4 Secrets to Growing Your Business’ Sales Exponentially This Year With The Use of Social Media
What new small business owner or entrepreneur doesn’t need MORE SALES in their business? Especially when it’s free! Social Media offers endless potential and opportunities for the young entrepreneur or established company to drive traffic to their website and increase their sales for free. In this beginner’s guide to using social media for growing your sales, we are going to take an in-depth look at what it takes to drive that potential sales through the roof using social media to target your audience. In this modern day there’s not a person that doesn’t have a mobile device which is excellent news for the business owner. Just imagine crushing those sales goals when you have the right audience at your disposal – a global audience available 24/7, 365 days of the year!
#1 Do your research
What you want is knowledge about your audience before starting any campaigns on social media. Consider and research the demographics of your target audience and use the information to determine which social media platforms to use to reach them and what type of media would be most likely to succeed.
#2 Quality content vs Quantity content
So, this is where you expect me to say, “Start a blog”, right? Wrong! If you don’t already have a blog for your website, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful FREE marketing tools to boost those sales and you might want to take a step back and first take a look at where to start when writing a blog post or how to improve your blogging. Our focus is on social media so that means you’ll need quality content to share. Take note my emphasis on quality content. Your biggest faux pax on social media is to share a whole lot of content without providing value to your audience. Don’t just post and share random stuff. Make sure what you have to say or share will either engage or entertain your audience.
A good guide is to use the 80-20 rule, which means you share 80% content that engage and entertain the audience and 20% sales content. Hard-selling is a definite NO! It adds a desperate flavour to your business that will chase away your target audience faster than you can schedule your next post.
#3 Consistency is key
Nothing is of greater value to improve your business’ online visibility than consistency. If you stuck to rule number two your content will be of value to your audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, motivational quote or short video, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Your audience will be anticipating your next post. A social media calendar will enable you to plan your posts to coincide with special dates and events to maximize the effect of your content. So, what’s better than using a social media scheduling tool to make sure you free up your time while sharing quality content on a consistent basis to all the platforms and targeted audiences of your choice.
#4 Engaging with your audience
Social media is about engaging your followers. If you don’t grasp that concept first and foremost your hard work will all be for nothing. Nothing is as important as responding to your audience’s conversations, likes and shares. This is how you build trust in your brand and develop a relationship that turns a follower into a client.
Do the research, create or curate the content. Be intentional, be consistent, find your own voice and style. In a world where we are often overloaded with digital content, we need to be unique. AND we are – so use it to your advantage to outshine your competition. You’ll be amazed at the results!!
What you can do to get great work ethic
Setting boundaries and rules whilst maintaining good work ethic as a Virtual Assistant
As a Virtual Assistant we are sometimes so hungry to get that next client and maintain the best working relationships with the ones we have that we sometimes forget that the key to success is actually to set some boundaries. Setting boundaries and laying down some ground rules with your clients need not be a daunting, scary thing, in fact if anything it should be a relief to you and could even show your client a whole other side of your personality which they may love. Assertive and confident professional remote worker – THAT’S YOU!
Now although it may be a necessity to set these boundaries to avoid things like burnout and less than average work being handed over to clients, you need to be able to do it in a proper manner and without coming across as bitchy and condescending. You also want to make the rules clear from the get-go, so things like what hours you are available to one specific client, what your actual working hours are and so forth need to be discussed right in the beginning to avoid any awkwardness further down the line.
Below I will discuss a few tips for setting up rules and structure within your business which will ensure your success and success for your client.
Boundaries for you and me
Your phone – Now although you have a phone and the general idea of a phone is to take calls you do not want clients calling you all hours of the day and night and weekends expecting answers. So you need to be clear that, if you do not have a phone purely for business, that you tell your client you are available for calls between hours x and y and thereafter there will be no response to calls or messages.
Set working hours – Most VA’s have more than one client and therefore would want to have specific times scheduled in order to provide the best most focused work to each individual client. This can be tweaked according to the workload of course as sometimes one client has nothing for you to do on a specific day, but another may have a mountain of tasks which are all urgent, you can then use your discretion, but setting some sort of guideline around this with your client is very important.
Treat your business like a business – All business’s have hours where they open and then the same for when they close, you as a virtual assistant are essentially running a business and should do the same. Business’s have rules and regulations, therefore so should you. A virtual assistant is not an employee and therefore does not have to adhere to the management from a client.
Having a task list – A task list is also great as you and the client can set up the tasks together that are needed for any particular day, if the client then tries to deviate from this you can respond by saying that because the list has being drawn up in a specific way you have planned accordingly and unfortunately any extra’s would have to wait for the following day. If you are unsure of what the priority task is it is always best to communicate and find out, this is also a good way of setting the rules that priority tasks are completed first but whatever falls outside of the normal working hours will be added to the following day.
At the end of the day we all want to be able to deliver top-notch service as a VA and we want to have as many clients as possible and keep everyone happy – but happiness comes from being honest and upfront about things. You never want to find yourself a few months down the line, when you realise you cannot handle the workload, telling a client you need to set boundaries, it will probably not end very well.
