It is not unusual to have some concerns if you have never worked with a VA before, but there is no need to worry. When you outsource, you can enlist the help of someone who can free up your time, fill your skill gaps and generally make your life easier. We have compiled a list of six common fears before you outsource to a virtual assistant, along with the reasons why you do not need to worry.
Maybe you have experienced one or more of these fears when considering things to outsource to a virtual assistant. If so, we hope you will change your mind by the end of this article and start a beneficial relationship with a VA soon. Honestly, there are so many reasons to outsource, you will never look back!
Can They Perform the Tasks as Well As I Can?
Professional VAs are trained in a range of skills that are beneficial to your company. They bring a wealth of experience from their previous work to your tasks and carry them out to a high standard. If you are concerned about them not performing duties in the way you would like, mention this at the initial meeting with your VA. They will take the time to understand the way you do business.
Discuss which tasks they will take on and any business-specific ways of working you would like them to adhere to. One of a VA’s skills is to adapt to each client and carry out their tasks as if they were a permanent member of staff, tied to that brand.
If you are on the same page when it comes to which tasks to outsource to a virtual assistant and how you want them completed, the VA will ensure they meet and often surpass your expectations.
The chances are that you will not be an expert at every aspect of running a business so, if you don’t want to trust anyone else with a certain duty, keep hold of that for yourself and charge your VA with performing the roles that don’t fit your skillset as neatly. After all, it is all about teamwork and playing to your strengths.
How Can A VA Be an Expert At So Many Different Tasks?
When you see the sheer number of potential tasks to outsource to a virtual assistant listed on their website, you might be concerned and wonder if they are a “jack of all trades, master of none”. But a good VA surrounds themselves with experts in a range of fields that they can call on when needed.
They may have a content expert, a social media whizz or a graphic designer, amongst many others, available to carry out their relevant jobs to provide you with the most rounded and full service possible. When you outsource to a virtual assistant, they bring access to all manner of skills that you might not currently have at your disposal. That has to be great for your business, right?
Will it Be Expensive?
Right, we do need to talk about money. Indeed, a VA will probably ask for a higher hourly rate than you would pay an employee. BUT…there are many ways in which outsourcing to a VA pays you back.
Firstly, it frees up your time to invest back into the business. You are the driving force and the more you can concentrate on building your company, the more profit you can make. Secondly, you don’t have any of the associated costs of employing someone.
A VA works remotely so pays for their computer, internet connection, heating, light, electricity, tea and coffee. You don’t have to invest in larger premises, provide benefits, sort out tax, pensions and NI, advertise and interview for their role or pay them sick or holiday pay. All in all, you save money, time and hassle in the long run by hiring a VA.
To give you an idea of the expenses that you save, the Association of Professional Virtual Assistants (APVA) found in a recent survey that “a VA working 30 hours per week and charging £25 per hour was potentially only ‘taking home’ £18.03 of that hourly rate, as the rest needed to be set aside to cover essential ‘business necessities’”.
Will They Take a Lot of Training and Supervision?
Of course, you will need to spend some time onboarding your VA, but a good virtual assistant can hit the ground running and almost instantly make your life easier. This is a key attribute of a VA, once they know how you like to work, they can blend seamlessly into the business and complete their tasks without fuss.
If you find you have to supervise them more than you had hoped, the chances are that they are not the VA for you. Check reviews and testimonials before you hire a VA to make sure you are working with one of the vast majority of efficient and professional assistants. Also, make sure that they belong to a trade body, such as the APVA. We are proud to be an approved member.
Will I Have to Give Out Confidential Information?
When you have tasks to outsource to a virtual assistant, occasionally they will include private and confidential information, such as your passwords and sensitive data. Whilst this can be a worry initially, ensuring you have a confidentiality clause in the contract is key to easing these fears. No legitimate VA will breach your privacy and betray your trust, but having that legal backing adds an extra layer of confidence for you.
There are programs available to allow you to provide access to sites and accounts, without revealing the actual passwords. We use LastPass with our clients, which works perfectly. The business support site KoffeeKlatch endorses these kinds of programs, referring to them as “a robust and resilient system that you can control.”
How Do I Know They’re Working Efficiently?
Letting a virtual assistant get on with your tasks remotely may seem like a leap of faith, but it needn’t be. You can keep tabs on their work progress using all manner of productivity tools. Programs like Monday, Asana and Basecamp are all designed to keep you up to date on where your projects are and you can use them to set deadlines and check that the VA is sticking to them.
