Should You Be Leaving Your Social Media to an Intern?

Should You Really Have a Social Media Intern?
Do you know what’s terrifying? Leaving your business’s social media accounts to a 21-year-old. Giving an intern the responsibility to tweet and post updates on behalf of your business is a risky endeavor. Yes, interns have a ton of positive benefits — cost effectiveness, energy, creativity, and tech-savviness — but for the most part, they should not be given an unsupervised megaphone to talk to your business’s potential clients, competitors, and general community. Here are a few reasons why:

4 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Social Media Intern

  1. Social for Fun is Way Different than Social for Business: Live tweeting the newest “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” episode isn’t quite the same as interacting with a community through your CEO’s Twitter account. Yes, 20-somethings know the ins and outs of social media, but rarely do they understand the business side of social media.
  2. They Aren’t There for Long: Interns tend to only work for about 3 months at a company, which is nowhere near the level of consistency a company needs from its social media efforts. First off, a fresh intern will not be familiar with the company culture, and because of this they will not be able to provide a consistent voice that a company is used to having. Just maybe, the intern will become settled into the position a month or so in, but what happens when the intern leaves weeks later? Your social media efforts decline, you lose any momentum created, and you have to start the process all over again. Talk about a marketing no no.
  3. Mistakes Can Be Critical: Grammar and spelling mistakes are common folly when it comes to personal social media accounts, but for your business it could cost you. The person in charge of social media needs to pay acute attention to detail. Poorly crafted social updates will make your company look unprofessional.
  4. Not There 24/7 to Monitor Presence: Social media is something that needs to constantly be monitored. An intern is usually not there in the office or online full time, and a fair amount of action can happen in the social sphere during their off times. If you are serious about your social strategy you need to have somebody full time who will check the accounts on a daily basis.

With all this being said, I myself, am a Social Media Intern for OpenView, however I wouldn’t consider myself a “normal” intern. This May, I will have worked at OpenView for a year (a rarity in the marketing intern world). During this time I have been fully immersed in the culture, attitude, and expertise of OpenView. I have thoroughly learned the voices of all of our accounts under superb training. As stressed above, hiring a social media intern definitely has its benefits (low cost, creativity, etc.), but for the most part they take a fair amount of training and time in order to become capable of managing social accounts on their own.
If you are willing to take the time to train an intern and develop their social media skills, it can definitely be worth it. If you aren’t, or for that matter you don’t have a commitment from an intern to stay on for multiple semesters, hiring a full-time social media strategist/coordinator is a better option since they are better versed in the professional field.
Am I hypocrite or what? Let me hear it in the comments section or send a tweet at me!

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