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Tasks You Should Be Outsourcing to A Virtual Assistant!

4 Sep

When it comes to running your business, you have loads of tasks to complete each day. You are probably trying very hard to race ahead of your competitors and operate your business on a global scale, but, if you are thinking that you would manage it all alone, you are quite mistaken.

Shocked, right?

But, it is the ultimate truth of the modern world of business.

You always need an extra hand of assistance for achieving greater success. Moreover, you can safely trust a virtual assistant to carry out many important tasks for you while you concentrate on your next business meeting without any interruption.

But, why delegate tasks to a virtual assistant when you have your own office assistant?

The reason is very simple!

You do not have to pay to a virtual assistant for the office space, computer and the internet connections that they use to get your work done.

They are dedicated professionals who can provide the best administrative and business services to the offshore clients and meet their demands irrespective of their geographical location.

Just pay them as per the work to be performed and avail their service!

So, when your inbox starts flowing with mails and you need to juggle among multiple tasks, spare yourself some free time by delegating your tasks to a virtual assistant who would happily share your work load.

Not sure what to delegate or where to start?

Listed below are 12 important tasks that you can outsource to your virtual assistant.

Keep reading…

1. Online Research

The quickest way to find information on any topic, product or event is through online research. But, conducting online research can be daunting and time-consuming.

Delegate the research work to your virtual assistant who would look for any kind of information on the web for you.

Do not forget to share the important credentials, such as ids, passwords etc., along with specific instructions to get the best of their assistance.

2. Data Entry

It is one of the most repetitive and laborious administrative task which can be very well handled by the virtual assistants.

The work actually involves collecting data and entering into spreadsheets which require sitting at the computer for a long period of time.

Virtual assistants would assume the responsibility of updating your database entries for a prolonged period of time so that you can relax and enjoy some free time.

3. Data Presentations

When you are gearing up for a business meeting, making a power point presentation on it is one of the most essential task for you. But, these presentations take longer hours of preparation which means a waste of your productive time.

Assign these tasks of data presentations to a virtual assistant and utilize your valuable time for enhancing the prospect of your business.

All you need to do is to provide clear instructions to the VA about how to perform the presentation task.

4. Market Research

For an entrepreneur, market research is necessary to understand the industry, competitors and the customers. Without marketing knowledge, your venture will  always be held back.

You can ask your VA to conduct a methodical market research to find relevant marketing information about your business.

They would do an extensive study on your competitors and their products, and send you the findings in a very organized and systematic manner for easy comprehension.

5. Online Marketing

Online marketing is essential for you if you want to expand your business or want to get competitive advantage. But such virtual marketing needs implementation of efficient techniques and expertise from you which might make you think that you are just not the right person for it.

Stop worrying over it.

Make your online marketing endeavours a great success with the help of VAs!

With a wide range of online marketing tools and methods, virtual assistants can do online marketing on their clients’ behalf. Moreover, they hold expertise and profound knowledge in this area which would surely reflect in the financial outcome of your business.

6. Call Answering

In a business, you need to make calls either to your business associates or to your customers. Moreover, operating business activities on an international level requires you to keep your phone lines active all the time because a closed phone line might result in a loss of good business opportunities.

Share your work load and ask your VAs to make or answer calls on your behalf. They would make all the necessary calls, respond to any incoming calls and note down all the important information for you in a way which you find simple to understand.

The best part?

You do not even need to monitor the progress of the tasks. VAs would complete your work with amazing proficiency and keep your business running even when you sleep!

7. Social Media Marketing

In today’s media age, it is essential to increase brand visibility, boost sales and draw more traffic to a website. But these tasks are repetitive and need a lot of patience.

Hire a skilled VA who can appropriately and tactfully do social media marketing on your behalf. From generating leads to posting latest video files, these virtual assistants would never disappoint you.

8. Email Management

Sometimes, it becomes daunting to manage huge volumes of email that you receive in your inbox on a daily basis. In such a case, a VA can come to your rescue by managing your email, i.e. answering your mails on your behalf, checking promotional messages and deleting spam mails effectively.

9. App Development

Application development is quite a significant task in the business scenario. But, you  cannot always manage the time that each business application requires.

Just find a virtual assistant who comes with a specialization in application development. They can customize and enhance the performance of these applications without any external help.

