Small businesses have the advantage when it comes to social media

Whenever I start talking about social media marketing at networking events there’s always a couple of people that roll their eyes. There’s lots of different reasons for their knee-jerk reaction, and I certainly don’t judge any of them for it.  For many, unfortunately, they’ve had bad experiences of people who have tried to sell them the idea of marketing to the masses – and they’ve been burnt by costly, yet fruitless forays in to digital advertising.

Of course, it’s not that sort of thing I’m talking about. But that’s the point with knee-jerk reactions; they’re not always on target.

However, I digress.

One of the biggest barriers I come against when it comes to talking about SMM with potential clients is their own perceptions.  Many argue that they’re too small to really make any impact with Facebook or Twitter, and therefore don’t see the value of “throwing money” at it.

I agree, simply throwing money at anything and hoping for the best seems like a bit too much of a gamble – and that’s coming from a girl with a thing for the horses.

No matter how big, or small your business, you have to have a plan. That means you need to know what it is you’re trying to achieve, how much money you have to achieve it, and over what time period you’re going to work on it. It’s more complicated than that of course, but that’s the nuts and bolts.

Most of that will be determined by you and any consultant you decide to get in to help; however, there is one thing that applies to every small business.  You can make a huge impact regardless of your size. In fact, I’d go so far as to argue that small businesses might have the advantage when it comes to social marketing.

Think about your small business and any larger scale competitors you may have.  Don’t focus on the things you don’t have such as numerous staff, a large IT department or a huge media budget. Instead, think about what you can do that they can’t.

You can reach out to your local community and be more focussed on the individuals within that community.  You can build genuine relationships.  As a small business you’re more likely to remember Jean from the last time she commented, and you’re definitely in a better position to reply to her when she does reach out to you.  Faceless large corporation couldn’t give a monkey’s about Jean, she’s just order #45789.

Equally, just because you don’t have loads to throw at social media doesn’t mean you can’t get a reaction out of your audience. People love to talk and share, so why not ask them to post pictures of them using your product. Get them to add reviews, or ask questions that they need your answers to. Ask them for their feedback and suggestions, and then act upon them so they know they’ve been listened to.

Being small is a huge advantage when it comes to being genuine.


How a Virtual Assistant can turn you in to a social media butterly

If you’ve been following our blog for any amount of time, or if you ever see our other posts, you might have noticed that we think social media is an essential part of the marketing mix for any business.  Even more so for smaller businesses as it offers a fantastic cost-effective way of getting word out about the services/products you provide.

As a result, we’re always banging on about how vital it is you get involved with social media marketing.

The problem is though that social media can actually work against you if you don’t offer consistency.  Posting as and when you remember to, or when you can finally find the time at the end of a busy week is not good enough.

You need to think about what you want to achieve, decide how you’re going to do it, make a plan, and then stick to it.  All of which takes a lot of time, which you might not have if you’re busy doing everything else your business needs.

Hiring a virtual assistant with social media management experience is a great way to outsource these time consuming tasks, and take your social networking and marketing to the next level.

Here at Time Saving Heroes we can:

  1. Create social media accounts, profiles and company pages
  2. Create groups on LinkedIn and fan pages on Facebook etc
  3. Manage and generate followers on Twitter
  4. Manage activity on Pinterest (creating, identifying and pinning images)
  5. Scheduling and posting Tweets, tracking hashtags and mentions
  6. Uploading videos to YouTube
  7. Moderating and responding to comments on social media sites
  8. Answering messages and queries via social media channels
  9. Create lists on YouTube and Twitter to better manage your accounts
  10. Share important updates, news and content


One of the biggest problems with social media is how distracting it can be.  You log on to respond to a message, and three hours later you’re caught in a loop looking at videos of cats.

Don’t get us wrong, we love cats (Lu even has a Maine Coon cross called Kit Kat) but we’ve probably seen all the videos so tend to just get on with work now. With over 7 years’ experience of posting on various sites and managing a wide variety of business pages, there’s not a lot we’ve not come across.


To find out how you can benefit from our experience to help your business give us a call on 0161 883 2024 or email and we’ll be happy to help.




Why your Virtual Assistant is your best friend

In the past we’ve looked at the different ways a Virtual Assistant can help you in your business.  So far we’ve talked about digital marketing tasks, outsourcing your communications, handling your social media and managing the backend processes every business needs to thrive.

Today we thought we’d look at some of the other tasks a Time Saving Hero can take on for you, to free up your time to focus on the more important things only you can do.

