Social Media Manager vs Social Media Strategist- What is the difference between them?

Though social media may have begun as a way to stay in touch with friends at college, it has become as much, or more, a place for businesses to thrive as it has for seeing which of your high school classmates and extended relatives believe conspiracy theories. Here at Office Mercenary, we often find our clients handle one or multiple social media accounts that impact their business workflows daily. Social media work is a relatively easy task to start handing off to a dedicated virtual assistant and regaining precious time to leverage your business in other areas. (Though, sorry, we can’t help with the conversations with your great uncle about Flat Earth Theory.)

When looking to hire a social media virtual assistant there are a lot of job titles to sift through from social media managers to social media content creators to social media strategists. You may wonder how in the world you will know which of these job roles is the best for you to be looking for.

First, we recommend you look at your task list and identify all the social media work that you would like taken off your plate ( And if you have trouble with that, check out our VA checklist to get some ideas of what tasks you could be handing off!). Most commonly we find that our client’s tasks fall between either a social media manager or a social media strategist. It can take time to understand the differences between each and understand which one fits your tasks the best or if you need to hire both.

Don’t worry, we got you covered; we break down the differences between social media managers and social media strategists.

Social Media Managers 

A social media manager helps maintain your social media daily, weekly or monthly. They are going to be about consistency: in getting things posted, making sure messages are answered in a reasonable amount of time, commenting, and potentially interacting with other accounts. Social Media Managers can also help with set up to make sure everything is started correctly and gather some keywords for hashtags. Their role may also include some content creation ( making sure your logo and brand colors stay on point), review data metrics, and converting content to work across various social platforms. Onboarding a social media manager can help get things up and running to your desired specifications as soon as they have access to your accounts and content. They can give you feedback from data metrics such as the best time to post so you can make the time you spend creating social content more effective. This type of role won’t help boost ROI immensely but will give you valuable time back to work on other income-producing tasks for your business!

Social Media Strategists 

A social media strategist is going to be a second hand to your marketing efforts. A Social Media Strategist, or Specialist, can create an entire marketing strategy, use data to increase conversations, do in-depth content creation, and much higher level ROI related tasks. They will help identify brand voice, brand imagery, and audience behaviors to heighten engagement. This type of role is considered a specialty virtual assistant and they often are at a higher hourly rate than managers due to the task load and expertise. 

How can Office Mercenary help you? 

Office Mercenary absolutely recommends bringing on a specialist when you can (and we have GREAT recommendations to share), but most small businesses find that they don’t have the budget for a specialist quite yet and really just want to just get started with getting content out regularly. Office Mercenary has dedicated virtual assists that can help with social media management and for less than the cost of a full strategist which makes it a more affordable starting point. If you find later on that you want to bring on a strategist, your social media manager can work closely with the strategist to make sure new strategies are implemented quickly and easily, keeping the strategist able to focus and spend less time to get the results small businesses want, much like how a bookkeeper and accountant work together. 

Whatever your social media and business needs may be Office Mercenary’s knowledgeable and dedicated team is ready to help you get back to doing what you love. We encourage you to reach out for a quick chat if you have any questions or are interested in knowing more about how a dedicated virtual assistant of ours can help your social media marketing! Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn and stay connected with us below.

Virtual Assistant for Real Estate

Location, location, location. That’s right, we’re talking real estate, but precisely your location within your real estate business!

Much like other businesses, you provide a specialized service that requires time, training, and, frequently, testing, and certification to get started. The investment you’ve made in yourself makes your time valuable. You shouldn’t be spending time doing things that don’t require your specialized knowledge! (See our other blogs on the Why to hand things off and How we do it!)

Whether an Agent or an Investor, so much of the real estate world is about timing. Finding the right person or place at the right time, making sure an offer is just right, following up to make sure you’re the one on their mind, and a VA can help with most of these details.

We’ve put together a quick list of some ideas for what real estate professionals can give a VA to make their businesses and lives run smoother.

