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Handy Tools and Resources for Social Media

Handy Tools and Resources for Social Media

Social media continues to grow in popularity.

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. Handy Tools and Resources for Social Media

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.

TweetDeckIf 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 PublicThis 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”.

Other useful tools include Display Purposesan instant hashtag generator tool – and Insta Story, which allows you to share videos and images for 24 hours. Image libraries you may want to explore include Unsplash, Pexels and iStock.

Handy Tools and Resources for Social MediaThese are just a few of the many resources out there for any VA wanting to create content or take their social media activity to a new level.

If you have discovered any that work really well for you, do let me know.

And, of course, you know I have you covered when it comes to using Microsoft 365 training for your social media activity.

Take a look at my online courses to help you create Instant Instagram Posts and create Infographics. If you want to Master the Slide Master in PowerPoint, it’s all there for you. Step-by-step guidance for all the essentials you’ll ever need to know. There’s a Slide Master version for Windows and a dedicated version for Mac.

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.

Shelley Fishel

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.

Help those in a Social Media Muddle

Help those in a Social Media Muddle

Do you help people with Social Media?

As a VA you may feel it’s obvious what you do.

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.Social Media Muddle

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.Social Media Muddle

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?

To your VA success.

Help those in a Social Media Muddle

P.S. Naturally, you can brush up or sharpen up your Microsoft Word skills with my online courses.

If it’s Microsoft Excel you want to… ahem, excel at you can find what you need here.

And if you’re creating content for social media, don’t forget PowerPoint can play its part. For that, I have courses for Windows users and category of courses for Mac.

The Ready-Reckoner for Tasks

The Ready-Reckoner for Tasks

As a professional VA, you can get asked to do many things.  

But you may find you are given – and enjoy – specific tasks within the spectrum. 

You may use some features and elements of Microsoft Office more than others. 

You mostly likely know how to do some tasks ‘with your eyes shut’ whilst some tasks have you searching online for the ‘how to’. The Ready-Reckoner for Tasks

It’s good practice to review the type of work you are doing and assess for any skills gaps. 

How many of the following tasks do you do for clients or growing your VA business? 

  • Reports 
  • Proposals 
  • eBooks 
  • Letters 
  • Invoices
  • Mail merge – one letter to many people, customised for each individual
  • Mail merge Email – sending the same email to many people in a customised way
  • Writing books
  • Drafting documents
  • Brainstorming and thinking creatively
  • Signing documents – using a digital pen and writing directly on the screen
  • Drawing and Mind Mapping with a digital pen 

If you ticked half or more (or can see tasks you might be asked to do in future) you are in Microsoft Word territory.  

You can get more done in less time with Word with my online courses.  

There’s no fluff or ‘padding’. Just the bits that you really need to know to tackle the most popular tasks. 

That’s Word covered so let me ask you something else. 

Does your client work involve calculations or storing and organising information? 

If yes, these are some of the things you can use Excel for: 

  •  Profit and Loss worksheet 
  • Tracking payments 
  • Cashflow projection 
  • Invoice list 
  • Social Media Calendar
  • Social Media Planner
  • Keeping track of Income and Expenditure
  • Making Lists
  • Contact List
  • Any data you need to sort or filter
  • Making things add up
  • Time tracking 

If you want to excel with Excel, my online courses can help you. Grasp the essentials and pick up some advanced tips along the way. 

Learn at your leisure. Where you want, when you want. 

Spend less time worrying about the ‘how-to’ and more time on serving your clients like a VIP. 

And one of the things you’ll almost certainly end up using is PowerPoint. 

Despite what some people may think, this application is not just for presentations. 

Here’s some of what this Microsoft Office visual creativity powerhouse can do: 

  • Presentations 
  • Proposals 
  • Explaining with Clarity – the slides force you to reduce the amount of text 
  • Infographics 
  • Instagram posts
  • Create anything visual
  • Design blog post cover images to retain your branding
  • Photo album
  • eBook
  • Planner
  • Prepare and rehearse a big presentation 

If you want to power up your PowerPoint skills, I can help with that. 

My online courses give you lifetime access. 

This means you can learn when you want – and come back to a specific task training whenever you need a refresher. 

Creativity is one aspect of a VA’s role. Organisation is another. 

Outlook is the control centre for your emails, communications, calendar appointments and tasks. 

How many of the following do you use in your weekly work? 

  • Communicate by email 
  • Book appointments 
  • Book meetings 
  • Schedule meetings with others 
  • Keep a task list
  • Keep a to-do list by flagging your email
  • Colour code appointments to make them easier to see
  • Manage your client/boss calendar
  • Manage your client/boss inbox
  • Reply to things on someone else’s behalf 

If an online Outlook course could help you get more done in less time, why wouldn’t you take a look? 

