The term “virtual assistant” can be a bit too vague for both employers and potential employees. For job hunters, it is a very viable option as it is a very good remote gig. For employers, virtual assistants are a huge help in increasing productivity and efficiency of the business. However, these opportunities sometimes go unexplored by both parties as many are still unaware as to what specific tasks come with the job title.
From a general description, virtual assistants are exactly what the name entails: they provide assistance from a remote capacity. Assistance on what exactly? That is what we are here to clear up. Here are the services that a virtual assistant can provide a business:
Social Media Management
Social media is one of the most effective marketing tools there is right now. With its immediate response rate and wide audience base, it would be foolish to not capitalize on all the advantages social media provides. However, doing so requires a consistent level of attention and management, and this may not be something a business owner always has the time for. Virtual assistants can manage a business’ social media accounts to maintain its visibility and engagement. This includes:
- Branded set up – making sure all accounts are set up in line with the business’ branding and identity
- Content creation
- Setting up related tools (Hootsuite, buffer, etc)
- Engagement (replying to comments or other accounts, retweeting, liking, sharing, etc)
A virtual assistant can be in charge of not just creating a social media presence for a business owner who either isn’t versed in the field or simply has no interest in doing such tasks, they can also steadily grow that presence through proper engagement.
Blog creation and management
The days when blogging is considered as a hobby are long gone. Blogging, in itself, has become a lucrative business, as well as an effective way to promote one’s business, profile, or message. An engaging blog can be the difference between a famous product and one that wallows in obscurity, especially with a content hungry community. A well-managed blog is a true difference maker, one a virtual assistant can create. A virtual assistant can:
- Uploading posts
- Formatting blogposts
- Adding the necessary links
- Sourcing photos
- Adding and creating graphics
- SEO optimization
- Adding lead magnets and optins
- Coordinating with guest writers
- Optimizing existing posts
It takes a lot of work to make a blog work, and virtual assistants do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to blog management.
Dealing with customers, for better or for worse, is a time consuming task. That is why it is one of the most outsourced jobs in the industry. This all rings true and then some for small businesses or solo-preneurs. Of course, being such a crucial part of business, this particular aspect cannot be ignored, but this is something a virtual assistant can handle. In terms of customer service, virtual assistants can:
- Conduct onboarding for new clients
- Respond to inquiries
- Create canned responses for FAQs
- Checking in on repeat customers
- Handle customer complaints
- Process refunds and the similar services
- Do customer support via live chat, email or other communication platforms
Virtual assistants can ensure that a business owners’ customers are adequately taken care of.
In line with the tasks mentioned above, customer experience, or CX, takes customer service to the next level and is key to customer retention. There are many ways of doing this. A virtual assistant can help by:
- Coming up with ways to improve customer experience (example: a birthday greeting email to customers, etc)
- Implementing/executing CX plans consistently
- Consistently coming up with CX initiatives
Happy customers are the lifeblood of any thriving business, and virtual assistants can provide a business with satisfied and more importantly, returning customers.
For any sales intensive business, lead generation is a crucial part of growing one’s client base. It’s more than just accumulating a high number of leads, but a set of quality leads that is more likely to patronize the business. Virtual assistants handling lead generation do the following:
- Putting up a system to source leads and collect lead info
- Determining ideal customer persona
- Interacting with leads on social media
- Contacting leads via email or social media
In this capacity, the virtual assistants will be representing the business, so it is important that there is a level of trust between employer and virtual assistant.
In terms of online service, event management pertains to managing online classes, webinars, online conferences and the like. Virtual assistants are in charge of:
- Researching, coordinating and reaching out to potential guest speakers
- Setting up and executing promotional campaign
- Creating promotional material
- Setting up tech platform for the event (GoToWebinar, Adobe Connect, etc)
- Troubleshooting event glitches
- Moderating the event chatroom
- Handling post-event feedback
Virtual assistants can also handle live events, and in addition to the tasks above, they can ensure that the in-person event goes smoothly by:
- Acquiring sponsors
- Searching for and securing the venue of the event
- Arranging accommodations
- Event promotion through traditional media as well as online
- Booking caterers and other hospitality services
Virtual assistants make the online coordination between the speaker and the attendees easier and make the in-person event be more comfortable and efficient for everyone involved.
Ad Campaign Management
Going back to an earlier point, social media is a very effective marketing tool and perhaps is among the most effective ways of getting the word out on a specific business. That is why properly managing an online advertising campaign requires a competent person, and a virtual assistant can be that person. When it comes to ad campaigns, a virtual assistant can:
- Segment the audience
- Optimize ads based on demographics
- Research competitors
- Do audience cloning
- Write and design ad content
- Track user actions
- Determining cost/action or cost/lead
- Evaluate ROI
A properly managed ad campaign (especially on Facebook) can be extremely rewarding, and a virtual assistant handling it definitely helps.
Sales funnels essentially turn content readers into customers and virtual assistants can set this up for businesses. In terms of sales funnels, virtual assistants work do the following:
- Create and brand lead magnets
- Set up landing pages and automation rules
- Integrate the content marketing platform to other platforms via hosting and the like
These technical tasks are just some of the many things virtual assistants are able to do efficiently.
