For the small business owner
Social Media Marketing can often be a time consuming exercise for a small business owner but if done correctly can bring in huge rewards. So what do you do if you do not physically have the time to manage your social media profiles? Rather than not do anything, the best option is to contract the work out to a Virtual Assistant or an online marketing agency. Either will help you to form a Social Media Marketing plan and schedule your posts for you using one of the Social Media Dashboards currently in the market.
Social Media Management prices will vary from a small weekly fee right up to the cost of a full time employee, so how do you decide who to use and who to work with to generate your social media feeds? How can you tell what is value for money and what will work for your business and give you a return on your investment?
In our opinion it all comes down to what style of posts you like and finding the right VA or online marketing company to work with you to achieve the results. There are many ways to search for a VA or Social Media Management company and to help you find the right person we suggest you consider the following:
- Ask for recommendations online or at networking groups from other business owners.
- Search online for local companies that offer Social Media Marketing in your local area.
- Set up a 1-2-1 with the VA or Social Media Marketing Company and ask them to tell you how they would market your business. Are you inspired by their presentation?
- Find out terms and if they offer any free trials. Free trials are a great way to see just what they can do for you and if you and how your fans react.
Set a date to start your Social Media Management
Once you have chosen a VA or marketing company, set a date to start your new marketing campaigns and agree a marketing plan. Be very clear and concise of what you need and want, remember to include any milestone dates, special occasions or special offers that they can use to market for you.
Establish exactly what you are trying to achieve. More fans, more reactions to your posts or more visits to your website. Be clear on what you want and then you will be able to monitor the results. Some options could be:
- Schedule twice daily posts in Facebook
- Build followers on Instagram
- Increase likes on Facebook by 20%
- Build followers
- Create engagement on your social media profiles
Agree a time period for how long you would like to work with your VA or Marketing company, most social media campaigns will be for a minimum of 3 months in order to gauge their success. Some may be longer and may have notice periods to exit if you are unhappy.
Make sure you are both clear on the terms and period of the contract before you engage the company and issue your login details.
How to set up your VA for Social Media
You have a few options to consider for this and it really depends on how you feel about sharing your profile information. So here are some options to consider:
- Share your login details. Which means account username and passwords. If you want to do it in a secure way then consider using a password manager, such as LastPass.
- Where possible in the Social Media application add your VA as an administrator to your social profiles. You can do this currently for the following:
- Facebook Pages
- LinkedIn Company Pages
- Google+ Pages
Other options to consider would be to add them as a team member in Hootsuite or Buffer to access your account and post across all of the major social networks. Hootsuite and Buffer are social media dashboards that allow you to manage all your social media profiles in one place, you would need access to a PRO version to add a team member.
Pro versions have a monthly or annual fee but it is worth considering setting up Hootsuite or Buffer and then adding your VA as an administrator as you can then both use the dashboard post and manage your campaigns.
What should a VA or Social Media Management company do for you?
Okay what to expect now that you have engaged someone to look after your social media profiles.
1. Find and share content –
This is probably the most time consuming thing for a business owner, but for a VA they are doing it all day and once briefed by you on what you want to see and share, they will come up with a host of things for you.
Get them to agree a schedule of the following:
- How many posts per day and what type of post, ie text, image, quote, offer etc
Some to consider are:
- Consider a ‘question of the week’
- Do you have a Youtube account? then Add a video and comment.
- Share relevant blogs, articles from your industry
- Simple status updates really work, such as “Yes it’s Friday! What are you planning to do this weekend?
- Interact and comment on other local pages, groups, news feeds etc
- Like other pages in your industry/niche.
- Funny Images and Inspirational Quotes always work well.
- On Twitter, Interact with re-tweeters and take time out to thank new followers.
- Lastly don’t be frightened to show your personality, Social Media can be fun.
2. Monitor and engage with your audience
Not all Social Media Management packages include this option and certainly not in the cheaper packages. That in a way is a good thing as it is better for you to keep an eye on your profiles and replay to any comments in a timely manner.
It will keep you infornt of your audience and help you to understand what they are thinking and saying. You will also be able to see what is working in your social media profiles and tweak for the next months campaign.
Consider setting up alerts such as Tweetdeck, google alerts or in Hootsuite create streams for keywords and @mentions
3. Build and Manage a Network
You need to ask your VA to build and manage your network by following, friend request, liking connecting etc and un-following where appropriate, in particular in Twitter un-follow any inactive Twitter accounts.
Make sure you include sharing and commenting on content which is not your own as this is key to developing and growing your network. Keep in mind a 70/30 rule where you only add links back to your own site three out of every ten shares.
4. Run Facebook ad campaigns
To build followers or promote a business offer then you may wish to consider paying for some advertising. Your VA will be able to set this up and ensure that your advert is seen by only those that will have an interest in your products or services. This can be achieved by them carefully setting up your campaign to the correct profiles you have both agreed.
5. Social Media Calendar
Your VA should provide you with a weekly social media calendar that you can both work on and see what is being shared that month or week. Google sheets or dropbox can be great tools to share these calendars and keeps you both on track of what is being posted.
6. Consider Running a competition
Competitions are a great way to gain new followers and interaction on your page. This can be done relatively cheaply and simple prizes could be on offer. Consider what you could give away and create a campaign around this competition.
Make a big thing about drawing the prize and consider live feed for the actual draw.
7. Report and update
At the end of each month your VA should provide you with a report on your social media profiles which should include growth of followers, interactions, shares etc and hopefully you will have noticed an increase in awareness of your product or services.
By handing your social media over to a VA you will in the long term see benefits but do not expect things to suddenly change overnight. Social media engagement takes time to build and you need to work at it over a period of months rather than days.
If you have clearly defined what you are trying to achieve and set realistic goals together then you should achieve your Social media wins that you require. Without guidelines or goals, your VA will have no direction and will struggle to grow your social media awareness.