I seem to be coming across this kind of thing often, lately. I am hearing more and more business people saying things like “I am going to hire an intern for my social media” or “I just need to keep a social media presence and throw up a few posts here and there” or “I want to cut back on my marketing budget and this is a good way to do it”. As a marketer, this kind of talk makes me go Hmmmm.
It also makes me wonder:
- Do people understand what social media is and the value it has in their overall marketing plan?
- Do people understand their own company brand, its value and its importance?
- Do people understand the value and importance of marketing, strategy, planning and experience as it relates to their business?
- Do people understand the value of experienced professionals?
My quick answer to all of the above is no.
I want to changes things up a bit and steer this blog post to a positive tone.
There is a tremendous value in employing interns for your business, whether they are free or paid internships. The intern gets to learn from knowledgeable businesspeople in a real-life, active business with experiences unfolding daily and in real-time. Additionally, the talents of the intern are not to be overlooked. After all, they are digital natives who have grown up in a connected world and they can, in the world of technology, run circles around the more experienced professional who can remember the days without cell phones, email, social media, video and even computers. Although many of these professionals are also proficient in the use of current technology and have taken steps to understand and use the best of what’s available today to their best advantage, the current crop of interns literally grew up in this connected world and it is second-nature and very natural to them.
There is a tremendous value in all the wonderful new technology available to all of us—small, medium and large businesses alike. In fact, technology has given the smaller and medium sized businesses a much more level playing field with large corporations and brands, more so than ever before. That is good! Actually, it is really great! But great technology cannot operate by itself. To get the most out of available technology and your corresponding marketing efforts, specific to your social media marketing program, many things need to be in place:
- A goal or goals
- A strategic plan
- A strong knowledge of your company’s brand, values, goals and operations
- Great content
- A target audience
- Great training
- Consistency and commitment
- Knowledge of the available technology
All of this involves more than just being good at the technology. It requires the right person in your organization with the right knowledge and the right experience. If the reason you are handing over the social media marketing reins to your intern is the lack of time and resources of yourself or your experienced staff, you are underestimating the value and the importance of this very vital part of your marketing plan. If the reason is—you just don’t understand it yourself, you are probably relying too heavily on a young person who is extremely adept on the “how to do” part of the equation but completely lacks experience on the “why”, “who” and “what” aspect of this activity. Your social media program needs to be more than “just” posts that can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime and with no real reason to choose this person to perform the function except for the savings of money.
Your company relies on you to make the smart marketing decisions. Your brand relies on it. And more importantly, your customers expect it. Your marketing is an extremely important function of your business and should be treated with the proper respect warranted for the level of importance.
Here are some interesting articles on the topic. Some even agree to a point, that an intern can be valuable to a certain degree in this activity but many things need to be in place in order to be successful.
Please contact Anna Brice at Pinnacle Peak Marketing, Scottsdale AZ about Marketing for Small/Medium Business.