Many virtual assistants also use a timer app to show how long they took to perform their tasks. You might pick a program such as Toggl or Clockify to designate projects and apportion time to them for your VA.
Ready to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant?
If you are ready to outsource to a virtual assistant then contact us for a free consultation. We can tell you more about the wonders of working with a VA and how we can save you time, stress and money. Let’s chat today.
The social media landscape is such an important one for brands, but it is always changing. You can drive engagement and leads through every single platform, from Facebook to TikTok, however, you do need to keep up to date with the various algorithm changes to take full advantage. These social media trends of 2020 will help you plan and execute your social strategy as effectively as possible and keep you visible in your fans’ feeds.
Video Remains Strong
Video has been the king of content in recent years and that will continue as part of the social media trends of 2020 and beyond.
Although it is tempting to just see YouTube as a hosting site, it is also a social network in its own right and it is the second most popular in the world right now. Only Facebook has more active users, so dismiss it at your peril.
Instagram’s IGTV is becoming even stronger after a shaky start, with last year’s introduction of landscape videos offering more opportunity for content creators to play around with the app. Insta also released its brand new video vehicle recently – Reels.
Reels is one of the top social media trends of 2020, allowing users to create short, fun videos with effects, filters and music clips, before sharing them on their Instagram profiles and in the ‘Discover’ section of the app. It is seen as a rival to TikTok, which is another recent social media video sensation. Reels works very similarly to TikTok, but has the bonus of being attached to the much more ‘grown-up’ Instagram, which may appeal to marketers and businesses that feel TikTok is a tad too young for their target demographic.
Brands Focus on the Metrics That Matter
There is a chance that we may soon see the death of the ‘like’. Once the key metric for proving social media marketing success, the trend now is to value interactions and engagement more. Facebook and Instagram have even attempted trials where they eradicate likes from posts completely!
The big networks are adjusting their various algorithms to take into account more substance in social use. They value conversations more than short-term spikes in likes, making engaging content all the more important.
It’s All About Conversations
Brands are now looking into how they can embed themselves in conversations happening online. This is called ‘social listening’ – working out the tone and nature of the conversations happening between potential customers and then introducing brands into them.
It takes a lot more effort than simply copying another person’s meme and posting it, but it does create a stronger bond with the people you want to buy your products or use your services.
This means targeting users ever more precisely. Talking about passions and interests that mean a lot to the people you want to appeal to. Yes, you want as many followers as possible, but the real value comes in gaining the right sort of followers. The ones that will spend their money with you.
Focus on the Stories
Another of the big social media trends of 2020 and beyond that shows no sign of stopping is Stories. Instagram borrowed their Stories concept from Snapchat and has gone on to own the space. However, Facebook Stories are currently challenging Insta for the crown in terms of daily posts.
These temporary 24-hour posts can bring in plenty of interaction in their short lives. Use the polls or questions widgets to engage your audience and keep your brand at the top of their mind.
Influencers Continue to Influence
Influencers are still providing some of the big social media content trends of 2020, but brands want more from them than just exposure. As with the downturn in the importance of likes, it is no longer about spreading your message to as many accounts as you can. Focus is the key, and this is behind the rise of the micro-influencer or nano-influencers.
These are not celebrities with millions of followers. They are users who specialise in certain focused topics and have a dedicated audience (which could be just a couple of thousand strong) who are incredibly interested in this content. Find the micro-influencer closest to your sector and they could refer a lot of interested parties to your brand.
Help Making the Most of Social Media Trends of 2020
If you want help making the most of social media trends of 2020, talk to Supportal about looking after your accounts. We can advise on the best content to post on social media, creating stunning images and engaging copy, as well as leading all aspects of your social media strategy.
We stay on top of the social media content trends of 2020 and further into the future to help you promote your business online.
There are a large number of useful content creation tools available online that can really help your business. Whether you are looking for social media content creation tools, apps to make your blog run more effectively, programs to create marketing videos or anything else you can use to build your brand online, someone has already created it. However, it is difficult to tell which are the best content creation tools. This is why we have put together our list of ten tools that you can start using today and which we know through experience will help you in your marketing efforts. Creating effective online content is an essential weapon in your armoury when it comes to getting ahead of your rivals. So we have put together a list of ten content creation tools that will save you time, save you effort and bring in results.
