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Maximizing Social Media Internships
Of the infinite benefits of social media, another has been the introduction of new jobs and opportunity into the economy at a time when it is critically needed. The other side of this coin is that many people believe that because they spent years using Facebook, they automatically qualify as a “Social Media Expert”. Businesses often fail to look beyond the lack of business world application due to their urgency to get online, and resist making the financial investment to do it strategically.
Enter the social media internship. The internship is an incredible way to benefit both the applicant and the business. But it can also be a recipe for disaster if not managed appropriately.
When hiring an intern to manage your social media, ask yourself a few questions:
- Would I want this person on the phone with that huge deal I’m about to close, while the world listens?
- Would I want this person to immediately react and speak on my behalf when my business, products or services are highly criticized in the public eye?
- Is this person a savvy communicator, strategic thinker, and comfortable with a public presence?
It isn’t simply about the ability to navigate the social landscape, a successful social media or community manager must understand your brand, your voice, the etiquette of attraction marketing, and hold in very high regard the fact that they are responsible for representing your public image online.
Let’s also consider your responsibility as a business owner, and grooming young professionals to be masters of their craft and helping to launch them into a successful career.
The intent of an internship for a student is to learn and grow by applying learned skills in a business setting. If you toss them a bunch of content and tell them to “post and chat” they will not be making the most of this career growth opportunity. The internship is not about ‘cheap labor’ it is a coaching opportunity that needs to be taken seriously by the employer.
Too often businesses are simply looking to reduce cost and get online so they can look the other way and ‘let social media run itself’. This does not work. Making the investment to educate your social media interns will not only benefit your online campaign and protect your reputation, it could just result in a long term employee who becomes a solid, strategic player in your organization generating substantial ROI on your initial investment.
This is your image at stake, and the potential of an eager young professional. Aren’t both worth the investment?
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