If you are using it or thinking of using it more there are plenty of handy tools and useful resources out there. I’ll share some examples in a moment. First, you may want to make a plan.
Think about your audience. Where are they most likely to be found on social media? Is it Facebook? Instagram? LinkedIn? Twitter? YouTube? A combination of these?
It is a good idea to start steady and focus on one platform. See how well that works for you. When you are confident and happy with that, you can try another.
Remember, the more social media channels you use the more time you will need to create and publish your content. The same applies if you are doing social media for a client.
Once you have your platforms in place you can think about what you are going to say – and how often you are going to say it.
This is where a strong content planner will help you. It allows you to map out what needs to go out each day, each week, each month and each quarter.
Set your theme and create relevant content – something of value and interest for your audience.
Social media helps people to become aware of you and what you do, and of the services or products you offer. It helps to create an emotional connection between the reader and yourself. It helps to build your authority, credibility and trust.
Remember, your content does not sit in isolation to the rest of your business. If you are going to do it, it should be done with a clear purpose. Your social media activity forms part of the business model, sales funnel and client journey you have to attract new clients – and keep them.
Once people have found you, you have a chance to nurture them towards becoming a paying client. For that you need content and to put content out consistently, both in theme and frequency.
In that awareness – or ‘getting to know you’ stage – your social media posts could include things like an emoji challenge, quiz, survey, opinion poll or question. You get to see what engagement each bit gets. That feedback tells you a little bit more about your audience. And the more they engage, the more they are likely to share.
There are many resources out there for you and here are just a few that you may want to explore.
I’m not promoting any of these or recommending them over any others, simply sharing some shared with me to be helpful.
TweetDeck – If you use Twitter and are doing social media for clients, you may find something like TweetDeck useful. It is an app which provides a dashboard for managing multiple Twitter accounts.
PromoRepublic– I use this tool to help with scheduling my content across several platforms at once. It included an editor and access to lots of great images, plus makes suggestions of what to post.
There are quite a few tools out there to help you work out what to talk about to your audience.
Answer The Public – This allows you to search any term. For example, if you wanted to find out about coffee, this tool brings up every question being asked, or phrasing, related to that search term (coffee).
From these questions of who, what, why, when, where and how, you can spot emerging themes or patterns. You can now create content for your audience based on this researched data.
Days of the Year – This tells you what national or international celebration ‘Day’ it is. It is a great resource but be choosy. Pick ones that are relevant (e.g. World Smile Day is great for dentists; Kids Music Day for a piano teacher). If you just post these every day it would be boring for people. Be relevant to your audience.
SEMrush – This is keywords analytics software. It lets you see which words and phrases have a bigger volume of interest (for your theme). It allows you to understand the “weighting”, or relative importance, of certain words or phrases. You can then build these words and phrases into your social media content.
You can also explore what’s working in your industry or field. Use tools to see who’s picking up and running with your content, or talking about your topics and themes.
BuzzSumo – This offers a faster way to discover content ideas, uncover platform insights and identify passionate influencers.
Let’s say your theme is coffee. You would be able to see what the most popular articles are about coffee. You could see what social media shares they are getting on different platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). Then use that to your own advantage – in two different ways:
1. If there’s a powerful or controversial article, you could curate and re-share… and put your own view across on that opinion or topic.
2. Do your own thing. Share your own version of that article. “I’m going to write about this angle or aspect”.
If you are a VA aiming to do a lot of social media work with clients, it makes sense to get up to speed with how to create content efficiently and creatively. It will save time and “Wish I had learned that earlier” self-recriminations later on.
To your VA success.
P.S. By the way, if you’re a VA who likes to find the best deal, you can save £75 by investing in all three courses in my social media mastery bundle. That’s three for the price of two. You’re very welcome.
But from a business point of view, it’s important to make it clear to people. Not everyone will know what you offer.
Spell it out. On your website. When networking or giving a talk. In your marketing material.
There are some good opportunities out there for the smart VA, especially if you have some niche or specialist skills.
If you are a bit of a whizz with social media, you may be someone who gets asked to manage that side of things for a sole trader, solopreneur or small business owner.
If that’s the case you’ll be glad of what applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint can do for you. Not just for content creation but also for planning, organising and logging activity.
