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What Is a Social Media Virtual Assistant?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated May 17, 2024
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A virtual assistant fulfills many of the same duties as a typical office assistant, except the virtual assistant does so from a distance, usually relying on email and other computer technology to stay in touch with the office. A social media virtual assistant meets the same criteria, except the assistant's duties are focused on maintaining a person's or company's social media activities. While a typical virtual assistant may deal with data entry and answering emails, a social media virtual assistant is likely to focus on marketing activities, including writing blog entries, responding to messages on social media websites and creating advertising or marketing campaigns using those sites and technologies.

Many companies may want to maintain a website or blog and keep it updated regularly, but their regular employees might not have the time or the skills to do so. For example, small businesses can benefit from social media marketing, but they often do not have the staff to meet the requirements of strong social media marketing. While some companies may hire someone full-time, many social media virtual assistants work independently, filling the role for several companies or individuals at the same time. A social media virtual assistant can take full responsibility for activities such as responding to social media contacts and writing blog posts so other employees of the business can concentrate on developing the business.

The average person may know how to use social media websites but may not possess all the skills necessary to create and monitor campaigns and track results. An experienced social media virtual assistant can use his or her skills to make social media websites work for a company's specific industry and product line. Social media professionals also can help business owners to develop a tracking and reporting system to see which social media efforts are having the most impact.

Social media virtual assistants may make their own schedules, especially if they are independent contractors, as long as they are able to get all of a client's tasks done as needed. This can work to the advantage of a business owner in some industries, because the social media virtual assistant can respond to clients and prospects through social networks in the evening hours after in-office employees have gone home for the day. A good number of social media virtual assistants come from marketing and writing backgrounds, so business owners also may be able to hire them to do copywriting work, if needed.

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Discussion Comments

By bagley79 — On Aug 18, 2011

For the last two years I have worked as a virtual assistant. This is very similar to what a secretary would do, except the work is all done on the computer. I have never met my clients face to face, as all communication is done either over the phone or online.

Setting up and maintaining social media accounts is becoming a large part of what I do. While my duties are quite varied, the social media skills that I have acquired have become very valuable.

It takes time to stay current with these accounts, and most business people realize how important it is to have current and active social media accounts. This is fast becoming a way to have your presence on the web, and attract new customers.

By golf07 — On Aug 18, 2011

When you combine the skills of a virtual assistant with knowing how to maintain social media sites, you have an important position for many small companies.

While most companies realize the benefits of having social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for their business, many small business owners don't know where to start.

Since many of these companies are quite small, there is not enough work to keep one person busy with setting up and maintaining these accounts. It is much more economical for them to hire someone by the hour to complete these tasks, than to have a part time person in the office.

Since this is all done over the computer, it is not necessary for this person to actually be in the office. That is where the virtual assistant comes in. One virtual assistant can manage many social media accounts that are spread out all across the country.

By hamje32 — On Aug 17, 2011

@MrMoody - I agree – virtual assistants are just there to help.

Most companies usually use a mix of staff workers and virtual assistants. I did work part time for a company once that existed purely on the Internet.

Workers were scattered across the nation and we communicated through instant messaging. Money was transferred to PayPal.

I actually thought I would enjoy this arrangement, but I didn’t. At some point, you need to be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone or see someone face to face.

By MrMoody — On Aug 16, 2011

@mammmood - I don’t think there’s anything unfair about it at all. Just about everything done these days is virtual.

Even brick and mortar establishments have an online presence, which is virtual marketing. I see nothing wrong with using workers who can work on a project basis for short term assignments. It’s not different from temporary agencies, in my opinion, and I think it is part of the overall trend towards telecommuting which is impacting companies everywhere.

A social media virtual assistant is a supplement to a company’s regular activities, not a substitute for it.

By Mammmood — On Aug 15, 2011

@MrMoody - You mentioned the part about outsourcing being cheaper. I hope you don’t mind if I broach that sensitive subject with you.

Okay, you fared well since you just needed some part time income, but what do you think that does to the job market overall? Those full time freelancers now have to compete with you at prices they can’t afford.

I’m not criticizing the arrangement; outsourcing has become an unfortunate reality in the age in which we live, but I can’t help but think that virtual assistants would seem a bit unfair for other workers with comparable skills but who would prefer a full time staff position.

By MrMoody — On Aug 15, 2011

I’ve done a lot of freelance writing over the Internet, and I think for some of these jobs I served as a social media virtual assistant.

I may not have had the title, but I completed the duties, many of which included copy writing, press releases, brochures, keyword optimized articles and so forth.

Some of these companies had their own staff to perform some of these tasks; however, as the article says, they sometimes needed to outsource stuff to freelancers.

The benefit to the company is that they don’t have to pay health benefits and things like that, and freelancers who work through the Internet on a part-time basis can be hired more cheaply than full time freelancers who must charge a sizable hourly wage.

It was a great niche for me, and while I certainly didn’t get rich, I expanded my writing portfolio and made some decent money on the side.

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