By Emily Reagan, Digital Marketing Specialist & VA
Perhaps you’ve landed on this page because you’re a stay-at-home mom thinking about being a virtual assistant (VA) or maybe you’re a small business owner wondering if a VA is a good fit for you and what this position entails, either way, the information provided below will help you answer many questions.
A little about me…
I’ve been in the public relations and marketing business for over 10 years. I started out doing some Pinterest scheduling part-time in the evening for one client and from there launched a full service digital media VA business where I also teach others to become digital media VAs.
The following guide is based on my years of experience working as a Digital Media Virtual Assistant (DMVA) for my clients. I’m going to list and explain the tasks I’m asked to do every day. But first let’s discuss the difference between a virtual assistant and a digital media virtual assistant.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A VA is someone who works remotely helping businesses or individuals with various tasks such as:
- Managing calendars and schedules
- Writing letters and emails
- Managing files and information
- Handling customer service
- Invoicing and bookkeeping
- Personal assistant tasks
- Other administrative tasks
Of course the types of tasks also depend upon the type of business. Realtors have different needs than retail shops or online entrepreneurs. Each business owner will be looking for VAs with different skills. In today’s online business world, entrepreneurs are hiring VAs to help with online marketing in areas such as social media marketing and blogging.
What are the benefits of being a VA?
There are many pros to working as a VA, especially if you are a stay-at-home mom. Here are just a few from my personal experience:
- Work from home
- Set your own hours
- Use your knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs)
- Learn new tasks
- Have a variety of work to choose from any given day
- Have low job stress
- Work with AMAZING Clients
- Help them SUCCEED in business
- Get TANGIBLE Results
And yes, there are a few cons to working as a VA, but even those can be effectively managed if you have boundaries in place and realize not every client is going to be a good fit.
So what then is a Digital Marketing Virtual Assistant?
As I mentioned above, many small businesses and entrepreneurs find they eventually need help with building and maintaining their online audience. Their goal is to get their product in front of as many people as possible, gain a loyal following and ultimately turn those followers into buyers. This is why I specifically train digital media virtual assistants to do more than just general VA admin tasks. They are hired to also help with:
- Email list building and marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social media promotion and marketing
- Affiliate sales
- Digital product creation and marketing
- Website management
- Brand marketing
- Graphic design
- Photo Editing
- Basic video editing
- Google Analytics
- Sales funnel creation and marketing strategy
- Online community manager
What specific skills do Digital Media VAs have that will be an asset to small businesses?
Let’s briefly breakdown the above tasks:
Email list building and marketing
DMVAs can assist in building and maintaining email lists, creating lead magnets, scheduling and designing emails. Many are also comfortable working on various email platforms.
You’ve heard the phrase, “Content is King,” which is why blogging is vitally important for many small businesses. DMVAs can suggest blog post content, prep and edit blog posts, optimize posts so they are found during online searches, add elements to help monetize posts, and email subscribers about new posts. DMVAs keep their clients on a set schedule creating regular content that is useful to their followers.
Search Engine Optimization
DMVAs understand the importance of SEO and how to use it to achieve the best results for the client. They understand how Google Analytics works and how to adjust content to achieve better results. They can do the keyword research, then incorporate the best ones into the client’s blogs, graphics, and other content so the client’s business ranks higher and is found during online searches.
Social Media Promotion and Marketing
Many small business owners come to me asking for help driving traffic to their website and selling their online products. Here’s where a good DMVA can help. They’ll help strategize and create content for social media platforms that will engage the client’s followers. DMVAs know how to analyze and use the algorithms from various platforms to set up ideal schedules and content for individual clients. Many entrepreneurs just don’t have the time to post several times a day or even a week or manage the comments and engagement afterward.
This is where a client will make $ from promoting products they already use and love. Many small business owners know about affiliate sales yet have no idea how to set up accounts. DMVAs help get the ball rolling by setting up the accounts, then incorporating those product links into blogs and/or social media posts … and making sure everything is done legally pert FTC rules.
Digital Product Creation and Marketing
Another key way for clients to make money from their knowledge and expertise is creating and selling a digital product. Many clients come to me asking for help because they have a product in mind but have no idea how to create it or get it out in front of their target audience. DMVAs have the time to do the research if necessary, have the knowledge to help create the product, and then understand how to make it and properly market it.
