Lessons from a Digital Marketing Virtual Assistant who actually does the work:
I’ve been working as a freelancer helping clients with social media since 2009. Social a big part of the online marketing tasks that business owners need to delegate and get off their plate. So let’s dive into this role as a social media assistant because there’s so much work and it could be a great starting place for you with a virtual assistant business.
What is Social Media Virtual Assistant?
A social media virtual assistant (VA) is someone who creates, schedules, manages, and monitors content posted to social media platforms. For example: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and/or Pinterest. Depending on the business size and industry/niche, a social media VA can be focused on one or more social media platforms for a client. The position’s main goal is to take over the responsibility of keeping up the brand on social media all while implementing the business owner’s social media marketing strategies.
(Hint: Businesses are trying to keep up engagement so they can communicate with their people and bring in new people. It also helps with that all-important KLT factor, which you can read more about in my recent blog post.)
You’ll see other names for this position… and they’re just as sweet:
- Social Media Manager
- Social Media Strategist
- Social Media Director
- Social Media Coordinator
- Social Media Consultant
- Social Media Expert
- Social Media Assistant
- Digital Media Assistant
- Virtual Assistant
What does a Social Media VA do?
A Social Media VA assists with social media tasks primarily on Facebook and Instagram. But it may also include LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest.
I call Facebook the “Facebook Monster” because it needs to be fed new content every day … and that gets really old, especially for a business owner who is focusing on running their business. It’s just hard to keep up with the daily posting requirements when a business owner is buried in running their business! They know they need to be active online to get found, be seen and grow.
A social media VA can elevate the burden and “feed the Facebook monster” . This person can step in and give the owner a break or supplement their personal voice with other strategic content … or just handle the whole social media account. And with that, social media posts require follow up conversations – a business owner cannot be online all day and needs to guard their time. I also find many business owners hire it out because they just don’t know what to post! It’s not their area of expertise and they don’t want to get sucked into it.
Why I Call Myself a Unicorn Social Media VA
Small business owners tend to hire one person to do all of it. This Social Media VA uses a social media scheduler like HootSuite, Later, Tailwind, SproutSocial, Smarter Queue, Planoly, etc. (So many options!!) As their business grows, the biz owner may start hiring individualized specialists, ie YouTube Strategist, Pinterest Manager. But it’s unrealistic for a small business owner to be able to lead a team and hire 5 different social media coordinators. I teach my students in the Digital Media VA Crash Course to learn Instagram and Facebook first, and then consider adding Pinterest or YouTube to their skillset depending on the client’s need.
Social Media Rates & Pricing
Some social media VAs do charge hourly and the going rate can be $10-50/hr. That’s a wide range, and the most experienced VAs can charge more. You’ll find more often than not, social media managers offer pricing packages with a set number of posts and follow-up services.
One of my most basic services is to post once daily for a client. I break that into my weekly rate and monthly rate. Most small business owners are on budgets and like to monitor their costs and know exactly what they are getting. It takes experience to know how much time it will take and exactly what to charge. No matter what, this service you are providing as a social media VA is invaluable. You are freeing up to SEVERAL hours a week for the business owner. Don’t sell yourself short if you are taking the time to write and post creative, engaging content.
The Client’s Expectations
The hardest part of this job is managing expectations. Social media marketing is a long-term game. It’s very unlikely that you’ll have immediate viral success, and it takes a while to work out a smooth rhythm with a new client. Help your client have realistic expectations and get him/her to commit to at least 3 months before they can see results. (Especially if their profiles are dead!). Document your starting stats. Measure and provide key performance indicators to your client to show your results. Too many times I dive in without documenting our beginning data, and it’s these stats that will make you look good and you can use to gain other clients.
You will make mistakes. Typos. Bad links. Hopefully you are careful and learn the ins and outs of each social media platform so you can help your client reach its highest potential.
But there’s also so much room for growth and success. And if you love the idea of managing it all, my VA Crash course covers: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, & Tailwind, + you’ll learn how to add in email marketing.
Social Media Tasks to Start With
Part One: Before doing all the writing. I suggest you starting with scheduling, posting, doing hashtag research, and designing the social graphics for clients. You’ll also want to be the “engager”, following up on comments, engaging users, spending 15-20 a day on strategic hashtags to bring in new followers.
Part Two: After you get familiar with your client’s brand, business, offers, customers, FAQs, social media strategy, you can start helping with the writing and completely take it off their plate. At this point, call yourself a social media manager!!
How to Write for a Client on Social Media
One thing that may make or break your client relationship is your ability to capture their voice and continue their messaging. If a client is constantly having to edit and fix your posts, you are just creating more work for them and I doubt the relationship will last. Early on, have your client approve your posts and coach you and work your way up to 100% trust.
