7 Ways A Virtual Assistant Can Grow Your Network Using Twitter

In order to grow your business, you need to grow your network. And spending time growing your network is just that…a lot of time. Have you thought about hiring someone to help you with your networking efforts? Networking is essential in fostering relationships that can lead your business to new heights, and there’s so many ways to do it.

One way is through social media. Let’s say you’ve spent countless hours using Canva to create some real eye-catching posts or even more hours writing a how-to blog that can help so many people…but you have 10 followers on Twitter and another 50 on LinkedIn. Who’s going to see it and share it if you don’t have a real audience to pitch it to? Having great social media posts and content doesn’t help your efforts of growing your business if your campaign isn’t being nurtured not only with great content, but with followers in your target market that can lead to your next client or sale.

Twitter is the beast of social networking

I never liked Twitter, until I loved Twitter. It’s a great place to start making connections, but it can be pretty time consuming if you’re using it effectively. There are different ways you can automate certain areas of Twitter, but if you’re trying to stay somewhat personal with your audience, you need to do some of the work yourself (or in this case outsource this area to a VA to “keep it human”).

When I first started using Twitter I didn’t know how to use it properly and it was frustrating. I didn’t have many followers and had no idea how to use hashtags. Then I stumbled on a blog post by Doug Sandler who introduced me to Social Quant and for me, Twitter changed forever.

Social Quant helps you find followers; not by buying followers so you have huge numbers of random people following you, but targeted followers so your information and posts are getting in front of your target audience. Having 10,000 followers doesn’t mean anything if you’re a local burger shop and 90% of your followers are in China. What would matter more is if you had 1,000 followers that loved burgers and were in a 10 mile radius of your shop (I don’t think you can actually narrow a region like that, but you get my point).

So how can a Virtual Assistant help you with growing your network to in turn grow your business? I’ve outlined 7 ways below:

  1. Monitor your keywords. Once you sign up for Social Quant, you need to direct it to find the right followers for you. Your VA can help monitor your dashboard and check in on which keywords are relevant to find the right followers, which keywords perform the best and which perform the worst. It’s a good idea to monitor this on a regular basis.
  2. Sift through your direct messages. When you initially start growing your following, you will be inundated with direct messages. Most of them are spammy, but you will come across some that are interested in your business and want more information. This is a great task to hand over to your VA to sort through the clutter. If you don’t stay on top of it and check it daily, this is where a good lead can become buried in the spam. Your VA can respond where appropriate and delete the rest. If you’re trying to grow other networks, many direct messages that come in might direct you to their LinkedIn or Facebook page…this is a good opportunity to connect on other channels that aren’t quite as high traffic as twitter, and another thing your VA can do for you.
  3. Check out who’s following you. You can do this by either clicking on the person who sent you the direct message or by going to your profile and clicking on who’s following you. It’s a good idea to check this daily too. I’ve had some pretty risque people following me that I’ve had to unfollow. And likewise, there may be someone who followed you that you want to follow back. Social Quant is good but it can’t catch everything, so make sure someone is taking a few minutes when going through these other steps to check out your followers.
  4. Look through your notifications. Many times people will reach out to you with questions on your product or service through an @mention instead of a DM. Always check your mentions either on twitter or by using a platform like Hootsuite where you can view a stream of your mentions so you’re not missing anything. Twitter is very social so you need to interact with people and respond. Make sure someone is responsible to reply when asked a question, like a tweet you were mentioned in and be sure to retweet when content is relevant.
  5. Create graphics for you to use for your posts. Although this can sometimes be the “fun” side of marketing, it can also be a tremendous time suck that doesn’t really produce any income however is important for grabbing your follower’s attention and creating awareness. Give your VA some guidance on the message you’re aiming to get across to your audience if you’re new to the social media scene, or have them research what you’ve done in the past. From there they can find the appropriate images and create & schedule your posts.
  6. Create and target your Twitter lists. Did you know you can create lists of people that you’d like to target from your followers? Your VA can create these lists and assign the list tags to your contacts. You can break these lists down into any category, including your competitors so you can monitor what they’re up to and see their posts, potential clients you are hoping to build a relationship with, and even current clients who you’d like to reach out and engage with. Once the lists are created it will be in one easy-to-find place that you can then continue to use.
  7. Use your lists to cross-reference other networks. Another great task that a VA can do for you would be to use your twitter lists you’ve created (because they’ve already sorted through your followers) and try connecting with those people on other channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. If you don’t already have a DM from someone giving you those links, your VA can try connecting with them for you. Twitter is a great place to find the right connections, and trying to stay connected through more personal channels like LinkedIn and Facebook can help grow the relationship further.

