If you’re considering hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to help with miscellaneous administrative or marketing tasks, you’ll want to provide them with clear instructions.
You must set standards for communication and delegate synchronous and asynchronous tasks effectively and efficiently.
In this blog, we’ll provide five failproof tips to guide you in helping your new VA to hit the ground running with your marketing team.
How to integrate your virtual assistant into your marketing workflow
Here’s a five-step guide to help you smoothly onboard your virtual assistant with your marketing team:
1. Create a solid onboarding process
When you bring your virtual assistant onto the team, you should have everything set up and ready for them — just as you would for a full-time employee.
Remember to budget to pay the VA for their time as they get established, meet your team, and learn your protocols. It’s easiest to put everything they need to onboard in one or two emails when possible.
The first step to the onboarding process should involve the legal and financial to-dos. This should include:
- W-9 form (or your country’s equivalent if you’re not in the US)
- Direct deposit form or other financial payment form (or asking for the VA’s PayPal address if distributing funds that way)
- Contract geared towards contractors, including pay rate and expected hours to work
- Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)
- Non-compete agreements (to prevent the VA from working for another company in the same industry, if required)
The second set of paperwork should include information about getting oriented with their role. This can include:
- Slack or other team messaging software invitations
- Email login information (should you wish the VA to use a dedicated inbox)
- Password sharing, set up, or login information to any sites the VA will need to receive assignments and complete their work
- Google Docs or document-sharing capabilities and logins
- Call software or call forwarding service logins and instructions
If you’ve hired your VA through an agency, they may have paperwork available for you to sign.
In that instance, the VA is a contractor of their agency, so they can simplify the process for you and likely replace the VA should the one you’ve selected not work out.
2. Establish clear responsibilities and boundaries
When working with a virtual assistant, it’s vital to be clear about where their responsibilities begin and end.
- Are they expected to be part of the daily workflow of your full-time staff?
- Do they need to be available during certain hours, or is asynchronous work the primary expectation?
If your VA is working in another time zone, especially, they need to have guidelines.
Similarly, so you stay legal in your work practices, avoiding activities that could land you in trouble with the law is essential.
In the United States, you’ll have to be aware of federal and state laws, which can limit how frequently you work with a contractor.
For example, giving your contractor 40 hours per week is more of a full-time role. You could have negative consequences for treating a contractor like a full-time employee (FTE) without the benefits.
Remember that email correspondence, timekeeping, and so forth are job responsibilities you expect of your VA, whether you pay them by task or by the hour.
3. Build in check-in time for support
Your virtual assistant may be working on an unconventional or asynchronous schedule compared to the rest of your team. It makes sense to schedule regular check-ins to ensure they’re using their time efficiently.
During this check-in, you can also assign or explain new tasks. It’s best to handle this over a video call, though some VA jobs require simpler tasks requiring a less intensive check-in.
During this time, you can also receive feedback from your VA.
You should have included your VA in your marketing team’s workflow by your first check-in. Add your VA to your project management software (e.g., Airtable, Asana, or Trello), allowing for any time zone differences.
Make sure you ask your VA how they feel about the number of hours they have, the clarity of assignments, and more.
4. Train and assign your VA on repetitive tasks
Repetitive, monotonous tasks that cannot be automated are ideal for a virtual assistant.
Make a list of tasks that your marketing team does, and discuss with your team which could best be outsourced to the VA. Common repetitive tasks for VAs include assignments such as:
- Formatting and scheduling blog posts in a content management system (CMS)
- Scheduling social media posts in social media planning software
- Responding to customer service emails with form responses, then flagging hard-to-answer emails for other team members
- Transcription and transcription editing tasks
- A list of outbound calls (sales, outreach, appointment-setting)
Figure out what takes the most time for your team and what makes the most sense to offload.
VAs typically handle tasks that don’t require specialized expertise but do need to be handled promptly.
If your VA is located in a different time zone than you, consider the advantages of this — they could respond to easy customer service emails while the rest of your team is asleep!
5. Evaluate with the team and exercise agility with your VA
As your virtual assistant helps you grow your business, their role may become more agile, as may your entire marketing team. You’ll have new and changing tasks for your VA, and their role may increase in responsibility.
For example, where they used to simply schedule approved social media posts, perhaps they will take on the task of drafting the posts.
If a full-time marketing team member is on vacation or leave, you might consider having the VA step in to take on some of their tasks.
Additionally, it’s crucial to be open to how the rest of your team feels about working with a VA and the types of tasks you assign, as this will likely change over time.
Make this a point of team check-ins, whether your VA is present in those meetings or not.
Elevate your marketing with your virtual assistant
Bottom line: your virtual assistant is a part of your marketing team, there to empower you.
VAs function best with repetitive assignments in their areas of expertise, overflow assignments, and as a functional part of the team by having assignments sent directly to them.
Most VAs operate with minimal oversight but have specific, well-defined tasks. Provide clear tasks, establish check-ins, and don’t be afraid to switch up what types of assignments you’re giving to help your business grow.