When you read the headline of this article, you might not have been sure about the answer.  You may not even have a social media strategy! So before we talk about how a virtual assistant can help you execute your social media strategy, let's review how to develop the most appropriate plan for your business.

“In 2010 and beyond, a substantial portion of marketers’ expenses will go toward creating and maintaining a fan page, managing promotions or public relations outreach within a social network, and measuring the impact of a social network presence on brand health and sales," eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson wrote in "Social Network Ad Spending: 2010 Outlook."

So without further ado, here are some points to consider as you develop a social media strategy that your virtual assistant can later implement:

1.What do your consumers want?
Listen and learn from your customers before setting out to develop a social media plan. What do they value? Make sure your goals are aligned with your target audience's goals. If you don't offer valuable information or specials that serve both you and your target audience, you won't win with social media marketing.

2. Outline Your Social Media Plan
What types of promotions have worked in the past? What special promotions might work through social networking sites? How will you translate your brand to the social networking world? How often will you update your site? How will you drive traffic to your social network? Will you offer freebies? Valuable articles? Get specific about how you will make the most of business social networking.

3. Choose Your Social Networking Tools
Is Facebook right for you? Is blogging enough? Should you join Twitter? MySpace? Some other industry-specific social network? What about LinkedIn? YouTube? Flickr? Google Buzz? Windows Live? There are many social media platforms available. You can spend a lot of time – too much time – if you don’t focus on where your target audience is likely to flock.

4. Measure Your Social Media Efforts
Don't just blindly join social networking sites. See what's working and put more time there than on sites where you aren't enjoying the fruit of your labors. You can use a number of free tools like Social Mention and Tweet Reach to see where your Web site visitors are coming from.

Now that you understand the basics of developing a social media strategy, it's time to hand over the job to a virtual assistant who can execute your plan, keep up with the Facebook fans, Twitter direct messages, LinkedIn response and the like. A virtual assistant can post you updates, monitor your efforts and suggest new opportunities for your company's social media efforts so you can focus on serving your customers.