Asking a virtual assistant to manage social media would be a big mistake..

October 10, 2011

outsourcing tasks to a virtual assistantby Justine Parsons

“We run a social media company – and asking a virtual assistant to manage social media – as an admin task – would actually be a big mistake – same with desktop publishing or marketing – I’d prefer a specialist in those areas rather than a generalist who does the administrative side…..interesting musings – thanks for getting me thinking about it!”

A recent LinkedIn Poll highlighted concerns about Virtual Assistants being jack of all trades, master of none.  For the purpose of this article I will focus on VA’s role in social media though the concept runs across a wide range of business services (ie. Photoshop of images for graphic designers, filing tax returns for accountants, proof pages for site designer, etc) by way of necessity.

The majority of my clients are small business with 1-20 staff who, in reality need a personal assistant but don’t have the resource or workload to fill a full time position.  Their requirement is for an Assistant with an executive level of a wide range of skills, and the ability to source specialists if necessary.  Due to the nature of role, and particularly in the case where our client is an owner operator, we are required to carry out many tasks on their behalf.  I have client’s whom I assist with posting tweets, managing their Facebook page, paying invoices, sending out statements and following up on overdues, bank reconciliations, newsletters and brochures, sending out correspondence and managing their diaries and travel arrangements.  These clients want to deal with one assistant, and relax knowing these tasks are being carried out in a professional manner which reflects well on their business.  When a project is outside of my scope I’ll either recommend my clients to, or outsource to, professional service providers (graphic designers, marketing consultants, solicitors, etc).  An average rate for a New Zealand Virtual Assistant is $35 – $45 per hour.  This rate allows for the many hours we spend each day researching new technologies, training and finding the answers to specific questions asked.

Back to social media.  Think about the time spent on social media tasks which are by necessity, routine and time consuming;

  • Identifying posts to share
  • Researching LinkedIn groups for relevant discussions
  • Drafting generic blog posts
  • Scheduling tweets
  • Identifying relevant Facebook pages for commenting
  • Competitor analysis
  • Researching connections (quality connections)
  • Sharing blog posts
  • Statistical analysis

I could go on (haven’t touched on Google+, YouTube, RSS feeds, etc), however a social media expert lays the framework through an understanding of their client’s focus and goals.  They set strategies in place to meet these goals through content, connections and tone.  By utilising the cost effective services of a Virtual Assistant to ‘decorate within the framework’, the expert is therefore freeing themselves to work with more clients and able to dedicate the necessary time needed to keep abreast of these rapid changes.  A Virtual Assistant with excellent knowledge, discipline and online skills could be the difference you need to stand out.

As mentioned, while I have concentrated on social media; this perception of a Virtual Assistant crosses a range of services.  If you are a Virtual Assistant or have used the services of one and can add to this post, I would love to hear from you.

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