In their new book, “How to Make Money With Social Media,” Jamie Turner and Reshma Shah state unequivocally: “(H)iring a few recent graduates to handle something as important as social media is a prescription for disaster, which is why we recommend assigning your social media program to a more seasoned employee or group of employees.”
For a generation of executives trying to figure out social media, many have turned to the millennials to help them make sense of what may seem to be confusing technology. But in many cases, don’t be surprised when you get what you pay (or don’t pay) for.
While a wealth of research shows Generation-Y uses social media tools more frequently than others, this reason alone is not enough to delegate your company’s entire social media campaign to the intern.
Sure, interns can save you money in the short term. But when it comes to social media, an experienced professional makes a difference.
• Higher Level of Professionalism: College students are often still developing professionalism skills and have limited business acumen. Keep in mind that while students may know how to build buzz on a college campus, the casual tone they use to communicate with their friends, may not be the best for your audience in the business world.
As mentioned in a previous post, a social media manager is an extension of your marketing department and perhaps the first point of contact for prospective new customers. Would you send an inexperienced intern on his or her own to represent your company?
• Experienced Troubleshooting Abilities: In social media, there isn’t time for review and approval of every comment when engaged in a conversation. Because social media is so close to real time, an inexperienced intern may either lack the perception to foresee potential threats to your brand or in other instances, may not know how to appropriately respond. An experienced social media manager quickly recognizes patterns in social media discussions that an intern may not recognize. Because of their experience, seasoned social media managers can employ proven formulas for positively influencing discussions before they go down the wrong path.
• A Stronger Network of Resources: Social media managers typically have a stronger network of online professionals than a college student may have. These resources can include a web master to help with technical challenges or a blogger to provide opinion or content. Having such a network available on a more consistent basis than an intern can prove invaluable as a social media support team. In other words, if your social media manager doesn’t have an answer, he or she can quickly access others who can help.
There is still a role that your interns can play in your social media efforts. However, a well run social media campaign requires leadership from social media professionals who can spot the pitfalls and navigate. Why leave your brand’s reputation to chance?
- Companies still showing they aren’t quite sure how to use social media (digitalstreetjournal.com)
- Is Social Media Really Anti-social? (thecustomercollective.com)