A big reason is that it’s good for your SEO. You will be more likely to be found when you are blogging regularly because search engines prefer sites that are updated with some regularity.
Regular blogging means more opportunities to discover and use keywords that attract web search attention – so you’re not only updating frequently, you’re also adding relevant content that search engines want to deliver. Every update you make is another chance for someone to find you through an internet search.
Once you get traffic to your site, though, you need to keep them there and — even better — get them to interact with you. That’s when the quality of what you write comes into play. Keeping a conversational and inviting tone encourages readers to comment and ask more questions, or contact you directly via email. You want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, but you also want to be friendly and inviting. That way, your site visitors won’t feel like they’re getting a “cold” start when they initiate contact; Rather, they feel like they’re continuing a conversation that’s already started with your post.
A blog is also a central location to showcase what you know and what you’re learning about social media. You can announce live, interactive events like webinars or Facebook Live sessions. You can do a debrief after attending a conference or taking some training yourself, sharing what you learned and what you liked and didn’t like. Demonstrating your own ongoing knowledge and growth is helpful in convincing potential clients that you will help them do the same.
You can use your blog to promote yourself as an “expert” in what you do You can answer questions and share useful information and insights, especially when you identify questions that come up repeatedly when emailing or talking to potential clients. By making your site a friendly, helpful resource that anyone can access for free, you’re building trust and loyalty — two things that are great to have in any working relationship.
Advertise online and offline.
You have a great site with strong marketing copy, lots of blog posts and other content, and attractive offers to attract new clients. Now you have to drive vehicles on it.
Of course, there are many ways to advertise online, from Google AdWords to paid banners, paying for increased listings in search engine results, and more. Facebook ads also get a lot of attention these days and are definitely a legitimate way to advertise your services
Lately I’ve seen a lot of virtual assistants getting traction through Facebook groups. The general idea is to go to Facebook groups where your ideal clients hang out, and just look for people you can address. Start answering the questions. Include links to blog posts you’ve written or links to other sites that fully answer the question The more knowledgeable you are about the problem you can solve, the more likely someone will think of you when they’re ready to ask for help.
But remember, there is a significant market that still doesn’t get most of their information online. Embrace offline advertising as well.
Investigate possibilities for placing flyers and business cards in local newspapers, neighborhood newsletters, church bulletins, and local business bulletin boards. Try donating a small package to an ongoing fundraising auction near you. You may even discover that placing a radio ad or creating a billboard is a viable option that costs less than you might expect. You’ll never know until you see it!
Don’t forget about word of mouth marketing. Reach out to satisfied clients and offer them deals to recommend you to friends and colleagues. A great way to encourage this is to offer a coupon or discount to both the referrer and the friend.
In all cases, make sure your website address is a prominent feature of every form of advertising. Your goal is to get more people to see what you have to offer and hopefully give you an email address where you can keep in touch with them.
Creating your own virtual assistant job is complex and requires attention and effort, but that effort will pay off. Do what you can to make that first connection with a potential customer and it will open the door to opportunities to convert that prospect into a paying client.
The most important thing you can do right now is to start. Do something. Take baby steps if you need to, but keep striving for progress. You never know when the next big opportunity will show up for you, but if you’ve been there, done the work, you’ll be able to grab it!
PS I highly recommend Miranda Nahmias’ FREE 5-Day Client Challenge. It’s a game-changer!