Question Details

Pamela Edwar…, Real Estate Pro in 75219

What's your opinion on using a virtual assistant (either local or international) for basic marketing?

Asked by Pamela Edwards, 75219 Mon Feb 18, 2013

Does anyone have any experience or advise on how to get started looking for a good reliable VA?

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Answers

15
Thanks Annette and I loved your ending, as I'm a B-I-G Orangeman fan. :) Have a great day, and I look forward to talking with you. If we work together then you will be my second Florida sunshine client.

Sarah

Sarah Cole VA on Demand - Social Media Consultant
2497 State Route 80
Lafayette, NY 13084
315.238.7068
sarahcolevaondemand@gmail.com Email
http://sarahcolevaondemand.com/Website
http://sarahcolevaondemand.wordpress.com/ Blog
http://www.facebook.com/sarahcolevaondemand Facebook
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2013
Very informative and thought-provoking. Thank you for asking Pamela...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2013
Sarah,
Thank you so very much for adding your perspective.
As you so graciously pointed out, Debra also, that the term VA can have significant dimensions from non-resident office staff to "Social Media Consultant."

The latter, your niche, should prove extremely attractive for all the reasons Debra articulated so well. Most of us, well me specifically, are completely unaware of the business we lose because this area of our business has not been optimized.

Giving you a call is on my schedule.
Go Orange.

Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
727.420.4041
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2013
The way my clients found me was the following -

1. I met with the owners of one real estate company and they presented me to their agents and brokers and let me explain what I could do for them. Out of that company I garnered 8 new clients.

2. Another client contacted me after she saw my advertising and actually, that's the same with the rest of my clients outside of the first company.

Keller Williams specifically speaks to their agents about the value of virtual assistants (work at home secretaries, social media consultants, advertising gurus.) The term virtual assistant covers a lot of territory because each VA focuses on specific areas. My focus is social media and real estate marketing. Some work with authors, small business owners and coaches/speakers.

It's a very fun and rewarding career.
Sarah Cole VA on Demand - Social Media Consultant
2497 State Route 80
Lafayette, NY 13084
315.238.7068
sarahcolevaondemand@gmail.com Email
http://sarahcolevaondemand.com/Website
http://sarahcolevaondemand.wordpress.com/ Blog
http://www.facebook.com/sarahcolevaondemand Facebook
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2013
I'm curious how anybody ever got the idea have having a Virtual Assistant.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2013
Hi Mack! I am just curious - since you seem surprised by the concept of hiring a VA (for various the reasons listed by me below - and others) , is this not something that is discussed in your area?
Flag Wed Feb 27, 2013
Write an accurate job description, I think this is key in getting the right person for the job. Even though the pay might be slightly higher, I would encourage US individuals or companies to hire US Virtual Assistants. Not only does this help our economy by supporting US workers, but also communication is key when working with someone virtually, and someone living in the same country and speaking the same language, in most instances will lead to better communications and working relationship.

Best to you and yours,
Belinda
http://www.VirtualAssistants.com
Since 1999 - Your Virtual Office Staff
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2013
Depending on what you need, virtual assistants are great! It is always in my best interests to keep my marketing in house however, so that as ideas and projects come up I am able to implement them right away :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
I'm a virtual assistant and my focus is on social media. Unless there's a template designed website I don't even pretend to have experience there. That's what web designers are paid for and your website, as you know, is extremely important as it nets the fish.

I update LinkedIn profiles, design and run Facebook pages, setup Google Plus profiles, update Realtor.com profiles . . . It all depends on how far you want to dive into it, but I think having a Facebook business page is the most important first step and second would be Google Plus as it ups your ranking when a search is performed on Google for obvious reasons.

I also design videos for listings and can do flyers and postcards, but design only. The real estate company I've done this for has me design them and then they print them out. Works quite well. If you are a RE/MAX agent then you are in luck as I have experience with RE/MAX's website and the design program.

My information is on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sarah-cole/6/288/343. You will find letters of recommendation from people I have worked for and currently work for. My email is sarahcolevaondemand@gmail.com

Oh and lastly, I have 10 realtors that I manage business Facebook pages for and if you would like to view any of them I'm happy to provide some links. Have a great day and good luck in your search with whatever road you decide to travel on.

Sarah
Sarah Cole VA on Demand - Social Media Consultant
2497 State Route 80
Lafayette, NY 13084
315.238.7068
sarahcolevaondemand@gmail.com Email
http://sarahcolevaondemand.com/Website
http://sarahcolevaondemand.wordpress.com/ Blog
http://www.facebook.com/sarahcolevaondemand Facebook



"You can start where you are with what you've got and go to wherever it is you want to go." Zig Ziglar
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
Interesting insights and suggestions.

Mack not sure to whom you were directing your question, but I will respond to it as perhaps Pam's motivation to ask about a VA differs from mine.

I am not looking for someone to do local marketing, put a stamp on anything or oversee virtual tours and marketing materials, etc.....I've got all that covered......I was looking for a VA to handle aspects of the virtual world for me....in regard to my image and visibility.

My company's marketing department vetted 4 or 5 individuals around the country, who do this for a living, and offered their resumes and lists of services that were available - most had menu-like a la carte offerings. This was just something my company provided and posted on our company website dashboard for anyone who might be interested.

