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.