THE TOP BENEFITS OF HIRING AN INSTAGRAM VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Power charge your Instagram Marketing results with the benefits of having an Instagram Virtual Assistant. Learn how to hire one here.
Brought to you by Mau, a Senior Instagram Marketing Specialist at eDigital.
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An Instagram Virtual Assistant (IVA) is a great option for brands that do not want to compromise their Instagram audience by using automated bots. While this will require time investment and it will give you the opportunity to really get to know your audience (and potential customers) in a way that you just couldn’t through Instagram automation bots.
THE TOP BENEFITS OF HIRING AN INSTAGRAM VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Before you find the top benefits of hiring an Instagram virtual assistant or remote Instagram manager, let me tell you something you probably have been turning a blind eye to…
Instagram is not helping your business
- Instagram is a “money extraction” machine. Their business model is to make money from you.
- The Instagram algorithm has been deliberately designed to lower your organic reach so you have to pay for ads to reach your followers. That’s why only 2% of your followers may see your posts (If you are lucky!)
- You keep trying to build an audience on Instagram you will never own.
- You cannot transfer your hard-earned Instagram followers to your CRM.
- Your customer acquisition costs from Instagram ads are through the roof.
I can offer you marketing strategy training that will help you:
- Lower customer acquisition costs.
- Minimise dependency on paid media.
- Build a marketing engine with marketing assets and channels you fully own.
- Craft the best digital marketing plan and social media strategy that boosts sales and customer lifetime value.
THE TOP BENEFITS OF HIRING AN INSTAGRAM VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
- Help you select the right hashtags and people to follow and “like” their posts
- Give you tips and tricks for the best Instagram photography and visuals, call to actions and captions
- Assist you when customers send you questions via Instagram @account tagging.
- Truly the most authentic method to engage with your most valuable customer segment.
- Will create the closest relationship with your key audience.
- Manual searching for hashtags that are relevant to your community or your most valuable customer service
- Leave comments only on Instagram posts that are highly relevant to your business.
- Follow Instagram creators and key influencers’ accounts who add value to your business.
- Get to know the people behind the accounts on a deeper level.
- Genuinely make a “like” to top influencers’ images, read their captions, click the link in their bios, read their blog posts and leave relevant comments.
HOW TO HIRE YOUR FIRST VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
When you have a new business, you are responsible for everything. Every customer question, every order that came through, every email from a customer, all those social media enquiries—it all goes to you!
But as your business grows, you’ll be answering more and more customer inquiries, and your time will be consumed with customer support tasks, taking precious time off from key important areas of your business. Customers start to become impatient with longer wait times.
When more of your time is spent answering customer enquiries than building your business, it’s time to hire a virtual assistant!
Your first virtual assistant will probably be a casual or part-time employee who can jump in and respond to customer inquiries when needed or send the quotes some clients are asking for. They might also help you out with responding to social media comments and questions, writing FAQs, and other projects.
In this post, I break down how to recruit, hire and onboard your very first virtual assistant, so you can get back to running the business, knowing your customers and social media fans are in good hands.
DEFINING YOUR UNIQUE INSTAGRAM VIRTUAL ASSISTANT PROFILE AND TASKS
Your first virtual assistant will quickly become the face of your company. Because they are on the front line, corresponding with customers, they need to represent your brand authentically. It’s really important that you trust your first hire, otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time micromanaging.
It’s tempting, especially when you’re very busy, to hire the first virtual assistant available you can meet. But finding the best person to take the virtual assistant position will save you money and frustration down the line. In fact, CareerBuilder (an employment website) estimated that a single bad hire can cost your team $50,000 in lost productivity, morale, and customer complaints. Take the time to hire the right person.
Start by making a list of skills you think the ideal virtual assistant candidate needs. You need to ask:
- What will make them successful at helping you and your customers effectively?
- Is your virtual assistant focused on a set of specific tasks? or are there other responsibilities they’ll help with?
Here are a few common skills we suggest looking for:
- Top customer service skills: It might seem obvious, but you need someone who is great at talking to frustrated customers, and who likes helping people. If they’ve worked in retail before, but hated the annoying customers, they aren’t going to like working in support for very long. Tip: ensure this is written on your customer service plan.
- Written communication skills: If their resume and cover letter are littered with spelling mistakes, their emails to customers will be too. They should be easy to communicate with through text. Plus, if you don’t work in the same office, you’ll spend most of your time communicating in writing. You want to avoid any potential miscommunications!
- Empathy: Hiring someone who already demonstrates a strong empathetic nature means you’ll never have to worry about them going to bat for your customers. An empathetic virtual assistant will always go above and beyond to make things right for the customer.