Many digital media VAs can perform minor tweaking to websites, create pop-up forms for catching emails, designing and writing landing pages, and even building websites from scratch. This alone can save big bucks for a small business owner. Since DMVAs generally have worked with various platforms, they have an idea of how to troubleshoot if a glitch comes up…and they do, trust me.
We’ve all seen the ads that are immediately recognizable even without words; that’s brand marketing at its best. Entrepreneurs just starting out usually don’t have a design style in place to help them stand out in the sea of online sales. DMVAs can help suggest various fonts, colors schemes, filters and content based around the main message/ theme of the client.
Sure many of my clients are creative yet they still struggle designing eye-catching ads, lead magnets, and social media posts. DMVAs study trends, know the client’s brand, then create content that can boost the client’s following and email lists. They can be creative here.
Basic Video Editing
Google Analytics & Facebook Pixel
I’m always surprised by new clients who haven’t set up Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels to track their website traffic. I tell my DMVA students this is a must-have web-based platform for any business, and something we like to set up right away for a client. But just setting it up is the first step, the user must know what to do with the data and how it can be utilized. Most DMVAs understand this skill.
Sales Funnel Creation and Marketing Strategy
Digital media VAs can offer strategies of how to nurture a website visitor into a loyal customer. Generally this will go hand-hand with lead magnets, email marketing, and social media posts. A good DMVA will see the big picture and understand how to build and set in motion a sale funnel that works.
Online Community Manager
This job involves not only helping with social media marketing of the client’s online community, but also helping inside the client’s Facebook groups and memberships. This may include posting, censoring, and customer service. Many DMVAs offer this service also.
Whew, that’s a lot of tasks! That’s why I call my digital media VAs unicorns because they learn how to do so many different tasks that will help their small business clients succeed online. Many entrepreneurs don’t have the budget in the beginning to hire an entire team so they need someone who can “do it all.” They need that extra set of hands to take some of the overwhelm off their plates letting them focus on creating their product. Keep in mind, you can start small with maybe only 1 or 2 services to offer at first if that fits your schedule. Work your way up but just know how it all ties together in the big picture.
What is a Unicorn VA?
Quite simply, it’s a virtual assistant who is willing and able to do it all. He or she will say yes to the task and figure it out. Unicorns are proactive, resourceful and offer ideas and solutions of their own. Usually unicorns can cover the mix of copywriting, design, social media, tech AND understand online business strategies – practically a consultant. We call it the unicorn because they are hard to find, yet every small business owner wants one. But they do exist!!!!!!
How can someone become a unicorn VA?
I’ll be honest, working as a VA isn’t for everyone. It takes discipline to get the job done. That may mean working early in the morning before going to another job, or working on projects during naptime, or working at night after the kids are tucked in bed. If someone’s not a go-getter and adaptable, then this may not be the right career for them.
However, if you want to become a VA, here’s what I suggest:
- List current skills and experience already possessed and own those strengths, then find clients who need those skills. Believe me, those clients are out there. Every week I get messages from small business owners wanting to hire a VA. Some want one task done while others want someone to do it all. The common theme-they all just need extra help. And based on the explosion of online retail these past few years, the opportunities for VAs and especially digital media VAs will keep rising.
- Start by learning and doing right now. I started out slowly doing just one task. Other people jump into several areas that interest them from day one. That’s why I give my DMVA students in the Digital Media VA Crash Course a well-rounded knowledge base and tech know-hows to start with so they can hit the ground running in all areas right away or just specialize in one if that’s all the time they have at first.
- Have a few business items in place before starting:
- A computer
- A fast internet connection
- An email dedicated for business
How do VAs find jobs?
Finding work as a new virtual assistant can be as easy as volunteering for a local organization or helping out with a friend’s business. Networking, especially in Facebook groups, can also lead to new clients. I’ve also found referrals play a huge role in my business growth. All it takes is one happy client telling their business friends about their VA to go from part-time side gig to full-time career.
Through the years, I’ve also shared a few tips with business owners about hiring a VA that are also great points for new VAs to keep in mind during interviews. I’ve found the most important traits a VA can possess are being resourceful and eager to take on challenges. The rest can be learned.
Working remotely as a virtual assistant can be rewarding and fun. Doing a variety of tasks means no 2 days are ever the same. VAs, regardless of the tasks they provide, are a welcomed asset to overwhelmed business owners who just need extra help. Plus VAs who can provide digital media assistance are especially in high demand as e-commerce continues to expand.
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Resources for Virtual Assistants
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