10. Search Engine Optimization

It is the process of drawing in more traffic to your site from the search engine through search results. Here, it is important to mention that improper SEO practices can adversely affect your business and your online status.

Therefore, it is always better to seek services of expert VAs who can provide effective SEO services. They would search the relevant keywords for your articles and blog content, and perform periodic assessment on the search engine analytics to send you a comprehensive report on the virtual status of your business.

11. Web Development

Your website is the first thing that helps your visitors to build an impression on the nature of your business and your offered products/services. Therefore, if you cannot make good sales, it means that visitors are not staying on your webpage.

Opt for the professional help of VAs who can create as well as develop your websites using various website applications and tools such as WordPress, Dreamweaver, Joomla, etc.

Moreover, they would provide in your website just the right combination of graphics and content which is sure to fetch you more customers in future.

12. Content Writing

A content writer has to understand the nature of your business and develop a content which supports your ideas and expounds on them. Therefore, it is a task which requires not only expertise but also dedication to the content writing process.

You can outsource writing tasks to VAs who have expertise in the relevant field. Your skilled VA can write content for articles, websites, blogs and social media sites after doing extensive research on the topics and deliver results which is up to your satisfaction.

 

Are you ready to work with a VA? Contact Sala Social Marketing today for a free discovery call!  We’ve been providing stellar VA services to clients worldwide for over 6 years.

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5 Things to Consider When Working with a new Virtual Assistant

31 Jul

It is now easier to hire and work with a virtual assistant than ever before because of the way that technology has been evolving and competition in the marketplace.  Because of globalization you are just one step away from freeing up your time, reducing costs and generating more profits than ever by learning to work with a VA.

You should be focusing on your high pay off activities, that generate revenue so you can reduce your stress levels and allow your virtual assistant do the repetitive tasks that hold you back from growing.

Here are five things to consider when hiring your first VA:

  1. Know what you want them to do.

You probably have an idea of what you would like to have your VA do for you on a regular basis, but have you written it all out?  Many people hire a full time VA and don’t know how to fill up their 160 hours in the month.  It is important that you invest some time before making the hire to have an idea of all of the task you would like them to do, this way they will constantly be working and not have to wait for the next task.  This list will forever grow; the key is to have enough for them once they get started.

  1. Know how you are going to communicate with them.

There are many options on the method in which you will be communicating with your VA, the key is to know that method before you get started.  You will want to have your system that works best for you and then set that expectation for your VA.  Skype, Google Docs and Email all are free and are a great system to implement.  Also know when you are going to communicate with them and what the expectation of response time should be.

  1. Crawl before you can walk

Many people hire their VA and give them a To-Do list that is extremely long.  Don’t worry, your VA will finish ALL of those tasks, but assign those tasks in bite size chunks.  They are like any other person working for you, it can be overwhelming if you give them everything at once.  So give them one task at a time or post the list online in a place where they can always see what the next task is, but what’s most important is that they are working on one task at a time.  When they get used to working with you over time, that is when they will be juggling many tasks at once, they will get there, but start off slow.

  1. The dollars are in the details

Most people just want to start telling their VA about the many things they need done, and just want to give the basic idea of what needs to be done and go on to the next task.  This can be dangerous if you do not provide enough detail about the task, you cannot assume that your VA knows everything about the task as you do, so it is better to give more details in the beginning then less about a task.  Over time you will find the comfortable medium as to how much you should explain each task.

  1. Encourage creativity

Your full time virtual assistant wants to make you happy and provide good work, so that is why it is imperative that you follow these last four tips.  You will also want to set the expectation from the beginning that perhaps you don’t know all of the answers and encourage them to get creative and come up with solutions also.  They very well may help you in a way that you never expected.  It is always best to have a second pair of eyes on your work especially from someone one who is so involved with it.

You are about to embark on a wonderful journey with your new full time virtual assistant, so be sure to make the most of it and start off on the right foot.  The possibilities are endless as to what you can have them working on, such as marketing, web design, customer service, bookkeeping, sales, appointment setting, internet research, data entry, web programming, personal tasks and so much more.  

How to Hire a Freelancer for Social Media Marketing

24 Oct

Advertising on Facebook and other social media sites requires time and expertise. But ecommerce merchants often lack one or the other; they sometimes struggle with optimizing paid social media campaigns.

The answer for many merchants is to hire a specialized freelancer. Marketplaces, such as Upwork, Outsourcely, and Guru, are good places to start. All have tools that allow you to search for the skills you’re looking for — such as “Facebook ads.”