If you are looking for free content creation tools, the standard version of Canva is a powerful option. You can create beautiful images for social media and your website with the minimum of fuss. Not to mention offline branding, flyers, documents and more. Canva provides great-looking templates and an easy-to-use interface that means you can turn a photograph into a stunning social post within minutes, if not seconds. However, the Pro version costs less than £10 per month and takes things to another level. You can integrate video into your posts, both your own and from a large selection of stock clips. There are also more than 60 million stock images to use, you can instantly resize your images to optimise them for different networks, and there is the option to create your own brand kit so that everything you create fits together perfectly.
2. Yoast SEO
If you run your website on WordPress, then the Yoast SEO plugin is an essential content creation tool. It takes your blogs from being merely a collection of words to a mighty SEO powerhouse. Yoast tells you where you can improve your sentence structure, grammar and language use, as well as giving suggestions on how to implement keywords so that Google takes notice of your content. As free content creation tools go, Yoast is exceptional, and the paid version allows you to delve into even more SEO detail. If you want to give your content the best chance to shine, add Yoast SEO to your website today.
Find out more here.
3. YouTube Audio Music Library
Everyone knows YouTube is the place to watch and upload videos, but it also hosts one of the best content creation tools. The YouTube Audio Music Library is perfect for soundtracking your videos. It contains hundreds of royalty-free tracks for you to use on your videos without worrying about copyright. There are tracks from all manner of different genres in a host of different moods to ensure you will find something to match your clip. Some tracks require attribution, but you can use most as you like.
One of the most powerful pieces of content is your email marketing. Undoubtedly the biggest name in this field is Mailchimp and for good reason. You can store your mailing list on this secure site and create great looking mailouts that convert from the available templates. There are also a large number of other features to analyse how effective your campaigns are, and to increase your conversion rate. With the tiered pricing structure come more features, but as a free content creation tool, Mailchimp is well worth integrating into your strategy.
Feedly is one of the best content creation tools for finding both content from others to share on your socials, and blogs and articles that you can rework and improve. Both are effective marketing tools for businesses, and that is what makes Feedly such a powerful tool. The app filters through your social feeds and areas of interest to provide you with a list of articles that are relevant to you and your business. It cuts out the noise and allows you to focus on information that helps you build your presence.
Find out more here.
One of the biggest content creation challenges for small businesses is being able to concentrate on the task at hand. When you are writing a blog, you can easily be distracted by emails, messages and social media. StayFocused can block all websites except those that you specifically flag up as necessary for your task. This leaves you to get on with writing that blog.
Find out more here.
Video is the future of content, and Reels is the latest in a series of video content creation tools from Instagram. Following its IGTV innovation, Reels allows you to make 15 second clips featuring effects and filters that you can share to your main Insta profile. It is Instagram’s version of TikTok and contains handy features like Align, which allows you to line up the last shot of the previous clip with the first shot of the next clip for smooth transitions. Reels is a lot of fun for playing about with, but is also one of the best social media content creation tools for business too.
There are many social media scheduling tools, but Buffer is up there with the best. You can collect all your major profiles in one place and customise posts for each channel before scheduling them all together. This digital content creation tool also comes with a browser extension that allows you to easily add an interesting post to your queue as you are reading it.
Find out more here.
There are a few tools for creating infographics, but Easel.ly is up with the best. It takes information from Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents and turns them into beautiful and engaging infographics that are much more appealing to the viewer. You can begin using Easel.ly for free, but the upgraded options are very good value as well if you want even more features. This allows you to really turbocharge your content to build your brand.
Find out more here.
Not only do you need to create content on a regular basis, but you also need to make sure it makes sense. If your grammar and spelling aren’t up to scratch, you might find users bouncing back off your site, which can affect your reputation with Google. Ginger is a great grammar tool to make sure what you write makes complete sense and provides the most significant impact it can.
More Digital Content Creation Tools
Find more digital content creation tools, as well as important business apps in our Must Have Digital Tools section, and don’t forget to contact us today if you want any help making your content stand out ahead of your rivals.
Lockdown has allowed us all to take stock of our lives. Businesses have had to adapt to remote working or to new ways of running their premises. For entrepreneurs, there has been more time at home, less time commuting and more opportunities to take an overview of the way we run our businesses. If you want to improve your work/life balance, cut down stress, slash office costs, be able to bring in expertise beyond your own capabilities and to only ever pay for what you use, outsourcing to a virtual assistant service will change your life.
