June  2015 | Volume 16 Issue 6

 

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
Yvonne Weld, President

Yvonne WeldAs Virtual Assistants we live in an online world and I am still surprised how many Virtual Assistants don't worry about and/or monitor their online presence.

In my business I speak with clients often about researching a potential Virtual Assistant. I teach them the following four things:

  • Your Virtual Assistant should walk the walk not just talk the talk. For example, if you are looking for a social media VA what does their social media presence look like? Is that someone who you want to represent your business? So lesson here is to make sure you are leading by example. Don't be the VA who says "I offer social media services, but please don't look at my social media channels because you know it's like the mechanic who's car is never running right …" No … don't be this person.
  • Do some research and google the Virtual Assistant. What comes up? Lesson here – have you taken the time to google your own name? Do you know what comes up? Has an unhappy client written about you somewhere and that is the first thing on google (believe me I have seen this before), yet you didn't know it existed?
  • What does the Virtual Assistant's website have to say about them? Do you know how often I have seen grammatical and spelling mistakes on websites? Lesson here is to make sure you take a few minutes to read over your website (or have a friend look it over). Lesson here - A potential client will find a spelling mistake on your website and isn't likely to tell you about it, but rather simply move on to the next potential Virtual Assistant.
  • A Virtual Assistant who is serious about their business will have a website of some sort. Please, please, please understand the importance of a website. Especially for those of you offering online services, a client wants to know you have an online presence. Your website doesn't have to be sophisticated and elaborate; a simple one pager will suffice, but please get something out there. At the very least use your LinkedIn profile, but make sure it has a professional image to it and includes a lot of information about you and your business!

Please take the time today (or in the next week) to do some investigating on yourself and make sure your online presence is one you are proud of.

Today's IVAAcast theme is about this very subject, your online presence, so enjoy learning from some of our fantastic members.

Virtually yours,
Yvonne Weld
IVAA President


CALL FOR SPEAKERS

Call for SpeakersOn October 22nd and 23rd IVAA will be hosting its annual Online Summit – a 2 day Conference.

We are looking for Speakers on a variety of topics that are applicable for our members and nonmembers. Our members are looking to learn skills and techniques that help them build their business, get more clients and have more sales. They want to be more productive in working as a small business owner or within a team of people.

To learn more and apply to be one of our amazing speakers, please visit the 2015 Online Summit Speakers Page.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Wednesday July 15, 2015

Those who are selected to be one of our speakers will be notified no later than July 31, 2015.


GETTING STARTED
Your Virtual Store Front
By Christine Bearse

Christine Bearse

As Virtual Assistants we are reliant on our Internet presence since most of us do not have a brick and mortar storefront with a sign in our window. So it is really important to make sure everything swirling around on the web related to you and your business is relaying the same message. When I am interested in doing business with someone the first thing I do is look them up on the Internet. I like to read everything I possibly can about them. If I start looking and see mixed messages or old content that is irrelevant to what they say they are doing on another source I usually question their professionalism.

All your websites and listings should link as much as possible to each other. This way potential clients do not need to go searching to get a good picture of your business. For instance there should be links to your social profiles (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc) on your website and directory listings and your email marketing should always link back to your website and social sites in multiple places.

To get started with your Internet audit I suggest these steps:

Do a search -The first thing you should do is a Google search for your name and your business name and even your address to see what comes up. Then you should visit each entry to verify completeness and relevance to your current business operations.

Keep an updated list – You should keep track of all web properties pertaining to your business and remember to update it each time you sign up for something new. This will make it easier to go back and make changes as your business grows and shifts its focus.

Visit your social media accounts - If you have social media accounts under your business name be sure that the images are current and that your about us and services sections are a reflection of what you offer on all other websites. You may have accounts that you aren't using, perhaps you signed up for them and then forgot about them. They are still out there, take the time to find them and if you don't think you will use them, delete the accounts.

Find your directory listings – Did you start a profile on Manta, Yelp, Merchant Circle, etc. and then forgot it? You may want to take the time to write a complete company description and list of services that you can cut and paste onto all your profiles. This will save you time when you go back and update them.

When you are just starting out this may seem unnecessary, but after you have been in business a while you will be amazed at how many Google pages will come up with your company name. Taking a systematic approach now will save you lots of time and possibly embarrassment later.


WORKING WITH A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
What Will I Find If I Google You?
By Tracey D'Aviero

Tracey D'Aviero

As Virtual Assistants, our online presence is a very important part of our business.

People like to do business with others that they know, like and trust. And while sometimes this can come by way of referral, most times (especially when you are getting started), it will come from people checking you out online.

So you want to make sure that whatever comes up for you online is relevant, current and looks amazing!

