Don’t Let Interns Drive Social Media

If you have interns in your office, I’m willing to bet that some of you have “manage social media outreach” somewhere on that list.

If you do, take it off.

Too many companies make the mistake of assigning this newly critical marketing role to an entry level employee or, worse, an intern.

Just because someone lives and breathes digitally doesn’t mean they understand the subtleties of building a brand online. The person in charge of the management and daily implementation of your social media efforts needs to be experienced in marketing. Why?

• Social media reveals valuable customer data and feedback, often when you least expect it. Someone unfamiliar with your company’s unique challenges and goals may not recognize the gold nuggets of info out there.

• In order to grow and become more sophisticated in your social media strategy, you need to understand the landscape – what’s out there, what are the best practices, where do you fall on the spectrum. An intern just doesn’t have that context.

• Opportunities are everywhere! Every day there is an opportunity to partner, align, leverage, promote, connect with customers, clients, media, influencers, partners, investors, new friends and more. Only someone who knows the goals, the history and the strategic outlook for the business can put two and two together to make something awesome happen.

• Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. An experienced marketing person can spot trouble brewing in a blog post, a twitter stream or a Yelp comment. These are prime opportunities to stamp out a flicker before it grows into full-fledged crisis. And, in today’s social driven world, that can happen in an instant. A newbie won’t recognize threats like a seasoned professional will.

• Your brand personality might take a hit. I can often tell when someone inexperienced is serving as the brand’s social media spokesperson. There is something about their communication that is a little off. Their answers to questions are tentative. Their responses are vague. And sometimes (gulp!) their grammar and spelling needs some polishing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these young’uns aren’t valuable to your social media efforts. In fact, you can learn a lot from them and give them some useful experience with your company while you’re at it. Come back on Thursday for some ideas to leverage your intern’s fresh perspective in mutually beneficial ways.

Until then, eager to hear your thoughts on interns and social media!