Since the introduction of the Internet in the 90s, nothing has caused more of a stir in the way people communicate than social media.
The instant access and feedback along with a global reach has proven to be a recipe that literally billions of people have jumped on.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat are just a few platforms that have gained popularity.
Ignoring them as a business owner will prove a very costly mistake in the long run, as the usage trends and demographics are continuing to increase.
However, keeping on top all your social media accounts and running advertising campaigns is quite a time consuming effort. And as you gain some traction on different platforms, it becomes even more important to stay active.
Freeing yourself of all the time spent on business related social media activity can lift a huge burden.
On this page, you will find out exactly how to do this by outsourcing this work to a Virtual Assistant. You will also learn why this is so important in this rapidly changing world of social media.
Why Is Social Media So Important
Different forms of social media have been around since the early 2000s and you might remember platforms like Bebo, MySpace and LiveJournal all trying to make it easier for people to connect.
But things didn’t really pick up in global reach and popularity until Facebook hits the college campuses of the US.
Within just a couple of years, user numbers sore to the millions and then tens of millions.
The pace of expansion and social media usage has been staggering, with the majority of people in the Western world using multiple services on a very regular basis. But what does all this mean for businesses?
Let’s take a closer look.
Huge Potential Reach
Today, Facebook alone has over 2 billion users. That’s almost a quarter of the planets population, which is a staggering amount when you think about it.
Platforms like Instagram have 700 million active users and Twitter has about 330 million.
Chances are that a lot of your clients, and especially potential clients, are using one form of social media or another.
That means that you have a huge opportunity to try and reach out to these people through social engagement or advertising.
With numbers like this it simply doesn’t make sense to ignore these platforms. As you will find out on this page, there are many very cost effective ways that allow you to create marketing campaigns that would never have been possible in the past.
Excellent Way To Create A Brand
Whether you’re a new or established business, branding is always one of the most challenging tasks. For start-up companies it’s obvious that you need to get some name recognition.
But even established organisations might branch out into new areas or services. And this will often require substantial efforts to make your name synonymous with these new locations and services.
By interacting with people on social media, you will be able to get your name, brand, logo and service offers directly in front of people in the areas you’re targeting. Unlike TV, radio and print marketing you have far more control.
And best of all, simply liking, sharing and posting on different platforms will only cost you time.
Affordable And Effective Marketing Platforms
As far as marketing and advertising goes, social media has opened up opportunities never before seen. In the past, you would have struggled to compete for a prominent advertising slot on TV or radio. Large companies with million Dollar budgets are impossible to go up against.
But social media platforms provide a level playing field, where even with a small budget you can bid for the best possible ad placements.
You are also able to choose your exact ideal demographics so that only those people who are most suitable to do business with you will actually see your ads.
It’s no longer a case of setting up an ad campaign and hoping that the right people are watching or listening.
You essentially only pay for ad placements that are viewed by your audience definition.
And even if you only have a budget of a few hundred Dollars per month, you can still gain access to the same people as large corporations do.
Trends In Social Media Usage
Facebook’s astronomical rise and popularity are well documented in the media.
The platform went from about 100 million users in 2008 to over 2 billion today.
How much that trend will slow or not is uncertain, but eventually saturation levels will be reached.
However, even if the trend slows, the important factor to consider is that almost 75% of all adults in Western countries are using some form of social media on a weekly basis.
And then new and exciting features are constantly being developed and enhanced allowing you to adapt your marketing strategies on a regular basis for ever improving results.
Let’s take a closer look though at some very interesting trends.
Very Popular With Adults
Many people tend to associate social media usage with teenagers posting and sharing photos and videos or just using it as a way to stay in touch.
However, recent demographic studies have shown that adult usage has increased most significantly.
In the 18 to 30 year old category, over 50% of people use Snapchat and Instagram, and over 80% use Facebook and YouTube on a regular basis.
For some people these numbers may seem surprising, but the reason for this is that the teenagers of 2010 are now young adults.
And they have not abandoned their social media platforms.
This is a very important factor to consider for your marketing strategies. The youngsters of today will be your clients of tomorrow.