- Works independently: When you’re hiring someone to save your time and reduce your workload, you want to make sure they can sort things out for themselves. That means searching for information that might not be readily available, making decisions on refunds (within guidelines, of course) and taking the initiative on improving the customer experience.
- Process-minded: The first virtual assistant will set the scene for future hires. Hiring someone who can document processes and improve workflows will set you up for success later on.
All of eDigital’s virtual assistants have been carefully trained in social media scheduling, how to respond to negative comments/complaints, photo editing and copywriting including knowing how to use some of the top 100 most common English language idioms to ensure your captions on Instagram offer a layer of depth and relatability to your marketing and communication efforts.
Besides skills and qualifications, there are certain qualities the ideal candidate might need to possess. It’s important to think about the working conditions your new virtual assistant will have to adapt to.
- Availability: When are they available to work? And what times do your customers usually need help? Those two times need to match up to make sure customers get quick replies when they need them. Many companies will start with a part-time virtual assistant and then provide more hours as they become busier.
- Location: Are you happy hiring someone to work remotely, or virtually? If you work in a small town, or a city with a high cost of living, you might have more success in finding help online. In that case, they will need a reliable internet connection and a home office to work from.
- Future plans: Training a new team member is costly (many studies believe hiring and onboarding can cost up to $4000). You want to make sure they are going to stick around for a while. Hiring a summer student might be a cost-effective option for a couple of months, but you’re sure to lose them once school starts up again.
List all of the qualities you think are important or your first virtual assistant to have in a spreadsheet or document. Separate skills by “must-have”, “nice to have”, and “bonus”. This will help you create a detailed job description and evaluate potential applicants.
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Recruiting your new virtual assistant
You’ve got an idea of the perfect virtual assistant in your mind, now you need to find them. First up, write a job description that will attract qualified candidates. The best candidates want to work for the best companies, so you need to stand out as a great employer.
As Jamie Edwards – founder of Kayako – suggests including:
- a brief description of the position you want to fill, including hours needed,
- an overview of your company,
- a list of key responsibilities and,
- the skills or qualifications the candidate needs to be successful.
You might also consider including a salary range along with any benefits the position includes.
Finally, tell interested applicants how to apply. Most companies will ask candidates to submit a cover letter and a resume. These documents can help you quickly get an idea of a candidate’s past experience and writing abilities. You might also want to ask candidates to answer a few additional questions, like their availability, or their idea of good customer support. This can help weed out applicants who don’t have an eye for detail. If they don’t answer the questions or don’t provide all the information you ask for in a job application, then they’ll probably miss things in emails with customers.
Once you have your job description ready, it’s time to promote it. Using your personal network is a good start, but might not result in the most diverse applicant pool.
Casting a wide net will help you find the perfect fit for your company. Remember, this is the first person many of your customers will interact with if they have questions—you don’t want to take shortcuts!
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INTERVIEWING INSTAGRAM VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS
Once you have a flood of applicants coming in, you need to choose one. You want to minimize the amount of time spent talking to unsuccessful applicants, but maximize your chance of choosing the best applicant. The best method is to screen applicants, with each level having fewer applicants and longer, more in-depth interviews.
- Resume Screening. Using the list of requirements you developed for the job description, filter through resumes, spending no more than 5 to 10 minutes on each one. Highlight any that you’re interested in talking with further.
- Phone Screening. Set up a time to talk with any interesting candidates over the phone or via Skype. Give them a brief description of the job, and briefly review their past employment history. Provide them with a chance to ask any questions that they might have. Can the candidate answer questions directly? Are they professional and courteous? Do they have a genuine interest in the job?
- Full interview. Schedule a full one-hour interview with the top candidates after the phone screen. This list of interview questions from Help Scout will give you a well-rounded view of the candidate. Make sure to refer back to your document of required skills, perhaps even ranking each candidate on each skill.
- Check references. Once you’ve narrowed down the field to one or two final candidates, phone their provided references. While most references will provide a positive review, listen for hesitations or big variations from the facts the candidate provided.
Now, for the most exciting part—making an offer!
You’ll need to agree on payment (hourly rate or project-based or commission-based) for the successful virtual assistant candidate to sign. You can also hire a full-time virtual assistant with a salary and benefits. In this case, you will need to write a short job description, and terms of employment. A contract protects both you as the business owner and your new virtual assistant. You can find some standard employment contracts online, or consider talking to a small business HR consultant to ensure you’ve got everything covered if you want to hire a full-time virtual assistant.
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INSTAGRAM VIRTUAL ASSISTANT – TOOLS
As you’re going through the hiring process, you’ll need to get your business ready to onboard a new virtual assistant.