Here are a few tips to help you ensure that you look professional and polished when people look you up:

  1. Make sure your website, if you have one, is current and looks good. That's not to say that you need a $10,000 website though. But if you have a blog, make sure you have current posts. If you have service offerings listed, make sure they are congruent with the services you are offering your clients now. It should be easy to navigate so that someone can find whatever they need easily.
  2. Anywhere you have information that talks about you, make sure it is actually about you. Many VAs put in information about their business, services offered and so on, but in order for someone to decide to work with you, they need to know your personality is a fit for them. Make it easier for them by letting them find it – and always use first person language. You don't have to give personal information, but you can say things like 'I love to support business owners doing … I started my own business because … I use my experience from X industry to help ….', that type of thing. Let your personality shine through in what they read about you.
  3. If you are using any social media profiles, ensure that they are current and professional too. It's not necessary to use your personal Facebook profile or your Pinterest account for business. If you have a profile that is not business-related, don't include it in your business website or your email signature or other profiles. Connect the ones you do have for your business (page, LinkedIn, Google+ etc) so that people know where they can find you and connect with you. And decide where you will spend your time networking, and keep that (or those) profile(s) looking great.
  4. When writing your content like blog posts or social media posts or even your newsletter, use your voice and your personality as much as you can. Conversational writing always gets more feedback and interaction than staunch business stuff. Not to say that you can't be business-y when needed, but in general, this is another area that you should let your personality shine through. I love the quote from Oscar Wilde, 'Be you, everyone else is taken.' It's so true. And it's easier to be yourself than to try to be anyone else, isn't it?

Working online can be such a great benefit in so many ways – we can connect with people around the world, we can work with as many clients as we want to – but the limitation comes with that personal contact.

Your online presence is really important to help people get to know you, like you and trust you. Be yourself, show your professionalism and polish, and you will be more than on your way to having an online presence that you are proud of, and that makes your potential clients stand up and notice you!

Google yourself, and see what you (and others) see – and make these simple changes where necessary!


VIRTUAL ASSISTANT TECH TIP
Add Your Facebook Feed to Your Website
By Ramona Nichols

Ramona Nichols

I thought I'd discuss adding the Facebook Like Box1 to your website this month until I stumbled upon SmashBalloon's Custom Facebook Feed for both Wordpress and static sites. This little gem is far sexier and way more useful. You will still want to add the Like Box1 to show off your fans, but I think you'll find Custom Facebook Feed more versatile for business owners who want more engagement directly on their websites.

The developers toot their own horn by calling Custom Facebook Feed "the best dang Facebook plugin both sides of the Mississippi!" I agree. And with 100,000+ downloads and a 4.8 out of 5 star rating on wordpress.org I'm not alone.

SmashBalloon offers a free version that will get you started displaying your Facebook feed from your pages and open groups. All the bells and whistles are included in their reasonably priced premium version starting at $49.

Here's a rundown of what Custom Facebook Feed can do for you:

  • Increase Social Engagement
  • Display statuses, photos, videos, events, links, albums and even offers
  • Save time if you can't blog
  • Tailor your feeds to display how you want
  • Add Dynamic SEO Content
  • Display multiple feeds from different Facebook pages with custom styling
  • Show likes, shares and comments directly on your website
  • Filter posts by string or #hashtag
  • Look great on all devices with Responsive layout
  • Make feeds search engine accessible

I could go on, but you get the picture. Better you head over to SmashBalloon and see for yourself. I'm sure you'll be amazed at the social engagement possibilities, not only for you but your clients too. Try it for free and see what you think. Anything that makes it easier to engage your audience and enhance your online presence on your own website is a win-win in my book. If you give it a try, let us know what you think on IVAA's Facebook page.

1 With the release of Graph API v2.3, the Like Box plugin is deprecated. It is being replaced by the new page plugin. Click here to learn more.


EVENTS
Three More Ways to Increase Your Online Presence

Grace White

Need some help to boost your online presence? Many of us use the typical online tools to be present online... Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog, etc. Do you know there are other effective ways to ensure you are where you can be found? We have three for you today.

  1. Provide a testimonial for our summits. If you have attended our online OR live summits, we are looking for your testimonials on your experiences. Complete our form here. Share with others what the benefits were for you by attending the online or live summit - what you got out of it - personally or professionally. Great marketing and exposure for you as well! We use your name, business name and website link when they are posted to our websites.
  2. Share your knowledge and expertise. Apply to speak at our 2015 online summit. Our call for speakers is open & we would love to have you apply to join us.
  3. Sharing your expertise is a great way to let others know about you and your talents, in addition to having your information on the website & our social media channels. Online Summit dates are Oct 22-23, 2015, block your calendar for those dates & join us.

Attend our conferences and NETWORK. Registration is open for online and join us in Orlando for live summit.

You never know where your next crucial contact will find you.

Grace White
Event Director
grace@ivaa.org


STAFF WRITER BIOS

Christine Bearse ran her own successful VA business for over 6 years before becoming a business and goal setting coach. As the Goal Whisperer, she now helps women business owners overcome the obstacles they face when trying to grow their businesses and achieve their goals. Read more about her and how she can unlock your potential at christinebearse.com.

Tracey D'Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. Contact Tracey for speaking engagements, group training or private coaching at www.yourvamentor.com.

Ramona Nichols is chief cook and bottle washer at Geek Gal Friday. She loves to bend and shape-shift websites into the sites clients dream of. Her technical crushes include HTML, CSS, Wordpress, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and Infusionsoft. Ramona is on a mission to take the mystery out of technology for underserved groups. If you've hit the wall with a technical situation, take a deep breath and give Ramona a call.

IN THIS ISSUE
President's Message
Getting Started - Your Virtual Store Front
Working with a Virtual Assistant - What Will I Find If I Google You?
Virtual Assistant Tech Tip - Add Your Facebook Feed to Your Website
Events

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IVAACast Staff
Managing Editor:
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Staff Writers:
Christine Bearse
Tracey D'Aviero
Ramona Nichols

Staff Assistants:
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