The more you can adapt to their favoured social media, the better you are prepared for the future.
Another important trend is that people don’t choose one platform and stick with it.
Different services have been developed to target very specific and highly convenient uses for sharing videos, photos and messages.
The average adult these days regularly uses 3 or more social media platforms with certain combinations being extremely popular.
For example, a recent study showed that 75% of Snapchat and Twitter users also use Instagram.
This cross platform usage has been increasing significantly in recent years, especially since mobile data and Smartphones have become so much more usable from a speed perspective.
Whether you’re waiting for a train, or are standing in a queue at a bank, quickly checking your social media accounts has never been easier.
Very High Daily Usage
Another trend that has developed is the regularity with which people are checking their accounts.
A recent Pew study showed that Facebook users are the most active, with over 70% of them checking their accounts on a daily basis.
Snapchat and Instagram have similar numbers with over 60% of users checking in at least once per day.
One of the main reasons for this is that access to the Internet has never been easier. Mobile 3G and 4G connections are reliable and very cheap these days. And WiFi hotspots are available practically everywhere as well.
That means that people can check their social apps anywhere and anytime. Next time you’re in a queue or waiting for a train, just look around and observe how many people are on their phones.
These numbers and trends simply cannot be ignored and if you’re not already paying attention to your social outreach, then now is the time to get started.
Staying Active In Social Media
At this stage, you will have a better understanding why social media is such an important and huge opportunity.
No matter how small or established your company is, you simply cannot afford to not engage with people in this way.
When it comes to creating a following and becoming recognisable online, staying active is one of the main ingredients to success.
The problem is that we’re bombarded with tons of annoying and completely irrelevant information on a constant basis.
This means that staying active doesn’t just mean sharing, liking and posting everything you come across.
It requires a little bit of planning and a lot of thought about what is actually worth sharing.
What Does An Active Social Media Profile Look Like?
If you look at some of the popular celebrity social profiles, you will find many of them posting dozens of times a day. But just blindly aiming for a specific number is not how you should approach your own activity levels.
When you post too much stuff that people aren’t interested in then you will quickly find that they unfollow you.
It’s kind of like getting spam emails and having them filtered out.
The best way to describe an active profile, is one where you regularly share information that creates interest from other people.
The more interaction you can gain with and among your followers the more active your profile will be.
Basically, activity is not just how active you are, but how much your followers engage with your profiles.
If you really need to put a number on it, then you should aim to post and share content at least 2 to 3 times per week. As long as it provides value or creates engagement.
Simple Tricks To Stay Active
The great thing in the real estate industry is that people have an interest whether they are buying or selling or neither.
People like to see what homes are out there, what they look like and what kind of prices they fetch.
The property market is also one of the most actively followed by the general population.
Chances are that you will regularly find friends, family and colleagues talking about this topic with all sorts of opinions.
This means there are two easy ways to stay active.
Firstly, you should always post links to your new listings with a brief description about whom it would be suitable for.
Secondly, when you come across some interesting industry news, or a community event, then share it immediately with your followers.
And as soon as you get people commenting or engaging with your feeds, then respond to them and ask questions. This all leads to further engagement creating a highly active profile.
This is a lesson that you should always keep in mind for everything you do online.
How often have you looked at your Facebook feed only to see dozens of annoying cat videos or silly memes that are of no interest to you?
If you start passing along completely irrelevant stuff then you will lose followers rather than gain them. So, always keep in mind that what you share and post, is relevant to what you do or of interest to the community you service.
This also means not just sharing a news item that is on the front page everywhere.
People become immune to news, so you need to focus more on items that are important, but not very well known or understood.
All this now leads to the next question: What platforms should you focus on.
Understand What Social Media Platforms Your Clients Are Using
There are dozens of different social apps available and many of them have hundreds of millions of followers.
However, there isn’t much value in becoming hugely active on every single one of them.
The reason is that different genders, age groups and economic profiles will be more likely active on certain platforms.
This does make it a bit of challenge, as you will have to figure out where most of your existing and potential clients are.
To help you with this, we have put together a few tips that will aim to get you to a stage where your activity is centred on 3 to 5 different platforms.