You’ll likely see a list of freelancers with titles such as “Facebook Ads Master,” and descriptions of “All I do is Facebook ads. In fact, I love Facebook ads.” Each freelancer also provides his or her hourly rate, as well as other skills, such as email marketing.

Searching freelance marketplaces for “Facebook ads” will likely produce a list of candidates, such as this example from Upwork.

Moreover, most freelance marketplaces have a five-star rating system. Almost every project from every freelancer is rated in this manner. In my experience, if a freelancer doesn’t have mostly four or five stars, he isn’t worth your time.

Posting a Job

The first step in finding a suitable candidate is to create a post, on the marketplace, that lists what you need and how you want to pay: a lump sum or an hourly rate. For a larger project, such as setting up a Facebook ads account, I prefer paying a lump sum. That way I can budget for a one-time setup, a creative stockpile, and an initial strategy.

In fact, it’s nearly always best, in my experience, to hire freelance social media expertise with a lump-sum payment. Hourly engagements can sometimes lead to cost overruns or misunderstandings on the engagement’s scope.

The process of posting a job on a freelance marketplace is straightforward. For this example, I’ll use Upwork.

Create an account at Upwork and click “Post a Job” in the upper menu. This will take you to the job creation page. Start by giving your job a name, and then a description. Provide as much detail as possible — the success of the job depends on detailed communication as it lets the freelancer knows what she’s getting into.

Create an account at Upwork and click “Post a Job.” This will take you to the job creation page.

Then, attach any relevant files, such as non-sensitive business packets and style guides. Choose the project type, how your project is described, and the number of freelancers you’ve used previously and what they’ve done. Choose, also, the number of social media sites you’ll be targeting, which, for this example, is just Facebook.

Next comes a few more details, such as additional specifications for the job, your experience working with freelancers, the skills they need, and the price you will pay. Select, too, an experience level: Intermediate to Expert is best, though Intermediate will likely cover your needs.

Also, choose how you want to advertise your job. You can expose it to all freelancers on Upwork or, alternatively, you can just enter the name of specific people, and only they will be able to see the job. If you open it to all Upworkers, add further “Preferred Qualifications” to help narrow down the field.

Finally, you can ask a few questions that anyone applying will have to answer, such as “Do you have any experience with my industry” or “What do you find most frustrating with Facebook ads?” These questions will help you learn more about the freelancer, to make sure he has the expertise for your job.

Questions and Milestones

Once you’ve found a freelancer and have agreed on the cost, schedule a telephone call to get the project started. Remember, it’s your project. Ask questions, recognizing that you’ve hired an expert.

Most marketplace platforms let you set up milestones for each major step of the engagement. For a Facebook ads account, as an example, consider milestones of:

  • Account set up;
  • Ads created;
  • Conversion tracking added;
  • Account launched.

Beyond the milestones, keep tabs on your project. Establish a schedule of check-ins, such as every Wednesday at 5 p.m., but don’t send daily emails asking about the status. Send additional information to your freelancer if it’s beneficial and give feedback when necessary.

Of course, you can always save the hassle and work with a VA/Freelancer agency like Sala Social Marketing.  We have over 18 years experience in the field with many happy clients!

What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?

26 Sep

Interested in hiring a virtual assistant but not sure what they can do?

Here’s the quick and dirty:

If a job can be done online, I guarantee there is a virtual assistant out there willing to help you and your business.

This is great news you say! Hold that thought for a second.

Have you ever hired your plumber to fix your car?

The Internet hopes not.

In everyday life you hire someone to perform a task based on their qualifications and experience. The problem with delegating anything to any virtual assistant is that you will find very mixed results.

Sure, there will be sprinkles of successes here and there, but most of our experience shows for a dirtier, rather than quicker, outcome. It really does pay to understand what a virtual assistant can and should do.

Lucky for you, I’ve prepped most of your homework right here.

So What Do Virtual Assistants Do?

If I were to list every single duty or task that a virtual assistant could perform, this would be an extremely long post that could take you hours to read.

So rather than list every single thing, I put together a list of some of the more general or common tasks and duties which you can delegate to an assistant.

Specialization VS Generalization

Some virtual assistants come from a specific industry and choose to specialize in one area such as project management, real estate, sales, or bookkeeping to name a few. Other virtual assistants choose to do a little of everything and in essence act more like a general virtual assistant or virtual personal assistant.