But even if you’re not so strong on the ‘creating social media content’ side of things you can still find opportunities to assist people with their business marketing.
There is so much potential work available from the one-person bands out there. They could be coaches, speakers, therapists, counsellors, hypnotherapists, consultants, trainers or other professionals in the ‘helping others’ sector.
There are many reasons why people turn to self-employment or set up their own business.
They may have left the corporate world. They may have had a cash windfall and thought ‘I’ve always wanted to give it a go’. They may have got fed up with the rat race or endless commuting, and just fancied something different. They may have been made redundant or taken ‘early retirement’ and received a settlement that gave them the confidence to go it alone.
Or there may have been other drivers which got them to running their own business.
More often than not, these people went out on their own because they wanted to make a difference to others. They had the skills and experience or invested in training to reach the right standard to practise in their field.
But few went in with knowledge of marketing and social media. That is something they have to learn about, farm out completely or get some help with.
And this is where your knowledge of the likes of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel comes in really handy.
Most of these sole traders and small business owners struggle with social media. Some will outsource creating content to someone else. But many others will try to do the content writing or videos themselves.
What they often discover is that they do a bit here, a bit there. Start with good intentions but find things begin to drift and fall by the wayside. The blogs stop. The posts stop. The articles stop.
The initial raging waterfall of marketing activity dwindles to a sorry drip.
Sometimes it’s because life gets in the way. And we all have that pressure of time. There are only 24 hours in each day.
But quite often, the problem is simply down to one (or both) of two other things. The business owner might run out of ideas for what to write about. Or they might just be a bit disorganised and not really plan what needs to be done each week… so it doesn’t get done.
This is where you can step in and save the day.
As a VA, you could offer to be the content ideas generator for the hard-pressed sole trader or solopreneur.
You tell them the themes, stories and topics they can write or talk about. They use your suggestions as a guide to flesh out a blog, a Facebook or Instagram post or LinkedIn article, for example.
You can also help them to keep on track by creating a social media content planner with Microsoft Office. You could use Excel to set out what needs to go out when. You can set out and expand on your content ideas in a Word document. Word is also handy if you just want to keep a straight log of what’s been covered.
Even if a client wanted to do all their own social media, you could provide them with a custom-designed planner and scheduler. They just fill in the cells or blanks as they go.
That gives you a nice low-price product you can promote and sell as part of your range of services.
Make a few sales of those each month and you’ll soon have some nice, regular pocket money to treat yourself.
The smart VA is always looking for new opportunities.
Give your ideal clients some thought. What do they struggle with? What do they need? What is holding them back?
What is the gap that leaves them scratching their heads in frustration… and how can you provide a solution which closes that gap?
VAs – How To Gain Instagram Plaudit Points from your clients
It’s really fascinating to me how different VA’s around the world are. Some are new and just starting out. Others have years and years of experience.
Some provide a general range of services. Others specialise in one or more areas.
Some VA’s are happy to complete tasks they are given and focus on doing a good job with that. Others like to offer ideas, suggestions and advice on top – in service of the client.
Be of service to your clients
Here’s an example of how you can do the latter, using Instagram (or IG or Insta, however you know it by).
You might be asked to create Insta posts by a client. You could deliver those well and leave it at that. A professional job well done.
Or you could go one step further. And earn some profitable plaudits and praise.
You might notice, observe or take a closer look at how your client is using Instagram for their business.
Offer Feedback and Suggestions
And then offer them some feedback, some suggestions, some ideas.
Just because a company is using Instagram does not mean they know how to use it well – or make the most of it for marketing.
You may even have a better idea of how it works than your client does.
Which means you can offer them much more than just timely completion of a few posts.
You can give them some tips or things to think about. Things like:
Share tips, how-tos and messages which hint at your solutions
Ensure posts match your brand and company values
Use short video clips as well as written posts
Explore and experiment with Instagram Stories (slideshows)
Update the bio section and get smart with the clickable link
Give customers, clients or prospects a ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ tour
Use #hashtags wisely (and sparingly) to expand your audience reach
Highlight collaborations and partners
Share customer success stories
Reward loyal followers with exclusive content
You may have many more tips up your sleeve to share with your clients.
And here’s the thing.
