Experienced Virtual Assistants on Twitter?
I use Twitter. I use it to communicate with others, get my questions answered and learn new things for my business and for me personally. These things are all great. But there is one more way that I use it, that gave me the basis for today’s post. I monitor it for feedback on virtual assistants, my business in particular, but also virtual assistants as a whole. This weekend I received my e-mail from TweetBeep giving me the low down on what was being said about virtual assistant’s on Twitter. Most of it tends to be VA’s offering services or sending ideas of how their services can be used. Occasionally someone tweets that they need a VA and they are then overwhelmed with messages from virtual assistant’s offering their help. But there was one tweet that stood out from the rest in this particular digest of tweets. The author said, in effect, that there were tons of virtual assistants on Twitter but none of them had experience.
I don’t know the story behind that tweet, heck, I haven’t even used his exact wording, but I can imagine what might have happened. He used Twitter to publicize his need for a VA and was greeted with plenty of responses, but when he went to the corresponding websites, he somehow came to the conclusion that they lacked experience. Is it true? Are all of these virtual assistants hovering, waiting for the next “I need a virtual assistant” tweet, inexperienced VA’s?
I happen to know that there are plenty of experienced virtual assistants on Twitter, myself included. So why did this person come away with this perception? I’m not sure, but I can throw out a couple of thoughts on the matter.
My first thought is that perhaps the individuals he is checking out are ‘new’ to virtual assistance, but have plenty of professional office experience. Perhaps they aren’t including or referring to that professional experience on their websites?
My second thought is that the more experienced virtual assistants probably aren’t as apt to jump all over a ‘tweeted’ request for a VA. Why? I can only speak for myself, but there are several reasons I don’t generally tweet back an “I’m a virtual assistant, how can I help you?” Many times I don’t see the tweet until a service like Google Alerts or TweetBeep sends it to me in digest format. I figure by the time I see it, the writer has already received a ton of responses. If it relates specifically to something I specialize in, I might contact them asking if they’ve found what they are looking for. Sometimes I simply follow that person, who can resist checking out a new follower? And some days I’m just too busy to keep track of Twitter. So perhaps many of the experienced VA’s are like me, and miss the tweets for virtual assistant help completely.
My final thought? I’m sure the tweeter was right in some respects, I’m sure there are some virtual assistants on twitter that lacked the experience he was looking for. The recent attention virtual assistance has gotten in the media has caused a flurry of bandwagon jumpers looking for an easy, work from home opportunity. Sadly, many people that lack any true professional administrative experience are hanging a shingle and calling themselves a virtual assistant.
So what’s a savvy TwitterFolk to do in order to find a quality VA via Twitter? Perhaps ask others if they use a VA and ask for a referral? Or do a twitter search for the item you need a VA to do for you and see if one has tweeted about doing that item. Look at what particular virtual assistants have posted recently. Are there links to blog posts they’ve written? Links and retweets of other Twitter users? Perhaps if you look a little closer you’ll see these might possibly be that VA’s clients? But most of all I believe you should look for professionalism. That’s not to say a truly experienced VA won’t be tweeting lighthearted stuff, but I believe you’ll recognize the professionalism when examining their twitter stream.
So in answer to the mystery tweeter who said none of the virtual assistants on Twitter had experience; there are plenty of highly capable, experienced professional VA’s using Twitter. But like anything else of value, sometimes you have to look a little harder for it.