Virtual Sales Assistant Can Help You Grow Your Revenue

A virtual sales assistant is a good example of someone who specializes but also performs a lot of general administrative duties.

For example, if your sales team doesn’t follow up and log information about every lead into your CRM what happens? That lead goes cold and your chances of converting that lead into a sale become harder.

A sales assistant who works remotely can help with this process, and more, to ensure that money isn’t slipping away all because your sales team is too busy.

Here are more examples of things which you can delegate to your virtual sales assistant.

  • Prospect development and Lead Generation: Identify potential prospects, research their contact information and give you the context to reach out to them
  • Nurture and growing your client base: Monitor relationships and referrals by ensuring regular touch points through investment updates and other communications
  • Managing and preparing documents: Ensure proposals, key investment documentation, and other reports are ready when you need them
  • Update email or contact lists in your CRM: Make sure all information is properly input so warm leads don’t go cold.
  • Manage your calendar: Schedule and re-schedule your meetings and confirm appointments

As I mentioned before, there are many VA’s who specialize and Sales is but one type of specialization.

General Virtual Assistant

I don’t need to tell you that if you’re drowning in administrative tasks or trying to juggle too many things at once, then not only does your job become a source of stress, but it can be difficult to run your business.

Luckily for you the vast majority of virtual assistants specialize in administrative tasks. Here are some general and administrative tasks your VA can perform for you.

Correspondence and Communication

One of the biggest time drains can be simple correspondence and communication. Think about it: how much time do you spend on this task alone each day instead of focusing on your core business?

Hiring a virtual assistant to handle some of these tasks for you can not only alleviate a lot of stress, but it can also free up big chunks of time so you can actually get in a full day’s work with less distractions. Consider some or all of these for your VA:

  • Calendar management
  • Follow up with customers and clients
  • Send thank you and other reminder emails
  • Manage and schedule appointments or bookings with clients and customers
  • Email management and filtering
  • Answer calls
  • Answer support tickets
  • Liaison between you and your team members
  • Reply to customers and client’s enquiries via email

Travel and Flight Booking

If you travel a lot and do your own travel bookings then hiring a VA can be a godsend, but it can be a bit tricky at first. He or she has to understand your schedule and learn your preferences. But once they do, it can be a huge time saver for you. Travel tasks for your VA might be:

  • Book flight
  • Arrange meetings with customers or clients in between stops
  • Book hotel
  • Book car
  • Apply all necessary rewards and miles programs

Presentations and Spreadsheets

All virtual assistants have access to a computer which means the majority of virtual assistants will have at least a basic understanding of spreadsheet, word-processing and presentation software. Why not outsource simple reporting and presentations to a VA? Here are some ideas:

  • Create basic reports (monthly, weekly, daily, or annually)
  • Create charts for board meetings
  • Data entry
  • Create slide shows
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Create basic flyers

Projects and Research

If you have a special project, a virtual assistant can take over a lot of the more mundane tasks that need to get completed but not necessarily by you. Every research project is different but here are some basic things you can delegate to your VA.

  • Conduct initial or all research to help get a project started.
  • Setup a system or database to store all the research.

Be Realistic!

As you can see, the list of things you can outsource to a VA could get ridiculously long. Just don’t expect one person to be able to do everything on the list or to do it all perfectly right from the start.

And just like working with a physically present employee, delegating tasks and duties to your VA requires planning and organization up front. Some tasks, especially online tools and specialized software, will require training and time to learn.

With a little bit of patience, training, and understanding, your virtual assistant could become indispensable to you and your business.

Why Your Business Should be Working With a Virtual Assistant!

29 Aug

Your business is growing, and you are busier now more than ever. You could use an extra set of hands, so someone suggested that you should use a virtual assistant. However, you have no idea what a virtual assistant is or for that matter, how they can help you. If that is the case, small business owner, it is time for you to become virtual and hire a virtual assistant.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is a highly skilled professional who offers business support services virtually. This can consist of an individual or a team of virtual assistants with virtually meaning they are located off site and work remotely. They are independent contractors and entrepreneurs who specialize in providing an array of services such as administrative, creative, technical, and legal support.

So if you’re still on the edge and not sure if you should allocate payroll funds for a virtual assistant, let’s go through some of its benefits.