But before you can achieve this level, you HAVE TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Every client’s voice and branding style will be unique, and you’ll need to adjust your content and post styles with every new client to make it a seamless fit.
So, put in the effort. Read your client’s (or potential client’s) emails, previous posts and watch their videos to get a sense of their voice. When I first start out with a new client, I recycle their own wording and verbiage from previous popular posts. It’s not easy, it takes time. Certainly it takes not being afraid to try, get it wrong and improve. A good client will give you feedback and take the time to help coach you in their style and preferences. A good social media VA will do her/his voice research before posting.
Related Podcast Alert: Client’s Brand Voice
I have a great podcast episode with copywriter and brand voice guru Justin Blackman that will help you capture your client’s voice and have total confidence when writing for social media. Click here to listen and soak in Justin’s advice. He’s the dude who writes brand voice guides for Amy Porterfield, Stu McClaren, Tarzan Kay, and big companies like 5-Hour Energy and Puma. He knows a thing or two about brand voice!
For Biz Owners: How to Hire Social Media Assistance
As your business grows, you will need help. And finding a new team member can be intimidating. So don’t start from scratch. Instead, ask other business owners and friends who they are using as social media managers. A good word of mouth referral is king. If someone is killing it online, and you’re noticing, ask them who they have hired. Chances are you’ll stumble into an underground network of social media VAs.
You can also submit a form here and I’ll share your job position with my VAs who have taken my Digital Media VA Crash Course… The course graduates will be a solid bet because they’ll be able to grow with your business as they already know so much more than just basic social media dos and don’ts.
How Can I Get Hired as a Social Media VA?
Business owners want to hire someone who knows what they are doing and has the experience.
If you can get lucky, you can find a business owner to take a risk with you and usually charge a lower rate. Often, it all starts with that first client … paying or not. I always coach my students to volunteer if they have zero experience. Your best bet is to take my Digital Media VA Crash Course and let me fill in the gaps of your digital marketing knowledge. As a bonus – I help my course graduates land their first paying clients! So many businesses are ready to level up and hire a new social media virtual assistant, and are eager for me to match them up with a unicorn VA who can do it all.
How to Up Your Social Media Game
Take the extra training. Learn more. For example, I always suggest diving into Facebook Ads… learn video and IGTV tricks… getting access to more business page and stats to see what’s working AND learn search engine optimization (SEO). Find podcasts and webinars to boost your knowledge and skillset.
10 things to set yourself up for success with social media for clients
I would say about 85% of the job ops that come across my inbox are for social media help. So many online business owners need assistance with creating posts, scheduling content and performing engagement tactics. It takes a lot of effort, planning, creativity and man hours to keep a social media account going. It’s a content hamster wheel of work that never ever goes away.
The good news is there is PLENTY Of work out there.
The downside is that it’s such a personal part of a business so it can be extremely difficult to get it right for clients. This episode is a little rant about the pitfalls of managing Facebook or Instagram for clients. I have a feeling you’ll enjoy commiserating with me. But I also have 10 things to help set yourself up for success with your next client who requires your social media skills. Enjoy!
Related Podcast Alert: 10 Things to Set Yourself Up For Success
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Maybe it’s time you learn the Digital Marketing Skills to get hired?
1. Like I said, social media management is only one area of digital media marketing that you can do as a VA. In fact, I have a list of 10 different virtual job tasks for you right here so you can see what working online from home is all about!
This is a 15-video tutorial series that will walk you through behind-the-scenes tasks of a digital media VA, including Kajabi, Convertkit and graphic design, so you can go above and beyond social media
Go check it out to get started in the online space, and I’ll let you in on exactly what clients need right now. They’re coming to me asking for help for these specific tasks, and if you get those skills, you’ll be ready to jump right in with clients of your own.
3. Consider doubling down on your Facebook knowledge and adding Facebook community management skills. I have a 2-hour workshop that will teach you everything you need to know to get hired as a Community Manager and help digital course creators, business coaches, membership site owners and influencer manage, engage and grow their free and paid Facebook groups. Click here to learn more.
This is a crucial role to many six-, seven- and eight-figure teams that taps into your social media talents and gets you more billable hours with a single client. For many social media virtual assistants this is the next step!
Further Related Reading for Social Media VAs
Connect with Me!
Did you know? I have a Facebook community for digital media VAs. Come join us! –> https://www.facebook.com/groups/digitalmediava
Stay posted for my next insider tips!
-Emily, Digital Media Consultant (and Virtual Assistant …)
“I help smart women learn the in-demand digital marketing strategies and tech skills to get hired as a unicorn virtual assistant.“
>>Click here to Join the Free Facebook Community for Social Media VAs and Digital Marketing Assistants.
This is a free Facebook group for freelancers, service providers and contractors. Weekly interveiws with other freelancers, techie tricks and how-tos and free trainings. See you inside!