Do you have a strategy to use social media to market your business?

You’ll notice I didn’t ask if you are using social media. Many VAs spend a lot of time on social media, but without a strategy, you are probably wasting a lot of time and not really effectively marketing yourself.

Social media is one of those time-suckers that is really easy to get lost in.

Whether you are on one platform or 5, spending time looking through each of them can add up, and you might realize too late that you aren’t really getting enough return on your time investment.

But what if you don’t know what your strategy is?

Start with this: what do you want to accomplish? Do you want to connect with colleagues, so you can get a subcontractor position? Do you want to find some great groups for networking, so you can get clients? Do you want to engage people, so they will bring traffic to your website, Facebook page or YouTube channel?

You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you can set up a plan.

Most VAs say they use social media to look for clients, but they spend the majority of their time online talking to their colleagues (and then wondering why they have no clients).

Chatting with colleagues should only be part of your strategy if you want to find a team to sub on, or if you are looking for help with something business related.

Other than that, chatting with colleagues should be considered break time!

To succeed on social media, you have to connect with potential clients. And you must have conversations with them.

Here are a few tips that will help you do that better:

  1. Set a time limit. Everyone says this, but few people actually do it. If you set a time limit for how long you will spend on any social media platform, you will quickly realize that you were wasting a lot of time before. Set something reasonable like 15 to 30 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon. That may not sound like much, but with a plan, it is very effective. To me, 15 minutes twice a day every day is optimal (and incredibly effective!).
  2. Set a goal for each time you log in. What do you want to accomplish on each platform? Maybe on LinkedIn, you want to go through your invitations and respond to them. Then you want to search through your timeline to see what might be an interesting post from someone you want to connect with. Then you might want to post your own article or status update. Finally, you might want to check in with a group you belong to and connect with a few people. Have a goal for each time you log in and you will accomplish a whole lot more.
  3. Be helpful. When you are connecting with potential clients, they don’t want to be hit over the head with you offering to be their VA. You want to build relationships with people, in any scenario. This can happen quickly when you do it right. When someone posts a question on any social media forum, and you have the answer, let them know. Don’t send them a link to your website. Give them actual help. If they are looking for a bookkeeping solution and you know of one, post it right there. If they are looking for a resource to help them decide between MailChimp and Aweber, find a good article and post it and tell them your preference.
  4. Keep conversations online. A lot of social media connection goes offline very quickly, but that is not a good plan when you are trying to get your reputation and your expertise in front of as many eyes as possible. When you are responding to a question that someone asks, answer it right there for everyone else in the group to see as well. You will be building your own credibility and value when people see more than ‘PM me and I can help.’ Having said that, some groups (particularly on Facebook) don’t allow self-promotion, and that’s why people do that. But what you should do is just answer the question right there. It’s not self-promotion when you are being engaging and helpful. Keep more of your conversations online and your offline conversations will increase. I promise!
  5. Be conversational. This is a big mistake made by many business owners. They talk in headlines and marketing speak. I have been guilty of this myself, so I know what I’m talking about! Be conversational in all your posts. Yes, use marketing language where necessary, but the more of yourself you bring into a connection, the higher your trust factor goes with every post. People like to know that you understand their problem, and can fix it. But they want to know that in plain language, not in techy talk or blog post titles.

Using social media is a no-brainer for marketing.  But only with a strategy, a plan and solid goals will you maximize your time and see results. Be yourself, and connect with people every day, and the clients will come.

So what is your strategy?

Tracey D'AverioTracey D’Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. Contact Tracey for speaking engagements, group training or private coaching at www.yourvamentor.com.