Benefits of a Virtual Assistant

  • Valuable Skill Set – Virtual assistants are highly skilled independent contractors, including administrative assistants, website administrators, and senior level executives, all of whom have had a broad range of experience. Most virtual assistants work in a specific niche, meaning they’ll understand your industry better than someone who doesn’t focus on a particular niche.
  • Saving on Hiring a Full-Time Employee – A key benefit to using a virtual assistant for your business is the saving aspect. By working with a virtual assistant, you will save on the expense of hiring a full-time employee. This includes the amount of time and money spent on interviewing and training a new employee. This also includes the cost of employee benefits such as health insurance, employee-related benefits, and tax savings. As independent contractors, virtual assistants are responsible for their own bookkeeping and taxes. You will not have to worry about incurring such costs.
  • Save on Office Space – Since the contractor is virtual, they work off site. This allows you to save on expenses such as ordering a new desk and purchasing a computer. As a matter of fact, they use their own resources. So you save on the space that a new employee would incur. This is a win particularly if you happen to work remotely or independently yourself. You can work remotely and at the same time have the additional assistance you need.
  • Only Pay for Time Spent on Projects – This is a great benefit for your business budget. When you utilize a virtual assistant, you only pay for time spent on projects. So you can budget for the projects that have a high priority for your business. For example, Creative Business Assistants offers discounted monthly packages, which provides savings to their clients. Their clients know consistently what they will be billed for on a monthly basis or what they can allot for based on a project.

Virtual Assistant Tasks And Jobs

Now that you have a clear understanding of a virtual assistant, let’s talk specifically about some tasks that a virtual assistant can provide to your business.

  • Administrative Services – Most businesses need a good administrative assistant. A virtual assistant can handle all types of administrative services, which include managing company email, scheduling and confirming appointments, managing business correspondence, entering data, and assisting with bookkeeping. They can also take on additional administrative projects that you don’t wish to handle. Thankfully, you will find that many virtual assistants are Microsoft Excel experts.
  • Social Media Assistant – Handling social media for businesses can become time consuming for business owners and other staff. This is time that can be spent on other revenue-generating tasks. However, because of its importance in a business’s marketing plan, it can be delegated to a virtual assistant. Every business should have a social media plan. And this is an area where a virtual assistant can help out. A virtual assistant can plan and schedule your social media marketing on your Facebook business page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google pages as well as on any other social media site that you use. They can research content, monitor and engage the users, and assist in building your network. This is a great task to outsource to a virtual assistant, as most business spend anywhere from five to 20 plus hours per week on social media.
  • Web Site Designer/Administrator – You will find a pool of virtual assistants who specialize in website design and management. You will find a lot of virtual assistants in this arena who are experts in web creation using software such as WordPress and others like it. Specifically, you can easily find virtual assistants who promote WordPress as their niche. If your company needs assistance with its website, which includes a blog, using this type of virtual assistant would be great for your business.
  • Marketing Assistant – Similar to the function of a social media assistant, a virtual assistant is a great tool for marketing. This would include assisting with launching any marketing campaigns and tracking their success. A virtual assistant can be used to assist implementing your marketing plan by helping with email campaigns. They can assist you with this by first scraping your email list to ensure that all the addresses are updated and do not include any errors. This can include helping you segment your lists as well source them. Secondly, they can help you implement and track the analytics of the email campaign itself. Another great way to use a virtual assistant in marketing is to have them promote any blogs that you may have. This is a much needed aspect for any business that has a blog. It must be promoted, updated, and managed. So all these tasks are great to delegate to your virtual assistant.
  • Customer Service Representative – For a busy entrepreneur, customer service is a great task to outsource to a virtual assistant. You can forward calls to your virtual assistant, and they can become a virtual call center designated specifically for your business. With the enhancement of technology, there are companies such as RingCentral that make this an easy option for small businesses. Additionally, the virtual assistant can handle any follow-up calls as needed.

Lastly, virtual assistants can be a great resource for all phases of your business ownership. In some cases, businesses contract with virtual assistants for short term projects. In other cases, businesses have chosen to have a virtual assistant on standby or provide ongoing services over the life of the business. Whatever your particular need is, a virtual assistant can be a great benefit to your business.  To learn more about our vast offerings of virtual assistant services at Sala Social Marketing contact us today at (860) 984-3440!