If you listen to the majority of online marketing advice ‘out there’, social media marketing is a must for all business – both big and small.

Well … I’m not so sure.

Sometimes using social media to help market your VA business isn’t necessarily the right avenue to venture down.

Why?

Consider this – social media is an ongoing slow-burn. Certainly in terms of profiting by it. So the amount of time and effort it takes to use this method beneficially, honestly, could eat in to the majority of your working day.

There’s all sorts of things to think about …

  • Content creation – broadcasting unique content is vital to make this channel work for your business. This includes blogs, photos, videos, infographics and anything else that ensures fan engagement.
  • Discussions – there’s no point being on social media if it’s a one-way street. Social media is all about just that – being social. Which of course means spending time every day checking in and getting involved.
  • Advertising – Whilst this isn’t a must, many small businesses do need to invest in social media campaigns to widen reach and gain traction. And unless you’re already pretty au fait with how this all works, there’s the learning, implementation and monitoring to bear in mind, not to mention cost.

So my advice to you – particularly if you’re just starting out and think that because everyone is on social media you should be too – take a little time to reflect before jumping in there.

Make a plan.

Making a social media plan may seem counter-intuitive if you’re not going down this road, but in fact it will highlight your readiness and ability. And don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be some ten-page document, this is just to help you decide if it’s worth committing more time to.

For example, think about the following:

  • Your target market – who are your ideal clients, where are they and what social sites are they most likely hanging out in?
  • Defining your objective – are you trying to find new clients, create a community, showcase a specialist skill, or something else?
  • Measuring success – within what time frame will you measure the success of your efforts -what’s your ROI factor?
  • Time available – how much time do you have to create valuable fresh content, engage with your audience and interact?

The bottom line is, to see any kind of return on social media, you will need to see it as part of your day job, otherwise all you’ll have is a few tumbleweed accounts. And you know what they say – a social media profile with just a handful of likes or followers, barely any content and practically no engagement, is worse than no profile at all.

But what could you do instead?

There are other options. Other more lucrative options in my humble opinion.

Before you invest all your time and effort on social media channels whilst your client base stays the same and your bank balance isn’t getting any higher, try some of these options:

1. Email marketing

My personal favourite. And really, the only way I do any marketing these days. It’s perfect if you want to build up your client base or switch your client focus.

And it’s easy to do – as long as you spend time creating a list of businesses / people to approach, and think about their individual pain-points.

Once you’ve got that straight in your mind, craft your email, making sure the entire focus is toward them and outlines how you can overcome those pain-points.

Then remember to close with a call to action. What do you want them to do next? Be explicit about that – don’t expect them to know it without being told.

And that’s it!

Send the email out and remember to follow-up.

For every ten you send, you may get one response – not a bad ROI considering it’s probably only taken you half a day, at most, to do.

2. Guest articles

Now don’t sigh! Whilst it can take some time to come up with a subject, do the research, craft the article and then send out with a cover note, it can be a brilliant way to get in front of a big audience.

Not to mention the SEO value it can give.

First of all, find some online blogs or publications where your target market would also be – small business and industry specific sites. Find details for the site owner or marketing head to submit your proposal to. Then create a synopsis of your idea, along with an outline of your credibility, and send it out.

Just one thing to remember – ask if you can include a link to your site within the article, or at the very least, have your website listed in the bio.

Then, follow-up.

If you don’t get accepted remember to ask why. It could simply be that the content wasn’t what they were looking for, rather than it being an issue with you.

3. Offline networking

Local business events such as those held regularly at your local Chamber of Commerce are an ideal way to find new business. But also, think about attending industry relevant events where your target market are.

Of course, becoming comfortable in these types of environments and ‘selling’ yourself in this way can take some getting used to. But once mastered (or you can act like you’ve mastered it) you could build up a client base with a pre-prepared elevator pitch, a business card and a friendly follow-up.

There are other ways of building up your business other than via social media – if your only objective for using it is to increase your client base.

So don’t be afraid to fore-go social media marketing and go against the norm.

If the figures don’t add up, find an alternative that does bring the return you’re looking for.

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