The smarter you work the more space there is for your VA business to grow. 

Audit. Learn. Review. 


The Ready-Reckoner for Tasks

VAs – How To Gain Insta Plaudit Points from your clients

VAs – How To Gain Insta Plaudit Points from your clients

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.

VAs - How To Gain Insta Plaudit Points from your clients

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 SuggestionsVAs - How To Gain Insta Plaudit Points from your clients

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?

VAs - How To Gain Insta Plaudit Points from your clients

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.

Better for your clients, better for you.

3 Tips for Every Presentation You Create

3 Tips for Every Presentation You Create

Presentations are a way of life in business.

And – despite what you may hear from some quarters – PowerPoint remains a popular tool for helping to deliver them.

You may in your VA career come across grumbles from some clients or company employees.

They might even use the withered phrase “Death by PowerPoint”.3 Tips for Every Presentation You Create

But what they really mean is they have endured experiences where the presenter was poor – or the slides were dull and boring.

The tool itself is designed to deliver impressive presentations. It’s the people who use it badly who need to make some changes.

As a Virtual Assistant, it’s probable that at some point you will be asked to put something together for a client – or even create something for your own business.

Here are THREE ways to ensure your presentations on PowerPoint sing a beautiful tune.

Tip 1: Use ONE Idea per Slide…

One of the biggest reasons why presentations miss the mark is too much is crammed onto the slides.

It makes it dull and hard for the audience to take in the information.

Each slide should have just one core message.

And the presenter can speak to that message – then move on to the next slide and the next idea.

They should have prepared and practised their talk beforehand. And there is a ‘notes’ feature in PowerPoint should they need a little prompt.

Tip 2: Keep it Simple…

Before you jump into PowerPoint, take time to get the story straight in your mind.

Sketch out little visual representations of your ideas on sticky notes or some paper. This helps you to think of clear words and pictures before you begin to create them in the application.

It’s another way to avoid writing loads of words on the screen. Simple works best.

Tip 3: Turn Your Words Into Pictures…

They say a picture paints a thousand words.

And it’s certainly true that Images are easier for people to instantly grasp and understand.

So, take a look at the words on your slides or being considered for your slides.

For example, you may have a slide with bullet points.

Pick out and circle all the nouns or verbs on the slide and see how they relate to each other.

What you may well find is that you can recognise a visual relationship between those words. And it’s likely to be one of five types.

  1. Flow – Which reveals a process. Like a flow chart or diagram.
  2. Structure – Like a family tree or team hierarchy.
  3. Cluster – It shows groupings. For example, a Venn diagram.
  4. Radiate – This shows links or nodes. For example, a Mind Map.
  5. Influence – This picture presents cause and effect. For example, a Fishbone Diagram

The better you know how to use PowerPoint (and all its design features) the better you will be able to serve your clients.

Some will be confident about presentations and know exactly what they want. Some may be less sure about talks.

As a VA with presentation expertise, you can offer advice and guidance about how best to put everything together.

And in guiding your client through the process you will also be making your task a little easier as well.

When you know how to use the software – the tasks become fun!

3 Tips for Every Presentation You Create

P.S. If you want to speed up your mastery of PowerPoint you can take my online Master the Slide Master course for Windows. Oh, and there’s a version for Mac, too, of course.

How to Stay Ahead of the Infographics Curve

How to Stay Ahead of the Infographics Curve


Businesses are constantly looking at the best ways to get their message across to their audience.

And sometimes the information they want to get across can be quite complex.

That’s when they may turn to using an infographic to tell the story.How to Stay Ahead of the Infographics Curve

You have probably seen examples of these around – or might even have been asked to create one yourself.

An infographic is a piece of visual content that presents information using a graph, chart or image. It could represent statistics, trends, results, forecasts or other data.

The idea is to convey the message in a simple way.

This makes it easier for people to view things at a glance, take in the information and remember it.

Take this example infographic of ideas for a Lead Magnet :

How to Stay Ahead of the Infographics Curve

Infographics have certainly seen a rise in popularity so you may find clients asking you to help put one together.

And you can do this in PowerPoint (which is why I put together a course to show you how to do that).

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.

If you’re unsure about the basics I’ve got you covered in my course about How to Create Infographics with PowerPoint.

And when you get good at these you can make a bit of a name for yourself.

People are always on the lookout for VA’s with specialist skills sets.

You might become the go-to infographics expert.

How to Stay Ahead of the Infographics Curve