Although twitter is fast paced and crowded, it can be a great place to make new connections and even have a little more fun with your social media efforts. Don’t miss out on the benefits of Twitter because you don’t have the time to put into it, and Happy Tweeting!

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re interested in learning more about Elite’s VA Services and how they can help grow your business, you can visit their website at www.elitevirtualassist.com or call at (440) 973-7005.

How To Get Started Outsourcing With A Virtual Assistant

You’re buried in work and decide it’s time to hire some extra help. After much consideration you start searching for a Virtual Assistant to work with you. But before you make the call, you need to take some time and have an idea of what you’ll need help with. Taking the time in the beginning to plan what you will outsource will help ensure that you not only find the right person to work with, but also someone with the right skill set for a long term relationship.

Sometimes people make things harder than it needs to be…keep it simple but organized. Before you start on your search, take time to sit down and:

  1. Make a list. Take at least 1 week and start writing down the things that come up on a regular basis that you need help with or can’t find the time to do. If you are working with another party or employees, ask them to do the same. VA’s can not only be an asset to a solopreneur, but also in aiding your team in project assistance or other responsibilities they can’t find the time to do.
  2. From the list, decide which areas are teachable. If you can teach someone to do a task then you can outsource it and move on to bigger things.
  3. From what is teachable, find which is the most time consuming. There are many things we do on a daily basis that although they are important in the support of your business, may not be worth your time doing if it’s not directly related to generating income.
  4. Pick the tasks that you enjoy least. Why would you keep doing things you don’t like doing? If it falls into the category of being teachable then it’s a responsibility your new VA can do.

Having your list broke down into these four parts will help you to not only find the right Virtual Assistant with the background and experience you need but also give you a starting point for your VA to get to know you and your work.

Now that you have figured out what your VA will do, it’s time to start your search. Whether you’re looking for a freelance Virtual Assistant or you decide to use an agency, there’s still a process that you need to follow from the beginning for the relationship to be successful.

Once your VA is hired and her responsibilities are outlined, you need to make sure you have the following in place:

  1. Take time in the beginning to teach them or assign someone on your team to do this. Just because someone is a digital marketing specialist doesn’t mean they will know how you want your campaign run on day 1. Make sure all of your concerns are addressed in the beginning and you have a checks and balances in place to monitor progress from the start for less headaches in the end.
  2. Be reachable. Don’t let emails or messages go unanswered. From Day 1 have a system in place for how to handle questions that arise and emergency situations. It’s always best to have an instant messaging app in place for your VA or virtual team.
  3. Set up a time at the end of each day or week for an update on tasks or projects assigned. Having this in place from the start will help eliminate questions on where things stand.

Deciding what areas you can outsource is typically one of the biggest hurdles when someone is starting out with a VA. Taking the time in the beginning to make your 4-step list will not only give you a good starting point for your Virtual Assistant, but will also give you guidance once your relationship is established on the areas you can utilize to add to their responsibilities.

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re not sure how to get started, give her a call today for a free consultation at (440) 973-7005.

Tips For Achieving Work From Home Success

There’s a difference between working from home here and there, and working from home full time. Working from home 2 days a week is a nice break from the office, but when you’re home becomes your only office, that’s when you need to make sure you still have some structure to your day.

Many people think working from home is glamorous; everyone wants to do it. There are many advantages to being able to walk from one side of your house to the other to step into the office. Who wants to sit in traffic for 2 hours or more each day? There’s also a savings on clothing; not having to buy work and play clothes can save you a significant amount of money each year.

But ask yourself this: can you really conduct a business meeting in your pj’s, or get work done with your kids running around you all day? If you’re just getting started working from home, whether it’s a remote office or you have your own business, there are some steps you can take to ensure your transition will be successful. Keep in mind that getting started is the hardest part, and there is an adjustment period to take into consideration.

Distractions

There are more distractions than you would imagine at home. Although an office has it’s own set of distractions: co-workers, bosses, visitors, countless meetings, lunches, happy hours, etc, working from home also has it’s own. I personally am more productive at home than I was in an office, but it took a while to get used to things like not cleaning the house every time I saw something out of place, not answering the door every time a solicitor showed up, stopping to play with the dog, etc.

You have a little more control at home to avoid distractions. You can’t tell your co-worker or boss to leave you alone when you’re trying to meet a deadline, but if you’re home and they’re calling you, putting that call off until you get to a comfortable stopping point is a huge time saver. You can literally shave a minimum of 1-2 hours off your day if you sit down, focus and get your work done without distractions.