I saw it, and thought.......hmmm.........that ole virtual world is hard to keep up with.......thus, I was considering hiring someone to oversee/stay on top of that for me - only in the "virtual" sense.......not a live body sitting in my office or on the other side of town.

I was looking (as was suggested by the resumes provided) for someone to give me an "internet tuneup", or boost, if you will, regarding SEO , my website, my blogs, refreshing my "presence" on sites like Linked in, FB, Twitter , etc.
I know I don't currently optimize my use of those venues as effectively as possible as tools for my internet exposure..

There is a Broker in my area who has a small boutique-like 1 office company, but she impresses me with how she uses FB to gently build her business while not being in your face with spam. I just don't have the time and patience to come up with a coordinated approach to some of that internet "stuff".......so, imo, I need a boost, and that's pretty much why I was looking into the possibility of hiring a virtual assistant - for that side of my business that I feel I may be neglecting.

Each of the 4 individuals whose resumes I viewed had very specific lists of services offered. You could pick and choose what you might be looking for.

That's it for me........maybe Pam will share what her expectations are in considering a VA.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
While I haven't pursued a VA as yet, I have definitely considered doing so. Instead I've been successful in recruiting some top notch newly licensed agents and created a mentoring program that includes handling many aspects of my basic marketing. It has been a win-win for both of us. The downside is because they are top notch it is long before their own business takes off and then you are back to square one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
The success of using a virtual assistant depends on your ability to write an accurate job description.
Those who have experienced less than satisfactory results imposed what can only be described as 'mission creep' on the assistant they utilized.
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If the job descriptions for your VA reads like:
"Able to take letter with 'anthony" salutation and insert in envelope with 'anthony' address and attach stamp, seal envelope and deliver to post office or mail box within 24 hours." you have a exceptional opportunity for satisfaction.
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But that is not what happens.
We want the VA to modify the letter to include 'area content' and the VA needs to insert the area or community specific graphic into the appropriate message. This actions may require 'proofing' the document for syntax and formatting. We need the VA to anticipate the outcome when the same document is used with blogging and other website and email distributions. We actually want the VA to test before deployment. This is an image of 'mission creep' that progresses until a calamity occurs.
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The best results I have obtained involved hiring an energetic citizen from my SOI community. They do not compete or share or communicate my technology to competitors or publish a newsletter that disseminates the intent.. They appreciate the learning and earning aspect. They are incredibly accommodating and accessible. And, since they are NOT real estate people, they prove essential in stripping the correspondence of 'real estate-ese.' I've actually had CEO's call regarding the exceptional advertising they received from me.
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For those looking for a pool of folks, CL 'gigs offered' is a great place to start. Don't overlook those who you recently moved into a new home.
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ADVISE:
1, Write a thorough job description so YOU know what you are looking for.

2. Know the secondary question to ask, that reveals the primary information you need. If the candidate is unwilling to ask questions to get clarification or direction, they are a ship looking for a rock.
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For instance if the job description includes finding sites and posting videos, your question should be"
"What do you recommend as a good video hosting site?"
One of the following questions should be reflected by a knowledgeable candidate:
"With advertising?"
"Mobile compatible?"

3. Growth
You need to assess the ability of the candidate to expand their role in your enterprise and liberate you to do the big ticket stuff. Starting a candidate from ground zero is laborious. Set the stage early.
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A. Do you have any PPT projects you can share with me? If they do not recognize PPT is Powerpoint, make a note to yourself.
B. Share with me pictures you have taken, edited them and presented them in a portfolio?
C. Where would you turn to learn how to concatenate within a MS Excel workbook?
D. What social media do you use to stay in touchwith your friends? (Facebook, LinkedIn or Wordpress, ect)
E. What is important to you about learning these new skills and technology?
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You are not going to be able to hire someone who knows everything you know, can do it as well as you or can read your thoughts before you think them. Everyone will need instructions whether they are in Jakarta or Plano. Since all real estate is local, one may want to embrace that reality in their business implementation strategies. If unwilling to extract the information you need, the very least to look for is curiosity. Curiosity is the evidence of intelligence. From that fabric, all things are possible.
-
Hire someone or company who is local.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
727.420.4041
http://RealEstateMadeEZ.us
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
Great advise Annette. Thanks so much!!! I think that is where so many people hit a wall - they don't know what they want a VA to do and how to describe the exact activities.
Flag Tue Feb 19, 2013
I'd rather hire agents to do marketing as part of their mentorship experience rather than hire a virtual assistant.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
I'm not a broker, and I only need a little help with the "busy work" that I don't want to do myself.
Flag Tue Feb 19, 2013
What gave you the idea for a "virtual assistant?"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
I've seen various Internet posts referring to them over time but can't recall where. Thought someone here might have used them, mainly for marketing help.
Flag Tue Feb 19, 2013
I will be watching, too!

I was looking into this.....my company vetted and offered several names of virtual assistants........I reached out to 2 to get preliminary information......... but haven't pursued it as yet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2013
I'm not sure whether you posted first on this topic or I did, but we both asked the same thing! I'll be watching your post as well for answers!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2013
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