The Most Important Platforms
If you’re looking to get started with social media or expand your reach, you first have to be aware of the most important services available. These are the 10 most popular networking apps for mobile users:
- Google Hangouts
The reason we highlight the mobile users is that as of 2017, more than 50% of Internet traffic originates on mobile devices, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.
All these services are free to sign up to and use, and shouldn’t take a lot of time to get set up. The question is whether all of them will be commonly used by the people you’re trying to reach.
One way to figure out how to reduce the number of services is to look at what your competitors are doing.
Analyse Where You Find Most Clients
You can take two approaches here. Firstly, look at the social profiles of other businesses in your industry.
Which ones do they use and which ones have the most following. This will be a great indicator where to get started.
But just because your competition doesn’t have followers on say Pinterest, doesn’t mean that you should ignore it.
The reason could be down to poor engagement or simply not being active in the right way.
You should also look at what’s popular with people in their late teens and college students.
In just a few years they will be adults with jobs potentially looking for your services. Chances are that they won’t abandon their favourite networking apps.
Trial and error is the best way to see how your business can best reach clients.
Over time, you will notice that some platforms attract more followers than others. And that’s ultimately where you should focus most of your attention.
Start Focusing Your Attention
Once you built up your profiles it’s time to gain followers and become as active as possible.
Once you have gained some interest it will be time to analyse which platforms work best to reach out to existing and potential clients.
You should aim to get to 3 to 5 networks to focus on so that you can create the most optimum levels of engagement.
All of this will require quite a lot of time and effort, but most the work can easily be outsourced to a VA.
By providing a VA with post ideas like links to news articles, or your latest listing, you can free yourself of all the time it takes to log into your social accounts, make the post and move on.
But you can also outsource the interaction part.
Simple things including retweeting, sharing or liking comments all take time. And they are a major distraction in your working day.
If you’re interested in hiring a VA specifically to take care of your social networking then contact Outsource Workers today.
Advertising On Social Media
One of the most powerful features of social media is your ability to use it for direct advertising.
You’ve probably noticed ads popping up on your Facebook or Twitter feed. And most of the time they are somewhat relevant to what you’re interests are.
They can be for a local business in your neighbourhood. Or maybe you’ve been searching for specific services and followed businesses or other service providers.
All the interactions you perform on the different networking apps are recorded in order to build profiles and categorise people.
This information is then the basis for advertisers to tailor their campaigns to.
This is not all that different to booking a TV advertising slot at a time when people watching are going to be the ones most interested in what you have to offer.
So, let’s take a closer look at advertising opportunities.
The Power Of Demographic Profiles
With TV, radio and print advertising, you try to figure out where and when is best to place your ads. But you will still end up paying for viewers that are not suitable for your business at all.
Social media networks are VERY different.
The advertising platforms on these networks allow you to create very specific user profiles for things like:
- Marital Status
As a result, your ad will only be seen by the type of person that matches your profile. And the more precise you are the lower the cost is for every ad placement.
In addition to this, you can tailor your campaigns to specific outcomes.
These can be anything from liking a post to visiting a webpage. And when you create multiple different profiles and ads, then you can test different combinations to see which brings the best results.
Having this ability to tailor your advertisements and test them down to the smallest details is an extremely powerful tool for your marketing campaigns.
The Snowball Effect
When you see a great ad on TV, you might tell someone about it. But you’re not likely to record it and then show it to someone else.
Social networks are very different in that regard.
When your ad appears in front of the right people who are interested, they are quite likely to share it with others. And the great thing is that you only pay for the ad placement to the first person.
When they share or comment, the benefit of it appearing on other people’s timelines and feeds is an added bonus.
As a result, if you create very clever and highly targeted ad campaigns, then you can reach a lot more people through a snowball effect.
The more people that like, share, comment, or retweet, the more exposure your ad will get.
Easily Scalable From A Small Budget
One of the huge advantages of social media advertising is that you can target the same people that large corporations do.
You can go up against million Dollar budgets, even if you have just a few hundred Dollars to spend.