How will the new virtual assistant communicate with customers? If you’re currently forwarding all emails to your own inbox, it’s probably time to stop. You’ll want to set up a dedicated support email and think about implementing a help desk. A help desk is a software tool for a virtual assistant to organise, track, and respond to customer inquiries across a variety of channels (email, social and SMS). It keeps all communication in one place and helps teams work together by assigning conversations to the right person. Here are a few easy-to-use help desks to get you started:
- Inbox by Zendesk
- Help Scout
- Front App
How will you share information with the new virtual assistant? As the owner of your business, you already know everything there is to know about your products, systems, and customers. Getting all of this valuable information out of your head and into a new virtual assistant will take time. The easiest way to share information? Write it down. This way, you only have to do it once. Internal documentation or a handbook for new virtual assistants makes onboarding much easier. Any new virtual assistants can read through it on their own, and refer back to it when needed.
Any legal requirements for hiring a new virtual assistant? If the virtual assistant is your first-ever part-time or full-time employee, make sure you have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) or the equivalent in your country of business. You need to register with state and federal authorities and set up records for tax withholding. Paperwork stinks, but setting everything up properly will save you time (and money) later on. If it is a freelance virtual assistant who supports you from another country you might want to check if it is ok to pay them on an hour or project basis and no need to do any legal paperwork as they will be just offering a service as a freelancer.
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INSTAGRAM VIRTUAL ASSISTANT – ONBOARDING
Hiring the right virtual assistant will be a huge help in getting them up and running quickly. Even if you’ve found someone who echoes your company’s voice and desire to help customers, the job doesn’t stop there. Onboarding your new virtual assistant correctly will set them up for success.
On the first day, set aside a good amount of time for a proper welcoming and introductory session. Your virtual assistant should feel like an important player. Walk your virtual assistant through your operations, focusing on parts that affect customer support like order fulfilment and returns. If you’re working remotely, set up a Google Hangout or video call to chat.
Work through a few customer emails together. Explain your thought process as you type up a reply. Examples include:
- Where do they need to go to get information about shipping or deliveries?
- What’s your return policy?
- It’s helpful to pull out emails (even ones you might have already answered) from situations that they might run into. That way, they can see how you’d respond and copy your response.
Once you’ve worked through a few common scenarios together, it’s time for them to dive in. Make sure they’re set up with all the tools they need and then let them draft a few replies for you to approve. When they’re getting started, make sure you’re readily available to answer questions. Edit outgoing replies for tone and accuracy, and be sure to give specific feedback to your new virtual assistant.
As they become more confident drafting replies, give them more freedom to reply without approval, but set clear guidelines on what needs to be escalated to you. Most teams will keep manager approval required on refunds over a certain amount, exchanges outside of company policy and any custom orders.
On the first day, if you have a full-time or part-time virtual assistant, you should cover:
- Any necessary paperwork like tax forms
- Bank account details for direct deposit
- Getting copies of IDs and SSN
- Expectations for the first 30 days
- Who to go to for questions.
OFFER ONGOING SUPPORT AND DEVELOPMENT
Over the next few weeks, your new virtual assistant will ensconce into a routine and hopefully require very little oversight. But it’s still important to be available and provide ongoing support to your new virtual assistant.
Develop a method of providing feedback to your new virtual assistant. Plan to meet once a week to go over any questions that have come up, plan new projects and check in on how things are going. By keeping lines of communication open, your new virtual assistant will feel comfortable surfacing problems when they need help.
Finally, once your new virtual assistant is comfortably onboarded, it’s time to set some more ambitious goals. Maybe you want to start tracking customer satisfaction and achieve 95% positive responses. Maybe you want to increase repeat customer purchases. Or maybe you just want to increase how quickly your customer receives a reply to their responses. Setting goals will help your new team member understand how they impact their business and focus their attention on positive outcomes.
Hiring your first virtual assistant can be a scary proposition. You’re giving up control over customer communications and trusting that someone else will do as good of a job as you.
But hiring the right person means that you can rest easy knowing your customers are in good hands. And it means that you have time to get back to the bigger picture. Hiring a dedicated virtual assistant will increase your focus on higher-impact activities.
Need virtual assistant support or training? Contact us!
Final note: Want to reduce customer acquisition costs and dependency on paid media? eDigital’s marketing strategy training will unmercifully review your marketing campaigns and help you build a marketing engine with channels and assets you fully own. The training will stir up your team’s thinking and bring new ideas to activate new conversion paths and effectively boost customer lifetime value.
THE TOP BENEFITS OF HIRING AN INSTAGRAM VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Mau is one of the most popular marketing consultants helping marketers like you lower customer acquisition costs and paid media dependency through custom training and strategy sessions. Mau‘s popular Digital Marketing Plan & Social Media Plan templates are used by thousands of marketers.