Business experts and major companies are already taking advantage of outsourcing as a way to run a more efficient and productive business, but small businesses and start-ups can also receive the many benefits too. Let me explain exactly how bringing in a VA can help transform the way you work and live.
Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant Service for Better Work/Life Balance
A third of Brits claimed that lockdown brought them a better work/life balance. In such a terrible time of heartache and tragedy, there were very few positives to dwell on, but this is surely one of them. The survey by VoucherCodes found that respondents had an average of 11 hours a week more spare time than before the pandemic hit.
This allowed them to be more present with their families, take more time to exercise and, importantly, spend more time relaxing and considering what is best for themselves. A significant number of those surveyed were positive about embracing the slower pace of life and that is very telling. We all work too hard in normal times, but there is an alternative. Running a business is time-consuming, but once we are completely free of lockdown, it doesn’t mean we have to go back to the old way of working.
A virtual assistant takes those additional tasks away from you that used to keep you at the office and away from the family for those couple of extra hours every day. While you concentrate on the tasks that only you can complete, your VA takes on the filing, social media, diary management, travel organisation and everything else that eats into your day. This means you can get home, see your loved ones and enjoy the break from work!
Cut Down Stress With a Virtual Assistant
A direct result of a poor work/life balance is stress. If you don’t take time to be kinder to yourself, if you try to complete all the tasks at hand on your own, you could burn out.
Being a business owner is stressful. Even hugely successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are not immune. The Tesla and Space X supremo admitted in 2018 that he had suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of dedicating every waking hour to work at the expense of his physical and mental health. This followed some other ‘near misses’ in previous years.
Yes, Musk is incredibly good at what he does, but what is the point of success when the cost is so great? If you feel overcome with the amount of work on your plate, hiring a virtual assistant service will help lighten the load.
Cut Down on Office Space Costs
One of the unexpected bonuses for businesses from lockdown is the potential to downsize offices due to remote working. Companies like Fujitsu and Slack have both recently declared lockdown working from home such a success that they will allow it to continue permanently in the future. Not only does this help with the work/life balance of staff, but it means these ever-growing firms are less likely to have to finance moves to larger premises any time soon.
This principle stands for virtual assistants too. If you want to expand your business but do not want to tie up your cash in a bigger office, then a VA is right for you. They don’t require you to supply a desk, computer, hot drink making facilities or any of the other costs of a full-time employee – all you pay for is the job at hand. When margins are tight, this could be the fine line between success and failure.
Utilise Other Skill Sets
Forbes Business Council has warned companies that to make it through the uncertainty of the post-Covid working world, they will need to run “lean organisations”. Essentially, what they mean is that you need to concentrate on your core business in-house and outsource for additional skills, rather than attempting to cover all bases on your permanent payroll.
John Lewis and Partners is attempting to do just that, restructuring its IT department by outsourcing it to a specialist firm. Not only do you save cash by only paying for what you use from the external party, but you make sure you have access to top-notch expertise.
When you outsource to a VA, you don’t have to spend time training them up and watching over them. They come to you already fully skilled and able to save you time, money and hassle. This is just another way that outsourcing to a virtual assistant service will change your life.
If you need help with Instagram marketing, web design, branding and content creation, talk to us about taking it off your hands, freeing you up and relieving the stress from the situation for you.
Instagram is all about the visuals. It’s a place to scroll through where you can gaze longingly at beautiful sunsets, drool over exquisite looking food and coo over a huge selection of pampered fur babies. Everything your business posts needs to look on point and an Instagram themes take that to the next level. Stick with us on this blog, and we’ll give you the lowdown on Instagram themes – what they are, why you need one, and how to put some of the most popular Instagram theme ideas into action.
What is an Instagram Theme?
An Instagram theme is a consistent look that runs throughout your business IG account. Something that connects all of the posts on your grid, and can sometimes also help people recognise your photos as soon as they pop up in their feeds – a pretty sweet piece of brand marketing, right?
You might filter some or all of your Instagram posts with the same base colours; you might only photograph items of certain shades, or only use pictures shot in specific styles. The possibilities with new Instagram theme ideas are endless!
Why Do I Need an Instagram Theme?
