Is an Intern Your Social Media Strategy?
Question: Our company is getting ready to do more social media so we have hired an intern to help us get started. Is this a good strategy?
My first reaction when I get this question is usually to bite my tongue and force myself not to say the first thing that comes to mind (always a good idea by the way). But since I get this question posed (or stated) far too often I could no longer resist taking a stab at this one.
Let's try a little anecdote.
So our little company, Broadsuite, is a marketing organization. We are professional marketers that work with companies on well...branding (you thought I would say marketing), social media, digital and yes, marketing. Say we were looking to expand our business and needed to hire, take more space and improve our technology systems. First thing we would do is spend some time analyzing the financial requirements for the growth. That may include taking on a loan, an investor or restructuring the companies budget to support the planned growth. For this we would possibly want to hire or seek the guidance of... An Intern?
Um...hopefully you caught my sarcasm there because I was laying it on pretty thick. The long and short of it is as a marketing organization we understand marketing, but finance may not be our strength. So when we need to do something critical to growing our business we need to seek real professional support, whether it is W2 or not.
For many companies their goal of marketing is to be found online (ergo new customers and revenue). And trust us, doing that in today's challenging digital environment is not easy. Which is precisely why hiring an intern to lead your marketing and social media is about as smart as us hiring an intern to plan our finances.
Regardless of whether or not they personally know how to do social media, the idea of turning over what is perhaps the most public facing marketing channels that your company has to someone with almost no experience is horrifying. Much like the idea of giving the same person control of your operations or finances. You just wouldn't do it.
When Does An Intern Make Sense For Social Media Or Marketing?
So yes, marketing is sometimes a hard investment to swallow and the idea of using an intern may seem lucrative. In actuality, it can make some sense and even work. But turning over your entire social media or marketing to someone who little if any real work experience just isn't the right approach.
Where an intern may make sense is to support your in-house or outside marketing efforts. Perhaps coordinating internal and being a contact to help get things done. Other ways this can work is if they come in and "LEARN" from those who really know what they are doing. But please, I beg of you, don't turn your brand over to someone just because they know how to spell Instagram. It just won't work.
Are you giving the keys to your kingdom to someone that should have them? Think long and hard before you let just anyone, especially an intern, own your social media, marketing or brand?
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