Why You Shouldn’t Have An Intern Manage Your Social Media
“Anything given away has no value.”
Like all teenagers, I would ask (practically demand) my Dad to give me money to go out with my friends every weekend, and he would give me a list of chores and hit me with that quote. When my Dad passed this wisdom on to me as a youngster, I didn’t know what he meant. I just thought it was his own clever way of snaking out of giving me $20 and getting his car washed; but being a small-business owner who worked from the ground-up he knew something I didn’t: the appreciation of incentive for work. Now, as an adult working in the world of social media, I see his advice at work.
As I sift through my clients Twitter feeds and Facebook walls, I can pretty much pick out articles and reposts written by interns versus those being paid for their work. Part of it is skill, another part is effort.
Interns (ideally) are hungry for a job and will do anything to find a good one, typically they will work for college credit performing a business’ grunt work. For an employer, social media seems like a decent place for an intern to work; they’re young, they know how to use social media already, and you can set them in front of a computer and trust that they will not get up and futz around with other projects. However consider this: would you send an intern out on a business meeting solo? Would you trust him or her publishing documents with your company logo? How about directly holding conversation with your most valued clients? These are all key components of what makes up a social networking position.
Social media is part journalism, part sales/marketing, and part public relations. In order to properly manage a job like this requires the focus and skillset of someone driven to juggle all these different roles. A social media person has direct access to your entire customer pool, both existing and potential. A good social media manager knows how to properly speak to your customers and potential customers, and provide them with the kind of information they want and deserve.
In my day-to-day as a social media manager, I deal with different people constantly; from mild supporters to CEOs of partner organizations, I am trusted to be the online spokesperson for my clients. I must present the proper image of the clients core values, my postings and engagements directly reflect the image of my client’s brand. In addition, I am not just blindly posting and interacting with strangers, I am dealing with my clients most prized posession: their demographic.
These are the people who took the time out of their internet usage, found my clients page and opted-in to follow our postings. A populace that have literally agreed to me advertising to them. It doesnt take a marketing intern to understand why these people are precious to a company. However, companies squander this key role to someone whose other tasks include getting data entry, odd jobs and getting coffee.
Generally speaking, an intern gets paid nothing and generally works a litany of roles that assists employees and limits their interaction with customers. Why? because they’re not properly trained/qualified to do so and may poison your relationship with a current or potential client.
Bringing it back to my Dad and his silly quote: isn’t it ridiculous to assume someone being paid peanuts, or in many cases nothing at all, is producing quality social media content and customer relations?
Coming up next post: How to Properly Use And Intern For Social Media
Do you have an intern doing your social media? How do you feel about it?
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