Solopreneurs benefit the most with hiring a virtual assistant to handle or at least perform duties for project management. Obviously, the particular branch of business is very taxing and additional help would be very advantageous. When it comes to project management, the virtual assistant can help with the following:
- Product launches
- Personnel recruitment
- Supervision and coordination of team members
- Timeline and systems set up
- Business auditing
Given the crucial nature of project management, having a virtual assistant, especially on a permanent basis, is going to be a huge help.
Administrative work is a very unglamorous side to any business, and because of that, many business owners tend to procrastinate on these tasks. Delegating these to a virtual assistant means the solopreneur need not worry about doing them and it ensures that all necessary financial data are processed promptly. The tasks are as follows:
- Creating/issuing invoices
- Payment of bills
- Issuing of refunds
- Prepping balance sheets
- Paying salaries of everyone employed or contracted
- Balancing bank and credit card statements
- Preparing quarterly and annual taxes
- Maintaining/updating financial data in preferred software
Bookkeeping is very important, and a virtual assistance can ensure this aspect of the business goes smoothly.
Given the number of hours the average person spends checking and replying to their emails, it should not be a surprise that email blasts and the like are a favorite marketing strategy. A virtual assistant can be of great help when it comes to email management, as they can do the following:
- Creating an optimum labelling, replying and filing system
- Putting up automatic filters
- Forwarding important emails to other members of the team
- Creating a series of generic responses for FAQs
- Handle customer service-related emails
The typical office worker spends hours on their email, and online entrepreneurs are constantly sending and receiving emails. Having a virtual assistant to perform these tasks would maximize emails as a marketing tool for any business.
Assistance for Self-Published Authors
Self-publishing books has never been easier, and virtual assistants can make the lives of these authors even more idyllic by doing the following tasks:
- Acquiring ISBN registration
- Coordinating with book reviewers
- Setting up virtual book tours
- Coordinating guest spots and interviews
- Coordinating the author and literary partners and trade fairs
- Liaising with book clubs
- Creating and managing the author’s social media
- Engaging with readers
- Formatting e-books
With a virtual assistant doing these tasks, the author can just focus on their next self-published masterpiece.
Managing Online Communities
Having exclusive groups on social media, like Facebook groups, is a good way to get to how one’s clientele and get an idea of what the brand perception is in a quick instantaneous way. However, as with most online communities, this requires a moderator to ensure that everything goes smoothly. A virtual assistant can fulfill that role by:
- Creating, establishing and enforcing a set of rules for the community to follow
- Deleting unnecessary, offensive, or inappropriate messages and comments
- Banning trolls or those who incite conflict
- Deleting spam commenters or bots
- Engaging the community and getting them to contribute
- Safeguard the brand
Having a moderator in a business’ online community is also a fine way of maintaining or even improving CX, if a virtual assistant does their job well.
Brand Reputation Tasks
The internet has provided consumers a means to affect a brand’s reputation through reviews and ratings. Much like moderating online communities, a virtual assistant can positively affect brand rep by doing the following:
- Monitoring reviews/ratings
- Interacting with unhappy customers for research and possible retention purposes
- Responding to reviews, both negative and positive
A virtual assistant can do much to improve a brand’s reputation by getting in touch with unsatisfied customers and representing the brand positively.
Optimizing a brand’s LinkedIn profile
When it comes to professional networking, LinkedIn has become the platform to create a splash in. A virtual assistant can optimize a brand’s LinkedIn profile with the following tasks:
- Creating SEO-friendly profiles
- Writing credible and impressive career summaries
- Being a part of brand–specific groups
- Creating posts regularly
- Engaging with LinkedIn connections
By having a virtual assistant paying extra attention to a company’s LinkedIn profile, expect growth in that company’s presence and networking.
Heading up influencer campaigns
Regardless of how the general public may feel about influencers, there is no denying that they are very effective in moving the needle when it comes to interest. Virtual assistants can also coordinate with these influencers for campaigns. The tasks involve:
- Search for and acquire the appropriate influencer for the brand
- Help in negotiation process
- Handle payments for the influencer
- Track campaign progress and result
Not only will a VA make the process of working with an influencer easier, but also make sure that the influencer is fulfilling their end of the bargain when it comes to results.
Managing affiliate/referral programs
Having an affiliate program in place is a mutually beneficial practice. The brand grows, while the affiliates earn a commission for simply connecting two interested parties. However, with the number of affiliates a company could potentially have, a VA may be required to do the following:
- Search for and screen potential affiliates
- Managing product specific affiliate campaigns
- Reputation management for the affiliate program
- Assist in coming up with rewards and incentives
- Assist in troubleshooting tech problems.
VAs help affiliate programs run more smoothly for everyone’s benefit.
