A great place to network, get advice, and even find new clients for your virtual assistant business is in social media groups. In this two-part post, I’ll be discussing tips on how to use Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
TIPS FOR FACEBOOK GROUPS
I started my business on my own and before joining any Facebook groups. How did I do it? Two words = Google searches. Google is your friend. I did a search on “How to become a virtual assistant”, bought this book, and read it cover to cover. I found a local SCORE group in my area and went to a million (it certainly seemed like that much!) FREE seminars on various topics. I put in many hours of learning how to set up a basic website, filling out my LinkedIn profile completely, and creating social media profiles the right way. I signed up for many free webinars and read a gazillion articles on “How to do…”.
Here is an example of how groups can be helpful (and an example of how not to act towards the people that are trying to help you):
I remember seeing a woman post a question about how to get started as a VA. A couple of people jumped in and provided the “pinned” post link that discussed in detail things to do. The OP stated, “Yes, I saw that. But I didn’t read it. I want you to tell me what to do.”
Again, groups are great places to get advice and tips. The people in the groups are not there to walk you through every step. Well, unless you want to pay us. 🙂
How to find a Facebook group
In the Facebook search bar, enter in what type of group you’re looking for. This could be virtual assistants, social media experts, or entrepreneurs. Once you hit ENTER and see the results, then click on GROUPS.
You’re in the group. Now what?
When you find a group, one of the first things I would do is check the “description” of the group (See #1). Usually it gives guidelines and restrictions on what is acceptable in the group.
For example, I belong to a few VA groups on Facebook. One of the most asked questions I see in this group is, “How can I get started as a VA?” Guess what? There is a PINNED post at the top titled, “How to get started as a VA”.
Another way to use groups is: do a search to see if your question has been asked before. Most of the time, it has. Go to the SEARCH bar (#3), type in a keyword or phrase such as, “find clients”, and it will bring up all of the posts containing that keyword. You can also type in a person’s name and it will bring up any post they have created or commented on.
The #1 thing NOT to do in a group
If your only goal is to join groups so you can tell everyone about your new business, then stop reading now. One of the worst things you can do in a group is to start self-promoting yourself. That’s the equivalent of being at a party, meeting some cute person, you shake their hand, and before you can even say hi, they immediately start talking about their awesome cat-grooming business. You stand there listening and nodding for a few seconds but soon you’re looking around the room for someone to come and save you. Annoying, right? Don’t join a group and jump in with, “Hi! I’m Annie Loo and I’m the best virtual assistant EVER! Here’s my page, hire me!” It comes across as spammy and unprofessional.
What you do instead is, if you’re comfortable, introduce yourself and tell everyone a bit about you. And then, start to build relationships. You visit the group when you can, give helpful answers, support, advice, and ask your own questions. Just like any relationship, it takes time. Don’t rush it.
The #1 thing TO DO in a group
Be active. Add value. I’ve had some people email me saying, “I have nothing to offer so how do I add value?” EVERYONE has something to give. Everyone has a talent or gift. If you see someone asking for advice regarding a client, jump in and comment with your own experience and how you handled the situation. If someone is asking for feedback regarding which invoicing system works best, comment with what you use, along with why it works for you. Even if you feel you don’t have any advice to give, be supportive. Give them a virtual hug or tell someone how great their suggestion is. You may just find some great ideas in someone else’s post.
I’ve mentioned this a few times and I’ll say it again – grammar counts. Although a Facebook group tends to be informal, you never know where your next client will come from. A virtual assistant may hire their own VA. A virtual assistant may know of someone else who is hiring. Where is one of the first places they’ll look? Their Facebook groups. If you’re not sure how you appear to others, have someone proofread your email and/or social media posts.
You’ve got the look
The majority of time, you’ll be joining a Facebook group under your personal profile. It’s best to make sure it looks presentable and you’re listing your business in the “About” section of your profile. If I see a post and I’d like to learn more about that person, I’ll go to their profile and the About section to see if I can find a business name, Facebook page, or website listed. A great way for potential clients to find you is to have your business information listed in your About page.
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Hope you found this helpful! Next time we’ll go over some great tips for networking inside LinkedIn groups.