Business owners have realized that social media, from Facebook to Instagram to Yelp, is not going away. But that doesn’t mean they have a lot of time to spend on it themselves! As a result, virtual assisting and social media management are growing bigger every day as a way to make money online.
As a virtual assistant or social media manager, you already know the ins and outs of marketing through social media. However, to find clients for your services, social media marketing alone is not enough.
You need to reach the business owners who spend little or no time on social media themselves, and don’t have the time, knowledge, or desire to delve into it. They know it’s an important route to getting customers, but have no idea where to begin.
How do you reach those potential clients?
Have a well-designed website.
Even if a business owner doesn’t spend time on social media, he or she is surely familiar with the internet and the process of searching for information online. Make sure you have a website that is optimized to catch searches on terms a business owner might use, like “how to market on Facebook”.
On the front page of your website, have big, clear buttons that let potential clients differentiate themselves between those needing to create a social media presence from scratch, and those who have a social media presence and need help maintaining it.
When the newbie client follows the intended link, have content that explains clearly how social media marketing works, with case studies and testimonials. Make sure those clients you profile are ones that started out like the ones you are trying to reach: knowing that they needed to do social media marketing but with no idea how to go about it.
Don’t forget to collect the email addresses of visitors. This lets you reach out to people multiple times rather than just during one fleeting visit. Don’t rely on contact forms alone. Offer something like a free report or e-book to entice the reader to share their address.
Finally, make sure your site has links showcasing your own business’ current social media feeds on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Show them that your own efforts are ongoing and up to date. Show them you practice what you preach!
Stay on top of your game.
The online world moves fast. It’s vital to stay on top of new and emerging technologies so you know how to make them work for your clients when they become hot. For example, Pinterest has exploded in a few years from a simple place to stash ideas for crafts and foods, to one of the primary social media marketing venues. YouTube and Facebook roll out new functionalities every few weeks.
You need to stay on top of what’s going on with the main marketing spaces as well as what is coming along, because your competition will be. Talking about and participating in new methods will show potential clients that you know what you are doing.
Offer educational media opportunities
What are educational media opportunities? Chances for you to teach potential customers about yourself and your services, while at the same time showing off a particular type of service and get them thinking about how it could work for them.
Examples of opportunities include:
- YouTube videos
- Google Chats
- Periscope sessions
- Live webinars
For all live events, make sure you record them and make them available for later viewing by visitors to your websites. And keep track of questions you get from attendees to live events. Use them to further generate content for your site by answering the questions in blog posts or articles.
Blog about online business and your own experiences as a business owner.
A well-maintained, frequently updated blog is a key component of your social media presence. Regular blogging means more opportunities to discover and use keywords that catch the attention of web searches. Every update is another chance for search engine bots to update the cataloging of your site.
Moreover, keeping a conversational and inviting tone helps prompt readers to comment and ask more questions, or contact you directly by email. They don’t feel that they are initiating a contact “cold”, rather, they feel like they are continuing a conversation that has already started with your post.
A blog is also a central location where you can show what you know, and what you yourself are learning about social media. You can announce live events like webinars or Periscope sessions. You can do a debrief after going to a conference or taking some training yourself, sharing what you learned and what you liked and did not like. You can answer questions and share information, especially when you identify questions that come up over and over again in emailing or talking with potential clients.
Advertise — online AND offline.
You have a great site with strong marketing copy, lots of blog and other content, and compelling offers to attract new clients. Now you have to drive traffic to it.
Of course there are numerous ways to advertise online, from Google Adwords to paid banners, paying for enhanced listings in search engine results and more.
But remember, there is a significant market out there who still does not get most of their information online. Embrace offline advertising as well. Investigate the possibilities of advertising in a local newspaper, neighborhood newsletters, church bulletins, and placing flyers and business cards on bulletin boards in local businesses. You may even discover that placing a radio advertisement or creating a billboard is a viable option that costs less than you expect.
Don’t forget about word of mouth marketing, too. Reach out to satisfied clients and offer them deals to recommend you to friends and colleagues. A great way to encourage this is to offer a coupon or discount to both the recommender and the friend.
In all cases, make sure your website address is a prominent feature in every form of advertising. Your goal is to get more people to take a look at what you have to offer, and hopefully give you an email address where you can continue to reach out to them.
Landing your virtual assistant job is complex and requires attention and effort, but that effort will pay off. Do whatever you can to make that first connection with a potential customer, and open the door to opportunities to convert that prospect into a paying client.
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