Managing promotions, contests and giveaway campaigns
Campaigns that giveaway free stuff will always be popular. Throwing such campaigns can be for numerous purposes, be it lead generation, product launch or promotions. These are in fact so popular that businesses can expect a huge amount of feedback, and a virtual assistant can help by:
- Look for and secure sponsors or partners for prizes
- Set up the contests
- Clearly announce the rules of the said contest
- Manage entries
- Choose and announce the winner
- Manage delivery of the prize
Having a virtual assistant makes the contest more fun for everyone.
Podcasts have become the newest source of information and entertainment, and like its TV and radio counterparts, it does need a lot of moving parts to function properly. Virtual assistants can be an important part of that machine by:
- Looking for potential interviewees/guests
- Coordinating with the guests
- Doing research on the guests
- Assist brainstorming for questions/topics based off research on guest
- Looking for sponsors, affiliates and others that could help the podcast
- Sourcing art, opening and closing bumpers
- Uploading episodes to the appropriate platforms
- Transcribe episodes
- Writing show notes (sponsors, links, etc)
Like any show, podcasts need a crew. A virtual assistant can be a huge part of that crew.
Websites maintenance is one of those tasks that can be easily neglected as generally, people assume that as long it’s done, everything is finished. However, this crucial task can be delegated to a virtual assistant in order to ensure a business’ number one presence and lead generating platform stays up. A VA can:
- Update plugins
- Clean up elements from themes
- Set up social media integrations
- Set up or refresh contact forms
- Manage backups
- Manage security updates
- Delete unused media
- Remove unwanted pages and delete drafts
- Optimize images
A virtual assistant essentially keeps the website up, running and effective.
Website SEO Optimization
In order to keep a website getting fresh hits, a virtual assistant can make sure that the site is SEO optimized. These tasks include:
- Researching best keywords
- Researching competition ranking
- Optimizing content (written, images) with meta descriptions, healines, meta tags, etc
- Optimizing content for social media
- Increasing website loading speed
- Conducting periodic SEO analysis
A virtual assistant knowledgeable in SEO best practices can do wonders for one’s visibility.
Graphic design is an underrated skill, but companies who know how important it is to catch their clients’ eyes know that this is key. Virtual assistants who can do graphic design are known to:
- Create/layout ads, banners, posters, cover photos, infographics, etc
- Either advise or implement rebranding scenarios
- Create presentations/templates
- Create or follow a company’s styleguide
- Edit photos and graphics
- Design social media elements
A company’s visual identity is very important, and outsourcing a graphic artist would be a huge asset.
Creating and managing an online store
It’s no longer a new thing for certain companies to also have an online equivalent of their stores through the various platforms like Shopify. Even from a consumer perspective, online shopping is the better alternative to physically making purchases. The virtual assistant can create and manage online stores by:
- Registering domain names for the website
- Uploading product images and specifications and product descriptions
- Setting up payment options and managing payment systems
- Setting up inventory management systems, fulfillment and gift certificate and coupon systems
- Creating and implementing refund policies
- Regularly updating inventory
- Optimize site and products for SEO purposes
- Processing orders, returns and exchanges
- Doing data entry for coupons
- Coordinating with suppliers and other contractors
- Doing customer service tasks
A skilled virtual assistant can keep an online store running consistently.
Making travel preparations, especially for someone who travels frequently for business, can get messy and one mistake can affect all other subsequent trips. A virtual assistant can help in making sure that each trip has been planned out and booked well. The virtual travel assistant can:
- Do all travel related research; like airfare, extra costs, flight times, etc
- Research for ideal accommodations and car rentals
- Research all travel requirements likes visas
- Book flights and hotels and negotiate fares
- Set up airport pickups and drop offs
- Prepare contingency plans in case of cancelled flights and similar scenarios
- Collect reimbursements in case of flight cancellations
- Purchase travel insurance
- Book meeting venues for client
- Research local tourist attractions and guided tours and recommend/book accordingly
With a virtual assistant managing travel plans, the client can clearly focus on the main objective behind the trip.
Every company has a database, regardless of its nature, and these databases need to be organized as well as kept secure. These can be done by a virtual assistant. In terms of database management, the tasks of a virtual assistant are:
- Establish categories and rules
- Update database regularly
- Create reports, graphs and spreadsheets
- Provide clear instructions on how to access and use the database in the event of absence
A mundane but very important task, database management is a perfect task to delegate to a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants can be entrusted with handling their client’s day to day schedule. This type of organization is crucial in helping the client get all of their tasks done and keep their projects on a timetable. Here are the tasks:
- Setting up preferred scheduling platforms
- Schedule appointments, events (recurring or one-time) and meetings
- Sending out reminders to the necessary people
- Rescheduling appointments if necessary
- Confirming client availability/participation
A virtual assistant with efficient time-management skills is a handy resource to have, especially for clients with a tendency for multitasking.
Evidently, virtual assistants come with a wide variety of skillsets and disciplines. All these tasks, and more, can be outsourced to a virtual assistant so the employer can focus on the big picture aspects of the business. Do you see a task or two in the list that you realize you need a virtual assistant for? Send us a message here, and let’s find the ideal VA that would suit your needs and budget. Remember, virtual assistance exists to make your business grow and your life easier, so don’t be afraid to try it out.