Be assertive, have a clear idea of what you can and cannot do in any one day and then have that chat with those clients and you will flourish.
Happy Virtual Assistant = Happy Client
Social Media for Growing Traffic and Sales
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognise them.” Ann Landers
What is Social Media?
Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.
Forms of Social Media
There are many forms of social media, amongst these are: –
- Websites and applications dedicated to forums
- Social networking
- Social bookmarking
- Social curation
Typical examples of social networking platforms that may be easier for the “man on the street” to identify: –
To name but a few, find below a typical conversation prism. It is quite enticing to know how far ones reach actually goes when posting on social media.
Business Applications of Social Media
Social media, today, is a fundamental part of life online. Social Media is used to market products and services, to promote brands and most important of all to connect to individuals and business with whom you can set the stage for new business.
How do you increase social media traffic?
This is a phrase that MANY people ask! Let’s focus on the “HOW”!
The bottom line is, social media traffic happens or shall we say increases when you engage and build relationships on each and every network.
Every social media network is different, however to increase your social media engagement on these platforms, there are some hard and fast rules that one should follow.
Inspire your audience with visuals
A fundamental concept in social media engagement “first impressions last”.
The first impression that you portray in your post or engagement is what lasts in most people’s minds. The age old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, is not always true. Visuals assist people or potential clients with making decisions.
The best visuals on social media include: –
- Vibrant colours and well-designed layouts
- High-level photography
- Visuals telling stories
- Visuals showing products or services in a new light
- Consistently on point and well-planned
ALWAYS be where your audience is!
Identify Social Media Influencers and Engage with Them
The term used is “influencer marketing”. When one engages with various social media influencers, one is creating the ideal opportunity to attract more followers, in other words, MORE traffic to your business website, platform etc.
Understand that Social Media is for SHARING, not selling!
Although, the majority of potential clients begin their journey on social media by making a purchase. Most clients do not visit social media networks with the intention of shopping.
The primary intention for social media marketing is to build relationships. People are more inclined to check out your post or share your story, news, blog etc if they feel that your post is directed at building a relationship with them.
Clients want to feel as if they are important and that their own needs are being met.
The above ideas are to name but a few. Get out there and ENGAGE with your followers make them feel as though they are your number 1 visitor!
Tactics to Positively Overcome the Difficult Client
Irrespective of what industry you are in, there is always that odd difficult client that as a result of various factors can leave you feeling frustrated, angry, unmotivated and possibly even full of self-doubt. For some of us, the reaction to a difficult situation can be defensive for others it can be offensive which can have either positive of negative outcomes regardless.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to establish smart habits
The fact remains that there will always be clients that are a little harder to please than others, so the question at hand is, how do you handle those situations in a way that will have a positive outcome for both you and the client? Well, while in my previous role, I had done some research on the topic and I came across an article by Barbara Markway (Ph.D.) who has some excellent insight into handling difficult clients, which I will delve into a little further, but one of the factors she mentions amongst others is going about things in a way that may seem unnatural to you as first. What does this mean? Well simply put, we all have our ways of doing things, and sometimes it works other times it doesn’t but if your finding your not getting the outcome you want from a difficult situation – perhaps its time to step outside your comfort zone, try a new approach and create smart habits.
Some Tactics to be Used with the Client
Out of the many tips given in Barbara’s article, the following tactics on how to handle a difficult client stood out to me:
- Listen & Stay Calm. Listening is the number one step in dealing with “unreasonable” people. Everyone wants to feel heard, and although staying calm can be extremely difficult in an emotionally charged situation, real progress can’t take place until the other person feels acknowledged. While you’re listening, really focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next. I have often said to people in the past, “I know your hearing me, but are you listening to me? There is a difference”. Taking the time to really listening to what someone else is saying, can give you a fresh perspective and clarity on a situation at hand.
- Reflect respect and dignity toward the other person. You don’t know what the other person is going through. Chances are, if a person is acting unreasonable, they are likely feeling some sort of emotional or mental strain for whichever reason and showing contempt will not help productively resolve the situation.
- Saying, “I understand,” usually makes things worse. Instead, say, “Tell me more so I can understand better.” This for me was an interesting point, because I personally have often used the term “I understand” countless times with clients and looking back it wasn’t always well received, looking at this approach has given me a new perspective on how a client would possible react to the situation differently.
- Saying, “I’m sorry,” or, “I’m going to try to fix this,” while establishing boundaries can go a long way toward defusing many situations. This tip can be quite difficult to follow when you feel your not the one in the wrong and are feeling defensive. Sometimes by being humble in the situation and saying the words “I’m sorry” or “I’m going to fix this” can completely diffuse a situation, and in turn can give you the opportunity to establish the hidden need. The client could end up disclosing what they are really trying to gain or avoid within the project/ task and positive outcome can take place for both parties. Having said that, you will also need to assess the situation, while some of the above tips have encouraged listening and letting the angry person vent, you also have the right to be assertive and say, “Please don’t talk to me like that.” if the situation is gets out of hand.
Some Tactics to be Used with Yourself
Handling a difficult client with some of the tactics, may be draining for you which would defeat the purpose of positively overcoming difficult clients, that’s what there are also a few things you should do:
- Debrief. After the situation is over, talk to someone about what happened, take 5 minutes to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and just allow yourself to process the situation.