You don’t NEED an Instagram theme, but it is highly advisable. You don’t NEED shoes, but it makes walking outside much more manageable and easier. When people check your Insta out, you want to impress them at first glance. If they land on your profile and see a hotchpotch of different colours and styles, they might not understand what you are all about and could leave without following.
With the perfect Instagram theme, they will see a coherent brand with a strong message. That is a real reason to follow.
There are hundreds of Instagram theme ideas out there, so we’ve picked out ten of the best that you can start working on today. Onto the Instagram theme tips!
Single Colour Theme
With a single colour theme concept, you build a really strong look for your grid. One of the most popular looks is the white Instagram theme, whereby you use large amounts of white as the main focus of all of your photos. Once you build up a full wall of predominantly white images, it makes a stunning visual impact. Classic examples of backgrounds for pictures in a white Instagram theme include white walls, duvet covers and even the winter sky!
A less stark single colour theme is the pink Instagram theme. It’s a bit more fun and playful and opens up more possibilities when you are out and about taking pictures for your business Insta.
Double Colour Theme
You won’t be surprised to hear that a double colour theme contains images featuring the same TWO colours throughout. That bit isn’t exactly rocket science, is it? The most common double colour theme is the black and white Instagram theme. It’s mean and moody, sleek and beautiful, and it’s also quite flattering when you take a selfie. Don’t underestimate that as a positive.
However, the black and white Instagram theme is not the only double colour theme around. Pink and blue work together well, as do red and white. Of course, you have your own business branding colours too, so this is a good opportunity to bring them into the mix for added recognition for your company.
Another of the Instagram theme ideas aimed at people who value simplicity is the minimalist theme. This is all about single subjects, surrounded by plenty of light, bright space. A single post looks impressive, but a whole grid full of these types of images can really set your Instagram apart from the rest of the crowd.
Your new Instagram theme could play with the conventions of the app a little. This is especially good if you like being a rebel. Border themes make your grid look very different from your competitors. Whereas the standard look shows all your images separated by a thin white line, when you add a white border to the inside of your photos, you create more distance between the shots and give your grid a complete overhaul.
You could opt for a border theme where all of the borders are the same thickness, or you might choose to alternate between a thick border and a thin border to add some variety to your profile. You could even border some, so they remain in the traditional Instagram square format and others, so they look as though they are in portrait or landscape. It’s entirely up to you.
Now, the puzzle theme isn’t for the faint-hearted. It takes a lot of effort and pre-planning, but it looks off the hook when you get it right.
Essentially, the images in your grid work together to create one large image when posted in the correct order. You could try this with three, six, nine or twelve images, depending on how confident you are feeling. With this Instagram theme, you want to make sure that each of the individual pictures that act as the puzzle pieces works as a standalone post too, meaning that you can entice potential new followers to visit your profile and then blow them away with your new Instagram theme.
Rainbow Instagram Theme
To create the rainbow Instagram theme, you also need to put in some graft, but once again, the results are well worth it. The idea is to curate a feed that runs through the rainbow as you scroll down.
You need to plan your posts ahead of time and make sure that you have at least three photographs in a row for each colour of the rainbow. The colour should be the main focus of the action, making it stand out as much as possible, You must then post these in the same order as the rainbow too for it to work smoothly (Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain…right?).
As we said, a bit of hard work, but so good when it comes off.
Diagonal Row Layout Instagram Theme
To achieve the diagonal row layout Instagram theme, you need four different types of image which will appear to run from left to right, diagonally down your grid.
Pick your four different types of image (quote, selfie, food shot, landscape – for example) and then follow a very simple posting schedule of ensuring the same type comes up every four posts. The result is a beautiful aesthetic that shows off the variety of your feed in style.
If you don’t want as many as four different types of post, then the checkerboard requires just two different styles. These Instagram theme ideas work in a similar way though. The effect looks like a checkerboard or chessboard, alternating between both post types. One way to bring the checkerboard theme to life is to make sure you switch between light and dark images, with the contrast really making it stand out.
Quotes Layout Theme
The quotes layout is the perfect Instagram theme for those who want an inspirational feed. You can use one or more of the other Instagram themes on this page to help present your quotes in the style that suits you best too.
A full grid of quotes is powerful, but a checkerboard effect that alternates between quotes and strong images can also impress your potential followers. You can lay quotes over coloured images or blocks to create the rainbow Instagram theme too if you like. The possibilities are endless!
For help with your Instagram theme ideas, sign up for our resources portal to download our theme guide.