  1. Need to make sure you didn’t miss a vital inquiry or response email, but your inbox feels overwhelming or messy? A virtual assistant can sort through your inbox, answer questions, send documents, flag items for you, and make sure your communications are manageable. 
  2. Research can encompass so many different projects that are imperative to the decisions you need to make! Everything from finding similar properties for comparables to hunting down information on a property sale, auction, or open house can be time-consuming. Sometimes, the data can be hard to find, especially if the info changes regularly with world events. Let a VA dig in to find, confirm, and update the information so you can focus on making the data work in your favor!
  3. An example of something that crosses between Research and the CRM areas is when you need to spoil a client or set of clients. Decent restaurant in a particular area that takes reservations? Want to send gifts to people who send you referrals, but not sure what you can do in your budget? A virtual assistant can take your specifications and make sure your events, big and small, are set up for success.
  4. Let a virtual admin help manage client and vendor relationships alike in a way that works for you! Job updates from property managers, contractors, or other professionals getting forgotten or lost in the shuffle? Can’t remember if you have all the paperwork from a client you need? A VA helping to organize and update your CRM means the data works for you and keeps everyone up to date with the next steps.
  5. Social Media is a consistent issue for any business owner, and those in the real estate industry aren’t immune. A virtual assistant can make sure your business page is posting regularly and you’re interacting with potential partners, clients, and referral sources. Being consistent with this also helps with Google in terms of social trust rankings, which are critical for getting people to choose you over all the other options.
  6. Accountability and Project Management is as much about those little items that are easy to get lost in the sea of ‘everything else’ as the big projects. A reminder that you need to call ‘Sue’ before the end of the week or that ‘Bob’ had to reschedule your appointment tomorrow can cause havoc with last-minute stress if they get lost. CRM work overlaps with Project Management when you need to follow up with specific projects, but it can also remind you that you wanted to switch the marketing campaign target demographics to reflect your best clients better. If things are getting lost, falling behind, or just feeling like you aren’t getting anywhere, this can be a massive piece towards feeling like things are moving the right way.
  7. The final item on this list is one of Alyssa’s favorite things: templates and procedures. These can come into play with every item we’ve mentioned previously and, honestly, something we’re going to do to a degree no matter what tasks you give us. There are probably similar documents you need in most deals, so turn it into a template to save time! Know the criteria you’re searching for in properties, even if the location or other factors change? Write up a standard operating procedure so there are fewer questions and allows new tasks of the same variety to be upland running faster. If it’s repeated, even if with small variations, it can have a template made around it. It saves time, money, and allows you to share tasks and grow faster than having to recreate the wheel every time. 

Hopefully, this sparked a few ideas for how a VA can help you, even if they don’t possess in-depth knowledge about real estate. 

For questions or a quick consultation, you can schedule an appointment with us here!

 

Learn to Let Go

No, we’re not talking about that song that millions of people (mostly young girls, but we won’t judge) were obsessed with. We’re talking about your business, learning to delegate, and knowing how hard that can be sometimes.

I want you to take a second and ask you to think about why you went out and started a business in the first place. Starting a business is a brave and dangerous thing. You could have kept working for someone else, had a steady paycheck, and left business growth in the hands of others. You chose a different path, one that is more personal and arguably harder. But why?

Flexibility? More time for the things you loved and wanted to be doing? Wanting something your own? Knowing you could get things done as well or better your way? Some strange combination of those and more?

Honestly, that’s why we went into business too. We get it. 

With all the time, effort, blood, Let your business go some so that it can growsweat, and possibly tears, your business feels like your baby. And like your baby, it’s hard to let go. You spent all this time making it this far, handing any aspect of it over to some stranger can feel wrong, scary, and generally bad.

The thing is, while your business may feel like your baby, ultimately for you and your business to grow and thrive, you can’t treat it like your baby. If we’re going to really dedicate ourselves to this analogy, you need to treat your business like your school age child- let them spend some time out in the world, interacting and learning from others so they become more functional. 

You’ve done what you’ve needed to get where you are, but did you really get into business to spend most of your time answering emails? Handling admin tasks? Doing bookkeeping? Fretting over social media and marketing? Unless you specifically started a business for one of these items, probably not, and then, it’s one or two of those items, not everything. This is both the physical and emotional reality of your own business: there is only so much time and you need to focus on revenue generating items and what “sparks joy.”

Of course, we’re going to focus on things that our virtual assistants Do more of what makes you happy.can help with, but it’s something to consider with any number of experts. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? Now, honestly, what are you not great at and hate doing? Everything still needs to get done, but it might not be happening either as often as it should or, sometimes, at all. Handing these things off gives you more time for the things you enjoy doing, things that make you and your business more effective and profitable, and bonus mental health points for not stressing about what you aren’t able to do. 

It would be nice if there were a magic wand to wave that would make us ready mentally and emotionally ready to hand parts of our business off, but there’s not. There are a few steps to help make the transition easier though (See our blog on Where to Start). Some of these may take time it feels like you don’t have, but remember – we’re aiming for long term success! The time and money you spend handing things off ends up returning to you multiplied.

What does all of this come down to? Be honest with yourself and what you want out of your business and your life. There’s plenty of fears, both reasonable and unreasonable, when it comes to letting someone into this huge part of your existence. If you do it right however, it can lead to much more joy and prosperity than you could believe. The second you really believe that, letting it go becomes much easier.

Where To Start With A Virtual Assistant?

You’ve made the leap and decided it’s time to hand off some of the tasks within your business. Congratulations! This is a giant step forward in your business success!

