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This is a guest post from Jodi Crosby of Smart VA For U

As you probably know, social media helps promote your business with increased Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and allows your customer’s to find you easily.  However, if you are like most small business owners, finding the time and resources to even start the process of creating profiles is difficult.  You realize that creating the profile is the 1st step and maintaining updated networks is time consuming and can be complicated.

Where can you turn to for help in this frustrating and overwhelming situation?  A Social Media Virtual Assistant (SMVA) is trained to handle the social media marketing for your business.

A SMVA understands how to create a provocative profile and what is needed to maintain your online company image and make you accessible to your clients.  Typically a SMVA will help by:

·         Creating your Social Network profiles in order to give your business a social presence and a place for clients to find you and your products or services.

·         Maintaining your profiles with status updates, blog posts, event listings and unique links to pertinent information.

·         Utilizing Social Bookmarking to improve SEO, help you find your “brand ambassadors” and drive traffic to your sites.

·         Submitting Articles to directories to increase your exposure and help you develop the reputation as an expert in your field of knowledge.

·         Educating themselves and you about the most current tools and methods being used in social media today.

Why do you need to be engaged in the social media process?

·         Social Media can help you find and cultivate your “brand ambassadors”.  These are people who are passionate about your brand and are not bashful about talking about it using social media.  They are easily found by monitoring who is commenting about your brand.  It is critical to develop relationships with these ambassadors.  This can be done by including them in product development and providing them with a constant stream of information to pass on.

·         By monitoring your online brand, you can identify people who are experiencing difficulties with your product or services. You can choose to respond and reach out to these customers through a unique customer service channel that they do not expect.

·         You have the ability to initiate “non-traditional marketing”.  For example, you can setup a channel that promotes your philanthropic activities and make it easy to for others to spread the information virally.

How do you find the right SMVA?

·         Understand your goals – Do you just need help with creating profiles?  Do you need to be educated about your options?  Do you want an expert at audio/video editing and distribution?  Do you want to start a Blog?  Do you need help with the technical aspect of setting up and maintaining a blog/website?  The ramp up time period for a new SMVA is typically 60-90 days.   One of the important things to consider is a SMVA can help you setup and maintain an online presence but the actual content needs to come from within your business.

·         Look for a professional SMVA with clear policies and pricing structures in place – Ask if they can provide you with references regarding their previous social media projects.  Do they ask you about your goals?  Can they provide you with a projection of what platforms you should utilize and how they will help you reach your goals?

·         Research a SMVA’s personal brand – Have they clearly defined their online presence?  Review their Twitter, Facebook and other pertinent social network sites to see if they are walking the walk and talking the talk.

Doing your homework prior to partnering with a Social Media Virtual Assistant will improve your chances of a successful venture into the social networking world.

Jodi Crosby owns and operates Smart Virtual Assistant for You a virtual administration services organization. She has over 20 years of administrative experience in various roles from Office Manager to Executive Assistant to Controller for a small business. Her mission is to provide exceptional office support and administrative assistance to all of the small businesses she supports. The services provided are completed in an efficient and cost effective way to maximize results. Communication is key!  You can follow her on Twitter @SmartVAforU or on Facebook.

Further reading:

When Are Social Networks Least Helpful For Business?

The One Social Networking Tool Essential For Your Business

What Does Web 2.0 Mean To You?

10 Reasons Businesses Should Participate On Social Networks