Daycare

This was my first big lesson I learned 18 years ago when I started working from home. I thought I could get everything done in the early morning hours, in the evening and naptime. I was wrong. Not that it couldn’t be done, but I felt like I was always working. If you’re going to work a couple hours a day this routine would be possible, but if you’re working closer to a full time schedule, you need daycare for your kids, period.

Dress for success

Although working in your pj’s might be comfy, it also makes you a little too comfy. Resist the urge to crawl back in bed when you’re not feeling well by getting up and starting your day like you were heading to the office. This gets your mind set in work mode, and helps set the tone for the day. You don’t need to dress in your business best, but get out of your pj’s or sweats and into something comfortable and casual.

Prepare your lunch & snacks

Prepare your breakfast, lunch and snacks the night before like you would if you’re going to the office. This will allow you to grab a quick bite and not take too much time making lunch in your kitchen, which can turn into getting things ready for dinner. Although you might think working from home allows you more flexibility for doing things like that, it can also turn into a big time-suck that can get away from you.

Schedule your exercise time

If you’re someone who likes to workout a few days a week, be sure to schedule your time to exercise like you would an appointment. Pick a time and stick to it either first thing in the morning, at lunch or right after work. You can always make adjustments along the way, but treat it like any other appointment by putting it in your schedule and working around it.

The miscellaneous

Our lives are busy, there’s no way around that. Run errands or schedule doctor and dental appointments like you would if you were in an office. Are you a power napper? Schedule 20 mins to lay down and catch that quick nap that will help you get through the rest of your day. There’s no need to hide under your desk with a pillow and blanket, just set an alarm for 20 minutes and get a few zzz’s. If you were in an office and needed an afternoon break, it would take you about 20 minutes to get up, walk around and grab some coffee. The mistake here would be to just lay down with no end in site and wake up at 5:00. Day over? Wrong, guess who’s working until midnight.

If you think this sounds too structured, think again. You still have the flexibility to create your day to work for you and whoever you’re working for.  You can make up lost time in the evening when you need to have some time off during the day, or you can work on the weekend if you need to take time off during the week.

Working from home is a great option for many people that just takes some getting used to. The biggest mistake I’ve found over the years in working with others who work from home is becoming lackadaisical. This can happen either at home or in an office, but sometimes it’s harder to keep yourself motivated if you don’t have some type of structure to your day. Make a plan, keep things flexible, and you’re sure to have a successful work at home experience.

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re looking for information on working with a Virtual Assistant for yourself or to help with a project, give her a call today at (440) 973-7005.

7 Ways To Avoid The Blame Game With Your Virtual Team

Are you guilty of playing the Blame Game? Unfortunately many of us are, and may not be aware of it. It’s an ugly game that no one wins.  Although it can happen in any type of work-related situation, it tends to be even easier to lay blame when you’re working with people virtually.

There’s a learning curve of not only how each person works, but how you will work together. It’s easy to blame the person on the other end when they are not directly working in front of you; text messages and emails can easily be misinterpreted. There are steps you can take in the beginning to avoid playing the game altogether.

Take responsibility. If something went wrong because of your lack of direction, is it really the other person’s fault? Take a step back and see what went wrong and where; not to prove who’s fault it is, but to learn from what happened so it doesn’t happen again.

Delegate. Many times we get so wrapped up in deadlines that we don’t take the time to create a plan of action and delegate effectively. Lay out in advance who will be in charge of what. Your duties may cross over or change over time, but there needs to be a starting point.

Create expectations. Are expectations being laid out on the table or are you assuming the person knows what the next step should be? Don’t blame someone for not doing something properly if you didn’t have the foresight to open communication lines from the start. Be sure to lay out your expectations for the project and team members.

Be specific. Not everything is the same to each person. Being vague on directions or expectations leaves a project wide open for diversity; which may not be what you’re goal is. Being specific doesn’t mean being inflexible; it will help bring clarity to a project or timeline.

Offer guidance. Giving some guidance in the beginning of any working relationship is a step in the right direction. Offering the knowledge you have may be helpful to get a project off the ground.

Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as soon as they arise. If a deadline isn’t met, you need to ask why. If something wasn’t done the way it was supposed to be, you need to ask why. If a task or project isn’t being handled like you think it should, is it fair to place blame on someone before you find out the reason behind it? There’s always a reason, but you’ll never know the answer if you don’t take the time to ask the question.

Communicate-Communicate-Communicate. The bottom line to every point here is communication. Open lines of communication helps stop the blame game before it can start.

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re looking for information on working with a Virtual Assistant for yourself or to help with a project, give her a call today at (440) 973-7005.