- Jessica Hawks started her virtual-assistant business in 2020 and used social media to market herself.
- Her business has organically grown to 133,000 followers on Instagram and 842,000 on TikTok.
- Hawks shared five tips for marketing a small business and landing clients on social media.
When Jessica Hawks launched her virtual-assistant business in March 2020, she relied solely on social media to grow her brand. Today she has 133,000 followers on Instagram and 842,000 on TikTok. Just five months after launching her social platforms, Hawks was earning $9,000 a month in sales, according to documents verified by Insider.
When COVID-19 lockdowns forced many business owners to pivot to digital operations, Hawks leveraged herself as a solution: She could help them navigate the change, grow their companies, and find clients using social media.
Hawks shared five strategies for building a social-media presence to boost your brand and net customers, from creating your profile to building meaningful connections.
1. Write a bio that explains your business
Entrepreneurs should create clear business social-media profiles geared toward marketing the company and attracting clients, Hawks said.
Virtual assistants should use their bio to introduce themselves and define their ideal client, she added.
When Hawks was a full-time virtual assistant, her Instagram bio read: “I provide support and strategy to wedding creatives who are looking to scale their business and free up their time.” Hawks said that crafting a simple but effective biography was crucial in identifying her ideal clients and explaining her purpose as a virtual assistant.
2. Create content that explains your business’ why and how
Once Hawks set up her Instagram account, she posted a photo with a caption expanding on her bio. Photos, videos, or other content should be used to explain the why and the how of the business, Hawks said.
Hawks shared tips on how to run a successful business, like best practices for social media and the importance of Pinterest. She also explained why she was the best person for the job.
Each post should give prospective clients insight into the service you provide and why it’s necessary for them to hire you.
3. Leverage market research to understand industry problems
Market research can be invaluable to business owners by highlighting information like common rates, competitors, and industry experts.
Hawks said the most important research she conducted was on the specific struggles of business owners she wanted to work with. She based her content strategy on these findings, including solutions to the problems her ideal clients were facing and insights into conversations they were having.
“Find common threads or pain points so that you can then give them the solution,” she said.
4. Find clients you connect with
With a love of photography, cosmetology, and art, Hawks found wedding creatives to be her ideal clients. So she marketed herself as a wedding virtual assistant and reached out to business owners and prospective clients in that space.
“A big component is going out and finding people who you would like to work with,” Hawks said. She suggested using the search tools on Instagram and other social platforms to find prospective clients.
For example, Hawks said she found one of her first clients, a wedding planner, by sending a complementary message via Instagram. When the wedding planner replied, she noted that she’d been looking for a virtual assistant and asked Hawks to take on the role.
Because Hawks already had her role in her bio and had shared posts explaining her business, she didn’t have to pitch herself to the wedding planner. Instead, they built a genuine connection, Hawks said.
5. Promote your soft and hard skills and your personality
While some business owners are looking for hard skills in partners, “the majority of us are looking for people who are resourceful, proactive, are willing to put the work in, and who are committed and loyal,” Hawks said.
“My way of appealing to clients was my work ethic,” Hawks said, adding that these traits can come through in conversations with prospective clients and in social posts. Make sure your profile shows off your personality traits along with your résumé.
Hawks said that while it can be daunting to post your personality online, showing up, being relatable, and highlighting your personality is what will lead to genuine relationships and business success.