- Discharge your own stress. You had to put your natural reactions on hold for a while. Now is the time to discharge some of that pent-up adrenaline. Go for a run. Take your dog for a walk. Don’t let the emotions stay stuck in your body.
- Give yourself credit for getting through an uncomfortable situation. It takes a lot of energy not to act like a jerk when someone else is behaving badly. Don’t skip this step!
Positive Outlook, Positive Outcome
Remember these tactics are simply guidelines to help you along the way. How you implement these tactics is up to you, and maybe they won’t give you a positive outcome every time, but its all about trying and keeping at it until you establish smart habits that work for you. If you do not have the time or cannot see yourself dealing with difficult clients that’s ok, perhaps consider getting a VA to deal with your Client Relationship Management and can implement strategies for you! I have seen how these tactics have worked for me, and to this day some of the best connections and relationships that I have established in my career have been as a result of a rocky start with some pretty difficult clients. The key to all of this however is to always have a positive outlook, and having said this I will end with a quote by Lailah Akita “Our reaction to any situation will determine the outcome”
What is a Virtual Assistant
According to the balance small business website, a virtual assistant (VA) is a person who provides support services to other businesses from a remote location. The term originated in the 1990s as the ability to work virtually due to technology improvements, such as high-speed Internet, document sharing, and other advancements, made working remotely a reality.
Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don’t want to bring on staff in their location. However, many small and mid-size businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks such as social media management.
Earlier in 2018, I decided to kick the corporate bucket and venture on a solo career path. I just didn’t know what I was going to do though. It wasn’t the first time I’d tried my hand at entrepreneurship either. No, I’m a sucker for pursuing my goals, hopes and dreams. Have I failed and bumped my head? You better believe I have. Has my confidence wavered? Oh yes, many times. It still does. I have days when I sit back and question my choice, but usually, it takes a drive during peak hour traffic to reaffirm my belief in what I’m doing.
I knew I had to change what I was doing. There were a few personal reasons for my decision but the main driving force for me is the fact that misogyny is still rife in the workplace. This is a global phenomenon and a topic not discussed openly for fear of reprisal.
Working hard, long hours has always been a trait I’m proud of, but, as I approach my 50’s, I don’t gel with the rules. Not that I really embraced these to begin with. Boundaries create security, this is psychology 101 – but micromanagement and a draconian, authoritarian management style is on another level. One I don’t tolerate. Perhaps it’s just my personality, but I have a visceral dislike toward those who deploy this management style. Nor do I take kindly to whipper snapper millennials boasting their degrees and exploiting others, especially mature women in the workplace. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the fact that people work hard to attain their degrees. Point is, it does not entitle belligerence.
I am pleased to observe on many company websites, particularly the UK based companies that the gender pay gap is being addressed. These modern companies are also addressing their menopause policy for their mature female employees. This is liberating and makes us ‘oldies’ feel appreciated and still worthwhile in the office and not maligned for being female.
As I was planning my exit strategy, I researched online work opportunities. I wasn’t overly enthused at the ‘genuine’ options I found. Seems there’s many a scam artist out there preying on desperate and vulnerable job seekers. Scrolling through Google I saw the term virtual assistant. Intrigued, I read on. Yes! This was for me and rest as the saying goes, is history.
Another important factor that influenced my decision is my teenage son. It’s reassuring for mums of small children to be at home. Unfortunately, there’s not too many half day positions available and mums are forced to either take a pay cut, opt to work from home or find full time employment and utilise the primary school after-care facility. The assumption is high school kids have it all figured out and cope on their own in the afternoons. This is not the situation and left to their own devices, teens tend to not be as studious as we’d like them to be. Boys tend to take advantage of this fact… To this I can attest.
Where to from here
Setting up shop is not easy, and it’s become a competitive work arena out there. If starting and running a business is such a simple feat, everyone would be an entrepreneur. When I started out, I floundered for a while and was startled at my lack of up to date techie experience. This from someone who completed their A+, advanced networking and MCSE in the early 90’s. A lot has changed, and it can be daunting!
I wasn’t and am not deterred to work for myself and on my own. As a Virtual Assistant, you cannot offer everything skills wise and there will always be other VA’s who offer more than you do and are better at a task than you are. It’s about streamlining your skills and finding your niche. If you don’t know something, say so. But, turn your not knowing into a positive and learn how to do the task. There are many online resources to be researched and honing your skills is do-able, without breaking the proverbial bank.
Be honest and upfront with your client and with yourself. It’s no use struggling to fulfill a task or commitment you know full well won’t be done correctly. The concept of working online requires open communication channels and engaging regularly with your client or clients. Learn to manage your time. When you’re on the clock and responsible for task management and key deliverables, you quickly realize how valuable time is. There’s no chatting with colleagues round the coffee station or checking your social media profiles. Accountability is tantamount.
Being on the cutting edge of technology and offering a bespoke service will ensure the global Virtual Assistant market succeeds. This is an exciting career path and the industry is set to grow, exponentially so.