Start at the right place and timeBut, where exactly are you supposed to start? You may or may not already have a list to pass off (if you’re having trouble letting go, read THIS), but is there something better to start with?

The short answer is YES, but because your business is unique, that starting place will be too. Here’s what we recommend you start with to assess what works best for your specific needs:

First, having some sort of structure for your business. It’s difficult to bring in anyone to help if you don’t have an idea of how you want your business to run in an ideal setting!

We like to start by mapping out your business from a bird’s eye view, something we like to call a MACRO MAP. (You can schedule time with us to have us help you make one for free!) This is not a spot to get super detailed, you’re really looking for the main steps that move a customer along. This may also start giving you an idea where choke-holds might be to hold back progress. If you already have a team it’s also a good place to solidify who should be doing what in the company. With a team, if something with one other person or group is causing constant headaches, delays, etc., this is something else to keep in mind where adding a virtual assistant to support part of that team may be helpful.

Our example is based on a service-Sample Macro Mapbased company, like a landscaper. You move through, there’s a few spots where your apprentice helps with sales and does more with projects, but mostly it’s the owner running everything. Project #1 is probably something smaller, like replacing bushes. Project #3 might be designing a new backyard. Project #2 would be something like the design and full replacement of the backyard landscaping, where both the owner and apprentice might be involved.

After this, some people find it helpful to assign pricing values to each of these large steps. The final sales pitch, the primary service provided, networking, and similar items that generate revenue are probably worth the most to your company. The specialized skills you have, that you’re a master at, are clearly not entry level work and you should price your time accordingly based on the things where it really matters that you are doing the work. One the other side of the coin, following an initial script, sending emails, and necessary but easy, monotonous tasks are not high end business functions and should be priced based on that. If your specialized time is worth more than the entry-level tasks, and you’re still doing those basic items, your business is technically losing money. If an apprentice or other higher end employee is doing basic tasks, you’re not losing as much money, but you still are.

With that, you can then assign items you want to hand off to a virtual assistant. If you still have Macro map sample with virtual assistantmultiple tasks and would rather start with one or two, then go back to what causes the biggest headache or what you like doing the least as the starting point and the VA can grown into the remaining pieces.

At the end of the day, your company can not grow if the most valuable asset (YOU) is bogged down answering questions via email that get asked 10 times a day, which is why developing a partnership with a virtual assistant to start, or continue growing, your team is a great decision.

How’d you come up with the name Office Mercenary?

People have mostly responded well to our business name, a chuckle being most frequent, with an aside of it being ‘cool’ or ‘unique’ but still fairly obvious what we meant. The question we get a lot though is “How’d you come up with that name?”

When I left corporate-landia, I was pretty fried. I had spent years as the go-to person when no one else knew how to do something and was charged with figuring it out. This meant I had an oddly broad skill range with a vague idea that small businesses might like access to some of that. I took a little time to reset, which included some gardening, doing work on the house, napping, and re-reading some of my favorite books, which skew heavily to sci-fi and fantasy, while I figured out what I was really going to do with myself. 

I had been going through a big chunk of my Mercedes Lackey collection, going  straight from the Vows & Honor trilogy into By the Sword. In these, the heroines all spend some time with mercenary groups, but especially Kerowyn in By the Sword. There’s a point where it’s discussed about using the right mercenary group for the right thing. Mounted units don’t go in front of the infantry. Don’t put people in a lot of armor in charge of sneaking anywhere. Don’t let the mage go barreling into rooms to test for traps or see if there’s hostiles since they’re “squishy.” It’s the same concept if you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons honestly.

At the time I was thinking how this concept with mercenaries was the same as in an office. Get the right person for the right job. Some skills cross over well, others don’t, so maybe consider that when you need to expand someone’s job description. If you find someone with the ability to be versatile and cover a range of items or a large amount of work, you take care of them (or put more and more on them until they burn out, which is less ideal). But most truly small businesses and solopreneurs couldn’t straight up hire people like that and afford the benefits and other perks, much less have work to keep them fully busy.

I knew what type of virtual assistant I was going to be, specifically being that helpful catch all. Then came titling. I spent a lot of time playing with a “Jill of the Office,” like a Jack of all trades, but just for office work. I ended up fidgeting with some items while putting together the design for my business cards that brought back my thoughts to mercenaries and battle. The pin from my grandmother and letter opener my mother passed on to me while setting up my home office, both in the shape of swords. This led my brain back to the books and how these mercenaries were meant to get in, do what they were best at, and then get out of the way for others to do the same thing. And that’s exactly what I wanted to be: someone who could do what was needed and get out of the way so small business owners could do what they were best at. 

And the concept of an office mercenary was born.