Advertising platforms like Facebook allow you to set very precise budgets that can go as low as $5 per day. This allows you test each campaign first, and then identify those that work best.
Once you see that specific combinations are proving very effective you can increase your budget. You can even set days and times or simply pause a campaign when you need to.
Flexibility and scalability are at the core of all social marketing platforms and you should take full advantage of that.
Gain Powerful Insights From Outreach On Social Media
We already mentioned that being active on social media is the best way to gain a following.
And the more people that follow you, the larger your potential for outreach is going to be.
But why is the ability to reach many people online such a powerful tool?
The reason is very similar to how sales conversations provide a huge amount of insight into what people are actually looking for.
What it is they need, and ultimately what you have to do to fill that void.
Now, you can gain a lot of this information about many people, just by reading all the comments and engaging with your followers by asking questions.
But there are a few things to keep in mind before you do this.
What Information Are You Looking For?
First of all, you need to figure out what kind of information you’re looking for.
Let’s say you want to gauge interest in a certain area of your city.
You want to know whether young families would be interested to live there, especially if the area is going through a transformation.
You can create a series of Facebook posts about the area and straight up ask your followers what they think of the area.
Do they believe it is suitable for families or single people? What do they think about new rezoning or development plans?
Analysing the reactions you get is a great way to figure out what kind of properties might sell better. It can also be an early indication of how much interest you might get.
Most importantly, it allows you to strategically plan the way you advertise listings to appeal to very specific groups of people.
Use Surveys And Competitions
If you’re struggling to get the necessary amount of information out of people, then combining a competition with a survey is a great way to get responses.
Most people will ignore a request to answer a questionnaire.
But if you add in a prize for one lucky winner, then people are more likely to take part.
Just make sure that the surveys are short and to the point.
You’re looking for maximum responses and unless you have a huge marketing budget, running extensive surveys is not going to be feasible.
The questions should focus specifically on the information you’re looking for and nothing else.
Join As Many Groups As Possible
Another great way to get some market insights is to join different social media groups in your area.
These could be community projects or sports teams.
Any place really where a lot of people are hanging out and chatting about events or things going on in the community.
Join these groups and become active without trying to sell anything. Just try and provide advice and answers and engage in conversations.
People will realise that you have a business they may be interested in.
But if you directly jump into advertising your service you will lose credibility. It’s like your sales pitch; you don’t jump right into the sale, but build trust first.
How Time Consuming is Social Media Management?
There really is no easy answer to this and it will very much depend on several factors.
Ultimately, the more time you invest the more potential engagement you can create on different social networks.
And the more engagement you create, the more active you will have to become. So, over time you have to consider that quite a lot of time will be involved to keep the level of activity the same.
The worst thing you can do is spend a few hours on one day of the week, and then just ignore it for the rest of the week.
Followers may not expect immediate replies, but if you see comments or questions coming in, then dealing with them as soon as you can is always best.
Let’s take a look at some factors that influence how much time you need to invest.
Number Of Active Networks
These days there are dozens of social networks available. As highlighted above, you really don’t want to be spending time and effort on all possible platforms. However, even if you bring it down to 3 or 4 platforms, you’ll still need quite some time.
First, you will want to post the same messages or share the same information on all platforms.
This may only take a few minutes for each platform, but it adds up the more you post.
Where the real time investment comes from is monitoring and responding to your followers. You want to engage with as many comments as possible, even if it just means liking a post.
Even with a modest following, this can easily take up 5 hours of your time each week. And the more engaged you become, the more name recognition you will create.
Consider The Number Of Followers
When you’re first creating your profiles, there will be little to no followers.
You can start with family and friends, and also reach out to past and current clients. Over time though, you will start creating a following.
And if you provide valuable information that people engage in, then you can quickly gain a large audience.
The amount of time you need to spend is very much linked to how many follower you have.
The larger the audience, the more likely you are to get responses. As the number of responses increases, so will your need to comment and answer.
Make It A Daily Task
We already mentioned above that checking your social profiles once a week is not going to be enough.
Social networks are not necessarily an instant messaging platform. But if people ask questions on your Facebook posts and you don’t respond for a week, then you may have already lost an opportunity.
