A personal virtual assistant typically provides specific services to entrepreneurs and/or businesses from a remote location. COVID-19 has caused unimaginable disruptions to traditional business operations around the globe and this has led to a growing demand for skilled virtual assistants to fill the void for key services. Businesses view skilled virtual assistants as an attractive option under these circumstances as they offer the flexibility of outsourcing ONLY the services that they require.
How does a virtual personal assistant work?
Since many businesses have forsaken their physical premises and opted for virtual operations, they have become more reliant on the internet to keep their operational model efficient and effective.
Having the services of an outsourced virtual assistant enables these businesses to maintain their productivity and efficiency without the need to provide the resources for those services, such as equipment, software, internet connectivity and computers.
These services include customer support, administrative tasks and scheduling, social media and email management, data capturing and management, accounting and bookkeeping, graphic design, content creation, and internet marketing, amongst others. We further explain some of the time-consuming tasks in more detail below.
Virtual personal assistants are highly skilled with administrative business duties that are usually time consuming and require great accuracy and efficiency. These duties include:
- Diary management
- Data entry and management
- Calendar and to-do-list management
- Bookings and scheduling
Content creation is key to driving traffic to a company’s website and boosting their search engine optimisation. Businesses choose to outsource this function to a virtual personal assistant as they are highly skilled at optimizing this time-consuming task. Not only does content creation entail writing, but also research, finding and editing images, embedding keywords, inserting internal and external links, and uploading the articles to the blog.
Business blogs that regularly upload new content usually find that they:
- have more people finding that content on search engines
- have more people clicking on that content and visiting their websites
- enjoy more conversions through the increased website traffic
In terms of content creation, it is best to outsource to a single virtual personal assistant so that the quality and tone of that content will remain consistent.
Social media management
Social media is an extremely important component of a company’s digital marketing plan. Social media is where many potential customers will notice a business’s brand and are likely to engage with that brand. For businesses who don’t have the capacity to manage their social media accounts, they should consider a virtual personal assistant who has the requisite skills and knowledge to manage a company’s social media presence online.
Businesses who outsource this function can expect the virtual personal assistant to:
- create content that will be published on social media accounts
- scheduling social media posts
- engage with followers and users
- analyse reports and statistics
Having a social media specialist is beneficial to companies as they can track social media activity, monitor, and respond to interactions, and evaluate statistics to determine what content leads to the best conversions.
Research is vital for a business’s growth strategy that offers superb insights. This time-consuming task can be outsourced to a virtual personal assistant who is skilled at data crunching and is able to:
- monitor competitor services and products
- evaluate consumer trends
- find formats for press releases
- screen applications for affiliate programs
Outsourcing this function is beneficial as the virtual personal assistants can devote their efforts exclusively to this task and accurately provide data that will help the business to effectively grow.
Some businesses find that their Inbox can become particularly overwhelming. Outsourcing a virtual personal assistant can work exclusively on email management and help to:
- sift out genuine emails from spam
- respond to enquiries, questions, follow-ups, or concerns
- organise and filter the inbox
- manage email lists
- conduct email marketing campaigns
This will help businesses to have a fully functional email channel that facilitates seamless and effective communication.
Benefits of having a virtual personal assistant
Businesses and entrepreneurs usually hire virtual personal assistants to reduce their business overhead costs. In one aspect, it helps to lower operating costs and salaries. Since there is no need to employ a permanent employee, a virtual assistant can provide the same services to businesses at an hourly rate or charge per project. In this way, you only pay for the services that you need. Moreover, since this is a virtual arrangement, you won’t need to pay for overheads like computers, equipment, and office space to name a few.
Your business will also save on training costs that you would ordinarily pay when employing a new staff member. Considerable time and resources are outlaid to adequately train employees for different aspects of their role. This would not be necessary, however, when you use the services of a virtual assistant who is up to speed and ready to start immediately.
Some companies tend to outsource non-core tasks to virtual personal assistants. This frees up more time for key role players to concentrate on their core competencies. Non-core tasks like distributing emails and newsletters, research, scheduling, data entry, social-media management, and customer queries can effectively be handled by a virtual personal assistant and leave the company to handle more essential matters.
While these tasks are necessary, they can be time consuming and so outsourcing these duties enables key team members to focus on critical elements of the business, thus enabling a more efficient operational model. Additionally, more time is available for key team members to invest on strategy, performance analysis and objectives.
By using virtual personal assistants, business operations can easily be scaled in a short space of time. Should the need arise, the right talent can easily be found to attend to specific projects and businesses can easily cope with increasing work demands. Moreover, businesses don’t have to burden themselves with lengthy and costly recruitment processes when faced with a sudden increase in demand.
Since many businesses operate across the globe with customers based in different time zones, having virtual personal assistants based in different parts of the world enables you to have a 24/7 connection with your customers catering to the different time zones across the globe. This is particularly important when building rapport and trust with your global client base.
Since the advent of the pandemic, businesses around the globe have accelerated their efforts towards digital transformation in order to meet the needs of new-age clients. In light of this, businesses use virtual assistants as a cost-effective and practical solution for essential components of their operational model.
Having an outsourced specialist providing very specific services that your business requires makes sense in this rapidly changing business environment. With that being said, businesses and entrepreneurs should seriously consider outsourcing specific functions to virtual personal assistants in order to boost their effectiveness and productivity and give their businesses the best opportunities to grow.