news from the intersection of branding & technology

Virtual Assistant – the latest “must have”

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 10:53 pm
Facebook headquarters in downtown Palo Alto, C...
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by Robert Liljenwall

Don’t have one?  Be the first on your block to have your very own virtual assistant.

Yes, this is the rage now, and it’s only going to get worse or better, depending on your point of view.  VAs, as they’re called, are individuals — far or near — who manage your social media.  And in essence, are managing your brand communications.

I just hired my first VA and am placing VAs with clients who, at first said “you’re kidding, right?”  And for those of you out there who think social media is a fad and ‘you’re not going to play the game”, think again.  Social media is spreading like a blaze through a Southern California canyon with a Santa Ana wind behind it….pushing it through everything and everyone in its path.

Do I really need it?  And what the hell are you talking about?  Social media is a revolution going on right now.  For example, social media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web. One in 8 couples married in US last year met via social media. Facebook has added 100 million users in the last 9 months. iPod/iPhone applications downloads hit 1 billion in 9 months and are projected to be a $70 billion business in 2012. 80% of companies are using LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees.  The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females. 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with over 100 million videos.  Wikipedia has over 13 million articles. And there are over 200 million blogs.

On the brand side, 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brand are links to user-generated content.  34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands. 78% of consumers trust recommendations from other users, while only 14% trust advertisements

Had enough?  You get the point — social media is exploding and not everyone is happy about it.  In a recent poll of marketing executives, social media was detested by 78%.  Why?  Takes too much time to manage.  Enter:  Virtual Assistant.  The VA is now someone who is social media savvy….who knows your business (you train ‘em)….who updates your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Web site media on a daily basis.  They manage your blog and your Twitter account.  They make sure you are alerted for any out-of-the-ordinary tweet or blog or Facebook post.  They work by the hour or on staff.  They work in your office or at home.  They are social media fanatics!

Most of us do not have the time to manage the demands of social media, hence the VA is born.  I fought getting on Facebook…fought Twitter…and am still tentative about how much to reveal anywhere.  And I know I’m not alone.  But social media is just too prevalent.  When my client tells me she HAS to get her social media world in order, quick, I jump.  And lastly I will add this:  Social media is where brands and technology intersect … and it is, indeed, a revolution!

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