At the very least, you should be checking your profiles on a daily basis.
Once you have gained a larger audience, it even makes sense to monitor it twice a day, as this will show to people that you are interested in what they have to say.
It can be as simple as liking a comment. But ideally you should respond and even ask a question.
This invites further comments and this will increase the chance of your posts being seen on other people’s timelines.
It’s essentially a way to gain free advertising and exposure to very large audiences of people.
Hiring A Social Media VA
Because this is such a time consuming task it’s something you should always outsource.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any interaction on social networks.
But the less time you spend on this non-Dollar productive task, the more you can focus on your business.
Keeping your social platforms active is a very easily systematised task that can be handed over to an assistant.
The advantage of a Philippines based VA is not just the cost savings.
But with the time difference you can make sure that all your platforms have been updated early in the morning, so that it’s ready for the day ahead.
New posts and tweets will be in front of people first thing in the morning.
To make sure you hire the right person, follow these tips along with our hiring guide on the homepage.
These days, most people have some experience with social apps, so you probably won’t struggle with this skill set.
However, you do want to highlight in your job description which platforms you are focusing on.
It’s far more important to focus on the skills of being able to follow an assigned process and ability to write in a friendly and informative way in English.
Filipinos have an exceptionally high standard of English language skills. But you will still want to focus on this as part of your hiring process.
When it comes to interviewing applicants, it’s always best to go through a practical test using screen sharing software.
The aim is to provide a written set of instructions to post some updates to your social profiles.
You want to watch out for how much attention they pay to your process instructions.
The second part would be to ask the applicant to make some suggestions on how to respond to some comments that have been left.
This will determine their ability to take care of engaging with your followers.
Also, pay close attention to the tone and style of language they pick in their responses. It should never come across as completely canned.
At the same time, you will want to see grammar and spelling error free wording that makes sense in the context of the posts.
Outsourcing The Process
Hiring a VA is quite different to hiring someone to work in your office. There are some similarities, but you don’t want to rely on those hiring skills alone.
If this is your first time hiring a virtual assistant, then you should consider outsourcing the process.
Our team at Outsource Workers has specialised in perfecting the hiring process so that you don’t have to worry about the details.
You receive a monthly invoice for the number of hours you require and we take care of hiring, training and managing the VA.
It’s a simple process that can have you set up in less than 2 weeks.
Just pick up the phone today and find out how quickly we can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years we have encountered quite a few common questions and concerns about hiring a social networking VA.
To help you answer some of the questions you might have, just check out the following topics.
And if there are any other concerns you have, then don’t hesitate to talk to one of our advisers at Outsource Workers today.
How Long Does It Take To Hire A Social Media VA?
If you’re going to go through the process yourself and don’t have any experience in hiring a VA, then you should allow for 4 to 6 weeks to find the right person.
It’s also possible that the person you hire doesn’t end up working out the way you planned.
Alternatively, you can let Outsource Workers take care of the entire process including basic training.
With 2 weeks you could have your own VA ready to go, without all the hassle of screening, interviewing and managing salary.
Will They Be Able Manage Social Accounts Independently?
The more time you invest up front to get them fully trained the quicker you’ll be able to get a VA into an independently working mode.
With the right processes in place, there is no reason why you wouldn’t end up with hands off social media management.
How Much Will A Social Media VA Cost?
The majority of social networking related work will be straightforward admin work. Posting material, engaging with followers and keeping things active is something that can be achieved with a few documented processes.
If you plan to do some advertising, then you’re in the more speciality area of expertise. But these can still be filled by virtual assistants.
If you work with Outsource Workers, then we can provide you with a dedicated VA at $7 per hour.
This takes care of the hiring, training, sick/holiday pay and bonuses. You receive one convenient monthly invoice, and everything else is taken care of.
Is There Going To Be A Language Barrier?
The Philippines has two official languages, of which English is one.
All schools and colleges teach English, which means that the majority of the population is fluent in English.
You will still want to focus on spoken and written language skills during the interview stage, to make sure that you find someone fluent and competent.