Monday, May 17, 2010

Social media certification results in new business for VA

Showcasing experienced entrepreneurs offers an added marketing communications or social media element to help promote their businesses. In addition, it provides a forum through which they can share solutions to unique business challenges that might be the answer to a similar challenge with which yet another entrepreneur is struggling. This openness of information flows with the following story offered by

Jackie de Boer, founder
Accredited Virtual Assistance

I provide administration, executive and social media virtual assistance support. Unlike a traditional administrative or executive assistant, a virtual assistant works from an off-site or remote location on client projects on an as-needed basis – short or long-term. The major benefit of using a VA is that we don’t require any benefits paid to us by the client as do the hired employees of a company. I began Accredited Virtual Assistance five years ago. At that time, I strictly offered administrative and executive support. However, last year I introduced the social media services.

The added bonus of social media support skills sets me apart from other VAs. With technology changing all the time and with clients needing to keep up with those changes, my ability to support them in these new areas is rather unique. I am continually re-educating myself and keeping up with the latest advancements in social media platforms such as Facebook™, LinkedIn™, and Twitter™ along with virtual assistance advancements, in general.

For the administrative and executive support sides, my ideal client would be the small business owner who is a home-based entrepreneur needing to be more focused on growing his or her business and not tied up with routine administrative responsibilities. Many of them aren’t necessarily skilled at handling certain tasks and spend too much time unsuccessfully trying to manage them. Those with this profile would be perfect candidates for my services.

Like many businesses during this recession, I lost a few clients. My challenge was to figure out how to replace them as well as how to retain my current client base. Coincidentally, many clients began asking about social media. Apparently, keeping up with this new communications technology had become a serious issue for many of them. I quickly saw this as an opportunity to possibly generate new business and to offer a new value-added service to existing clients.

I immediately began taking a 2-month online social media specialist course through VAClassroom. I learned, and continue to learn, more about the three most popular social media platforms as well as blogging. Once I became certified in the field, I began giving presentations to networking groups on social media. As a result, I actually have gained new clients, and am now able to help my existing clients keep pace with this new social networking technology. I would have to say that, today, nearly 70 percent of my new business is made up of social media clients. I help them develop strategies regarding how social media will benefit their business and assist in setting up the various platforms. For those clients who already have a social media presence, we work together to see how they can best use it moving forward. Recognizing the importance of social media and capitalizing on its popularity became a great client acquisition and retention solution for Accredited Virtual Assistance.

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