When you are seen as a specialist or someone with a strategic mind, you are likely to attract new work. That’s not just from your current clients but also from the people they recommend to work with you.
Remember, word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool out there.
How can you add more plaudits to your portfolio of services?
P.S. If you want the confidence to turn around Insta posts fast, you can learn how to do it in 30 minutes or less. I show you how in my online course Instant Instagram Posts. Worth knowing because when the ‘how to’ is easy you can focus on adding more value for your clients.
One of the challenges when creating infographics is that they can end up looking the same as any other.
But there are ways to keep up with the current trends and make something that really stands out.
Firstly, choose original images instead of stock photos to add that personal branding touch.
A second way is to use quote roundups.
These can work if you want to share a dose of inspiration or food for thought.
Find a quote aligned with your topic and add the picture of the person who said the quote. Add more quotes from other people to create a set.
For this to add value, the people you quote are probably as important as the information in the quote. Look for celebrities, famous people and key influencers in a relevant niche. Or it could be a compilation of sayings from your client’s senior team.
A third trend is the emergence of dynamic infographics. As the name suggests, this is where the content includes GIFs and other moving elements.
There also seems to be a bit of a resurgence in the use of 3D designs. They do stand out compared to two dimensions.
Another trend is towards brighter and bolder fonts.
They help to draw the reader’s attention to the information and make it look fun. The danger is that you can go overboard with colours and fonts and spoil the professional feel of it.
Now you may be thinking – I know you can start a presentation from a template, but did you know that Microsoft provides lots of ready made design templates both locally on your computer and online? No? Well let me show you.
In PowerPoint click File New and you can choose from any of the templates offered on the screen. These are Design templates and include colours and layouts and sometimes variations.
But if you look at the top of the New screen you will see that you can search online and there are categories. One such category is Business which I picked to use as an illustration.
When I click Business I can now choose from quite a selection and I chose Tech Dividend Design.
It downloads the template and when you click Create a new presentation is opened on your screen complete with ready-made slides for you to simply update with your data.
Cool no? I think so!
Did you know that I have three PowerPoint courses in the tomorrow’s VA Academy?
Master the Slide Master takes you through how to get to and modify the slide master so that you can update the design of your presentation in one place.
How to Create Infographics just using PowerPoint – shows you how to harness the software you have on your machine to create Infographcis.
Create Instant Instagram Posts in 30 Minutes or Less – yep, you are correct! I show you how to use PowerPoint to create Instagram posts. Once your template is set up you can create 30 or so in half an hour.
The Master The Slide Master comes in two flavours, one for Windows and one for Mac.
The other two are recorded using PowerPoint for Windows – however work the same way for Mac.
Testimonial – This is what one of my students says about Master the Slide Master
The first thing I heard about Shelley Fishel, the author of this course, was from my web designer – “she knows EVERYTHING about Microsoft Office. Any problems, just message her.” This came an the right time. I had just had my first skirmish with the Slide Master and I had come off worst. Still licking my wounds, I didn’t have the confidence to ask for help.
Word reached Shelley that I needed help and she told me about the course. I knew I needed it but ego knew better. Oh, crud. A few months went by and I had reached the dizzy heights of 20 to the Slide Master, 0 to me. I had spent hours trying to recreate the same thing in Excel that someone had done using the Slide Master. It didn’t work. Of course, it didn’t work!
Swallowing my pride, I took this course. It’s great. Easy to manage, there’s one video that’s just over five minutes and the rest are less than five minutes. It’s in bite-sized pieces and everything is carefully explained with Shelley doing it as she’s talking.
It’s clear and easy to understand even a bolshi 63 year old can understand it.
I’ve changed the fonts and I’ve changed the colours in the Slide Master, which is my new BFF. It isn’t quite purring but we’ve shaken paws and I’m taking it out for a drink later 🙂
Why would anyone take a perfectly good idea for a presentation then build it using the Slide Master when PowerPoint is so good for putting projects together?
Because, when your project is a daily planner with 365 pages and you get to the end and realise you’ve got the same spelling mistake on every page you’ll wish you had used the Slide Master to build it on, because you’ve got to go and correct every page. Or start again using the Slide Master.
Using the Slide Master will be a game-changer in my journal design business. It will save me hours of work.