As a virtual assistant, one of your marketing strategies to get new clients might be searching for them in online groups.
Places like Facebook and LinkedIn make it easy for us to find groups to socialize in.
And this marketing strategy can be very effective—if you know how to work it.
Here’s a secret:
Join groups that include YOUR specific target market! And then make real connections and relationships with those in the group.
Let me explain in more detail.
First, joining virtual assistant groups is a great idea. But not necessarily a place to find clients.
Remember—everyone else in there is looking for clients and building their business as well. Other virtual assistants are NOT your potential clients. (Unless that’s exactly who you’re targeting—that’s a different story—and a different conversation!)
So, should you bother to join virtual assistant groups?
VA groups can be a great resource for you. You can get answers to questions so that you don’t stay stuck. For example, sometimes you just need a quick tech answer, or you’re wondering if other VAs have used a certain kind of software, and if they like it. Groups are great for that.
And don’t forget about the search feature in groups. You can often find a quick answer by typing your keyword(s) in to the search box and find threads that answer your question.
They’re also useful in making sure that you don’t feel so lonely in this industry. Many VAs feel isolated when they no longer have co-workers or any face-to-face contact with others. You might have family and friends who don’t really “get” what it is that you do, and aren’t really supportive. This is where you can come in to a VA group and find other like-minded people to support you.
If you visit a VA group enough, participate and help others out, it’s also a great place to network and make connections with other virtual assistants. You just might end up with a referral partner or two. Connect with VAs who offer different services and you can outsource work to them, start building a team or refer clients to them.
Being active in VA groups is also a way to get some free coaching. The groups are often run by VAs or VA coaches who have been in the industry for quite a while. There are also active veteran VA group members who will jump in, answer questions and offer advice. Think of it as a way to shorten your learning curve and move forward just a little faster in your business.
If you’re thinking of working with a VA coach to advance your business, getting involved in their group is a great way to get a sense of their style and see if you’d be a good fit to work together.
What doesn’t really work in these VA groups?
- Only stopping in when you need more clients, and asking the group if they have anyone to refer to you.
- Creating posts in the groups and/or linking to articles on your blog that explain the importance of hiring a VA. (This is a group that’s already filled with VAs, remember?)
- Posting about your MLM or direct sales opportunity that you do on the side of your VA business.
Now let’s talk about joining groups that include your target market.
If you’re looking for new potential clients online, joining groups where THEY hang out is a smart marketing strategy.
I do understand that this can be a little out of your comfort zone. But you CAN do this!
First, you want to check the group rules/profile and make sure that they also accept people in the group that support their industry. (That would be you.)
Make sure to read all group rules, and follow them. You want to be respectful of the group owner.
Start going through the posts in the group and getting a feel for the conversations and style. You don’t necessarily have to jump in and post something right away.
If the group owner asks new members to make a new post and talk about yourself, take advantage of that. Make sure you let them get to know you as a business owner—but also you on a personal level. People do business with those that they know, like and trust.
Do you see any questions being asked in the group that you can help with? Then go ahead and post your answer. Be helpful!
Do NOT constantly spam the group with posts all about what you do and links to your site. That’s a quick way to get kicked out.
Think about what value you can add to the group. Maybe you can create a post that solves an issue you see mentioned in the group over and over again. Perhaps there is a tool or software you use that saves you tons of time and money that you could share with the group.
All in all, remember that these are real people and your goal is to develop real relationships. Be genuine, not spammy. Realize that it takes time and consistency to build these relationships.
You don’t meet someone on the street and immediately ask them to marry you, right? It’s the same thing here. You need to give this marketing strategy time, and establish relationships. If done right, it can be very effective for connecting with new clients.
–1. If you want to learn more about relationship marketing and how it works, click here.
–2. To learn more about how to effectively connect with people online and in different groups, click here.
–3. I also invite you to join my own FB group, filled with really awesome VAs that help and support one another, the Virtual Assistant Empowerment Facebook group.