For example:

  1. Managing your business calendar and diary
  2. Arranging, scheduling and managing your appointments
  3. Making plans and arrangements for your business travel
  4. Personal online shopper (for corporate gifts etc)
  5. Researching prices for materials, supplies etc
  6. Editing and proofreading documents
  7. Following up with clients, suppliers etc
  8. Preparing documents and Power Points for presentations and meetings
  9. Stock control
  10. Getting quotes for work or materials and equipment

Every business is different, therefore what you find is time consuming, someone else might not.  That’s why we work with you to establish how best we can help you.

If you want to find out more and just have a chat with one of our Time Saving Heroes to see how we can benefit your business, give us a call today on 0161 883 2024.


What would you do if you realised you didn’t know how to do a task?

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about the sorts of questions you ought to ask a VA before you consider hiring them.

I’ve already answered “What are your core skills and services?” and “What’s your favourite way to communicate” and today I thought I’d look at a slightly trickier one: What would you do if you realised you didn’t know how to do a task?

My job as a Time Saving Hero (aka Virtual Assistant) is to make your life easier.  That only really happens if I know what I’m doing.  So I make a living by being the calm and gliding swan, even if everything is going crazy under the surface.

Which, half the time, it is.

But I digress.

I therefore want to appear as though I know everything, and can do everything (even if I have to Google it and figure it out along the way).  The last thing I want to do is have to phone you up and say “You know that thing you wanted me to do?  Yeah, no idea how to do that.”

But, the reality is, if that’s what we were faced with, that’s what I’d have to say. Or at least words to that effect.

Purely because I don’t believe in hiding from the fact I don’t know everything.  I can’t. But I can learn a lot, if you can find the time to show me – or point me in the right direction so I can figure it out myself.

There’s lots I can do, but if we stumble across something I can’t do yet, I’ll let you know, and we’ll work out a plan that ultimately still ensures you get whatever task it is you need doing done.


If you have any other questions you might want to ask please email or go old fashioned and pick up the phone. Our number is 0161 883 2024.

Why size really doesn’t matter

Whenever I talk to people about their current business activity on social media, they often complain about the number of people who follow them. It doesn’t matter if it’s Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook – the number of followers or fans always seems to equate to success as far as they’re concerned.

Big is better, and biggest is best. Apparently.

The problem seems to be even worse when they start to compare the size of their following with those of their competitors.

“Well, John has 500 followers, and we only have 390. No wonder he’s doing better than us.”

I confess in this instance I’m always keen to discover how they know John is doing better.  Because he says so? Well, he’s hardly going to admit sales are down and he’s not sure how he’s going to pay the bills next month is he?

We always assume others have got it together and we don’t, but that’s rarely the reality.

However, let’s make one thing perfectly clear – a larger following does not necessarily mean more business.

Forget online and social media. Let’s look at the real world.

Imagine you have a shop in a dingy back street with very little passing trade. Your competitor, on the other hand is located in the middle of the High Street, and has over 1,000 people pass by their door every day.

Who is doing better in terms of trade?

In all honesty, you have no idea.

More people have the potential to see their shop than yours, but does that equate to more business?  It all means nothing if no one is actually going in and buying anything.

For all you know the five customers you have who actually pop in and purchase exceeds the one he has who window shops.  Plus, your rent is probably lower.

Who’s doing better now?

Social media works in exactly the same way.  Having more followers simply means there is more opportunity for your posts to be seen by people, it doesn’t mean you’re going to do any better from it. In fact, if you have a smaller community of fans who do engage and interact with your content you are most definitely going to do better than someone who is receiving no contact from their audience.

This is the precise reason why I find it so frustrating when people “buy” followers.  Yes, for a mere £20 (or less) you can bump your audience by 20,000.  You may think that looks impressive, you might even assume it gives you a certain amount of credibility – but does it?

There is no “search pages with large followers” option when it comes to Facebook.  The only way a complete random person is going to stumble across your page is if you pay for an ad, or one of your genuine followers interacts with your content.  A paid for, made up profile is not going to do that, and therefore there is simply no benefit to going down this route.

Instead of looking for quick fixes that you think make you look good, take the time to build genuine relationships with your target audience and existing clients.  Reach out to them, ask them questions, thank then when they do respond and most importantly, stop just trying to sell to them.

If you’re not sure how to build relationships online, get in touch with Lu at Time Saving Heroes today – we are always happy to offer some advice. Call 0161 883 2024 or email



What’s your favourite way to communicate?

A few weeks ago we wrote a piece about the sorts of questions you ought to ask a VA before you consider hiring them.

