When determining how to manage social media marketing efforts, many businesses – particularly smaller businesses – default to putting the intern in charge.

And why not?

They have time. They’re young and ‘into social media’. They have 1,000 Facebook friends, and 2,000 Twitter followers.

They’re perfect, right?

Well, not exactly. Putting an intern in charge of your business’ social media marketing is all but a guaranteed recipe for disappointment. Here are a few reasons why:

Do you expect them to fully understand and drive results for your business?

In order for social media marketing activity to generate real results for your business, a solid understanding of your business is required. Sure you can have others assist with developing your social media strategy, but at the end of the day, the person/people responsible for bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis, and those who will be engaging and interacting with your audience, need to know how to do these things in meaningful, impactful, and strategically relevant ways to your business.

Do you think they’ll be able to correlate all of your business’ functions and apply them to social media activity?

Activity on social media tends to yield the best results when it works in concert with other business functions such as marketing, advertising, sales, human resources, operations, customer service, and more. Simply put, for interns or junior employees to be able to draw connections between all of these functions and correlate them to appropriate efforts on social media will be all but impossible for them to pull off with any level of effectiveness.

Are you expecting them to be champions of social media for your organization?

Particularly in organizations with small social media teams, or perhaps no social media team, you need individuals involved to be real champions for your social media marketing efforts to ensure they are sustained and carried out with dedication and integrity.

Additionally, they should be able to fulfill responsibilities including the delegation of content creation, work with individuals that are resistant to contributing to your business’ social media activity, measure, analyze, interpret and make learning from analytics applicable and actionable, justify resources for social media to management, and many more. If your interns can fulfill these types of responsibilities, I’d love to know where you’re finding them.

What results do you expect to achieve in the next 4 months?

By their nature, internships are limited term employment and learning opportunities for those who fill them. Social media, on the other hand, requires long-term and consistent investment and effort. Needless to say, it’s far less than ideal to have to train someone new to fulfill your business’ needs on social media every three to four months. Also, it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve long-term goals without long-term leadership and consistency.

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These are just a few of the reasons why putting an intern in charge of your business’ social media presence is not advisable. Just like any business function, achieving real results through social media requires experience, expertise, strategy, problem solving, management, project management, and many more qualities that just aren’t characteristic of, or found, in your average intern.

In your opinion, what are some of the drawbacks of putting an intern in charge of a business’ social media efforts?

If you’ve hired or assigned an intern to manage your social media properties, how did it work for you?

If you have any thoughts on this, it would be great to chat with you more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. […] Matthew When determining how to manage social media marketing efforts, many businesses – particularly […]

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  2. […] When determining how to manage social media marketing efforts, many businesses – particularly smaller businesses – default to putting the intern in charge. And why not? They have time. They’re youn…  […]

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  3. Hi Matthew – thanks for the post. I agree that ideally every company would have a seasoned marketing veteran running point on social – as it is a huge difference maker to a company. However I would also say that social media requires new thinking, creativity, and a nuanced voice. For small organizations with the abundance of social channels and use cases (listening, marketing, customer service) there are definitely roles for quality interns within social, but I would agree that having interns run with social media without direction is a recipe for disaster.

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    • Hey Dennis – I think we’re on the same page here. I agree with you that there are terrific roles for interns to play in any organization’s social media, however – as you alluded to – ongoing direction and strong leadership are critical to achieving any sort of real success.

      Thanks very much for chiming in and providing your perspective.

      Matthew.

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  4. […] often, day-to-day social media marketing activity continues to be managed by relatively junior staff that doesn’t have the necessary oversight, professional maturity, brand knowledge, business […]

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