Why Can’t We Hire A College Intern to Do Our Social Media Marketing?

3 Reasons You Must Own Your Social Media Strategy

Does Hire-a-College-Intern to handle social media sound familiar? This approach to social media marketing can be alluring especially if you still haven’t ventured onto Facebook and one of your firm’s senior executives will owe you a favor for hiring his Facebook-savvy spawn as your social media intern.

This seat of your pants approach to social media marketing is based on the following three perceived benefits.

  1. College interns understand how to use Facebook. No surprise there. Facebook started as a student network. Students have grown up interacting and building relationships on Facebook and, as a result, most have more than the average 130 to 150 Facebook connections. While these students have a group of peers with whom they interact, they’re most likely not your target market. Based on my teaching experience, these exchanges don’t translate to an ability to implement social media marketing plans. Further, it doesn’t imply  interns understand how to use other social media platforms your business may need.
  2. College interns are free. Depending on your business’ location and employment laws, interns generally aren’t free unless they’re receiving school credit for their work in which case they need to do one significant project. However, interns require strong oversight since they may never have worked in a business environment.
  3. College interns provide a quick solution. While getting a student to watch your firm’s social media assets can be relatively easy to implement, the problem is he may not understand the rest of your business or how your internal systems work. As a result, they don’t present your business effectively and their social media efforts can’t be integrated into your overall plan.

3 Reasons a college student can’t handle your social media marketing

Here are three reasons, fundamental to your long-term business objectives, why a college intern can’t handle your firm’s social media marketing strategy.

  1. Social media marketing requires understanding your products and brand(s).  One of the major reasons to use social media marketing is to build brand awareness and provide product support. A college student doesn’t understand your brands’ strengths and benefits. Further, on social media platforms, brands require more than just a logo. Branding is ingrained into how your organization and products are represented. Your brand’s face and voice are conveyed through social media marketing.
  2. Social media marketing requires marketing knowledge and experience. Social media marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It must be aligned with your corporate goals and integrated into your overall marketing plans. To this end, social media marketing strategies, strong content and supporting marketing are needed.
  3. Social media marketing needs a company representative. From a corporate perspective, it’s important to think about the image you want to present on social media networks. Your firm’s representative requires a deep knowledge of your organization and its history since social media marketing requires a level of transparency and being active in a public arena.  Therefore, consider who’s best fit to represent and engage with your prospects and customers.

The bottom line is you need to have experienced employees who can respond to whatever the social media ecosystem throws at them. They must know your brand, marketing and your organization to best leverage your social media presence.

Is there anything else you’d add to this list and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are some related social media marketing articles of interest.

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon

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