We’ve already answered “What are your core skills and services?” and today we thought we’d look at communication.

If you asked any of my friends, and perhaps some of my clients, they’d probably say my favourite way to communicated was loudly.  It’s the price you pay for working with an Essex girl really.  However, I’m not sure that really answers this question properly.

But that said, it’s not necessarily the easiest of questions to answer, purely because I think it depends on what it is you’re trying to communicate in the first place.

Personally I’m quite a fan of email.  I like to document things, and that way it’s already done for me. However, many people don’t use emails effectively, which causes more problems than it solves.

In my opinion emails should only be used to provide information and act as a point of reference (but make sure they are sent to the people who need that information, not just everyone) or to answer quick questions/make plans.

If you start entering in to a stream of back and forth, or emails that have a few paragraphs in them then you need to pick up the phone.

Nothing beats the phone for getting to the heart of the matter quickly.  Admittedly it’s not always convenient, but that’s what voicemail or call backs were invented for.

I will work whichever way is best for a client – if they know they ignore their emails, then I’ll pick up the phone. If I know they’re busy, and a call will disturb them, I’ll send an email.

The only thing I really hate using is text, especially when it’s out of hours.  If I’m off-duty then I really am off-duty. I will open your message, I might even read it, but it won’t go in.  But then in my mind, I’ve processed it, because I’ve read it.  And then I’ll struggle to remember to do it.

Text is never a good way to get hold of me.  If you want to run a relationship like that with a VA, then I’m sorry, I am not the VA for you.


However, if you’re more used to email, phone calls, Skype, face to face or anything like that then I might be your girl.  Give me a call on 0161 883 2024 and I’ll be happy to discuss your requirements further.

Our core skills and services

I recently wrote a piece on questions I think you ought to ask a Virtual Assistant before you contemplate hiring them.  Now’s probably a good time to start thinking about answering some of those questions myself, so you can get an idea as to whether Time Saving Heroes is the right partner for your business.

We might as well start at the beginning, so today I will be answering “What are your core skills and services?”


Once upon a time I had a reputation for being completely disorganised.  I never handed my homework in on time (in fact, I rarely did it), I could barely remember what class I was meant to be in, I never had the right books with me and I’d invariably be late if I had to be anywhere.

Over the years it’s safe to say a few things have changed.  Yes, I grew up but also life experiences have meant I’ve learnt how to manage my time, and myself better.  The biggest catalyst for that’s probably becoming a parent.

Having five children definitely means you’ve got to be on the ball.  You have to know who needs what, where they need to be and when and how to predict disasters before they happen.

To say I’m quite organised these days is an understatement, and it’s definitely one of my core skills.

That means I’m able to prioritise my workload, ensuring a client’s tasks will get done, even if I have other clients I need to complete work for.


I’ve always been a details person, and that’s one of the reasons I ended up doing a Forensic Science degree. I am a scientific thinker. I enjoy being logical, and approaching things methodically. Give me a mess to sort out, and I’ll tackle it sensibly and get the job done.

It also means that I’m able to stay calm under pressure (again, the kids helped with that training) and pass this on to clients.  If they’re flapping or stressing about something, I can usually talk them down and get them to think about things calmly too.


I’m really passionate about what I do because I love seeing other businesses thrive.  That’s my “why” in many ways.  I want a client to come on board, and whilst they’re working with me to see the impact it’s having.

That passion means that if you care about your business, your products, your customers then I’m going to.  I’ll care as much as you do. Like you, I will wake at 2am in the morning and have that wonderful idea that I simply have to write down.

You really do get so much more than simply someone who can do admin.

Social media and content

I absolutely love being creative, and adore writing. Anything that requires me to put thoughts and ideas down is really going to get me engaged, and that’s why content writing and social media are one of my core services.

I love doing them, and I’m good at them so it makes sense it’s the sort of thing I’m going to plug as much as possible.

Equally though I love inspiring other people to get involved.  I haven’t met anyone who couldn’t handle their own social media (apart from those who don’t have the time). Therefore showing someone how to do it, getting them to think about their own business and what they can post, and then seeing them let loose on it all really gives me a happy.

Virtual Assistance

Any aspect of VA work really interests me too. It’s a great way to see behind the scenes of a business and make a huge impact. No, maybe sending out invoices isn’t the most thrilling thing in the world, but it’s essential for cashflow. It has to be done, and contributing to the health of a business is a wonderful feeling.

I take a lot of pleasure out of establishing what needs to be done, making a list and then working my through it.

Maybe that makes me sad, but it also makes me a good VA.