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 like high-speed internet and document sharing, 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 at their location. However, many small and mid-size businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks, such as social media management.
What a Virtual Assistant Does
Theoretically, a VA can do anything any other support staff does, except bring the coffee (although, when home-delivery coffee is created, the VA will be able to do that too). However, virtual support duties are not limited to clerical work. Many VAs provide marketing, web design, bookkeeping, and other services.
Some virtual assistants specialize in a specific skill set. For example, a marketing or PR virtual assistant only does marketing or PR work. Other virtual assistants do a variety of duties within a specific industry. For example, a real estate virtual assistant performs many tasks, but only for realtor clients.
But what tasks would you assign to your virtual assistant? What does a virtual assistant do? If these questions are taking shape in your mind, you are in the right place.
Here is a list of the top 7 tasks you can assign to your virtual assistant.
Social Media Tasks
John Calvin Maxwell, an American author, speaker, and pastor who has written many books on leadership, said once,
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
All entrepreneurs must follow this adage, especially when they spend 43% 6+ hours per week in managing their social media channels. And needless to say, this a boatload of time. You can save this it and focus more on your core business activities by hiring a virtual assistant.
Here is a list of tasks that your social media virtual assistant can do for you:
- Creating Facebook, LinkedIn page for your business
- Creating profiles on various social channels, such as Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, etc.
- Updating the latest information on your social profiles
- Finding relevant content to share on your social channels
- Managing, building the relevant audience on different social channels
- Monitoring engagement on your social network
- Measuring analytics on different social profiles
In addition to these tasks, you can assign any other social media task to your social media virtual assistant based on your needs.
Before hiring a virtual assistant, my friend Mary used to spend a great deal of her time on Internet research. Mary’s virtual research assistant saves her a significant amount of time by doing the following tasks:
- Doing research based on the instructions
- Searching for guest blog opportunities
- Keeping an eye on her competitors
- Searching new business opportunities with the help of the World Wide Web
- Searching for best practices in your business domain
If you have any other research-based task in your mind, you can discuss it with your virtual assistant. If you want your virtual assistant to use any paid search tool, you should be precise and accurate in your communication.
As rightly pointed out by Alina Dizik in her article on Entrepreneur,
“Be sure to send clear instructions, along with usernames and passwords so assistants can get access to speciality search tools or paid websites.”
Data Entry Tasks
Kevin Kruse, who writes about leadership development, shared his personal experience on Forbes,
“In interviewing hundreds of highly successful people, including billionaires, famous entrepreneurs, and elite athletes, I’ve concluded: People who actively look for things to delegate report higher levels of productivity, happiness and energy, and are less likely to feel “overworked and overwhelmed.”
The takeaway here is – delegation improves productivity. What tasks should you assign to your data entry virtual assistant?
The answer is it depends.
A data entry virtual assistant can do a wide variety of tasks for you. Paul Ryan runs a branding agency. He frequently conducts surveys on behalf of his clients.
His data entry virtual assistant completes the following tasks for him:
- Database building and updating (sales, contacts, CRM, etc.)
- Reviewing data for accuracy
- Generating reports and entering data into CRM
- Compiling data collected from online surveys and enter it into CRM
In addition to these tasks, a data entry virtual assistant can also do custom data entry tasks, based on your needs.