I recently spoke about my thoughts on the subject of companies hiring interns to lead their social media efforts. I hear this kind of thing more often than I care to hear it. It makes me crazy, if truth be told.
I came across this article on LinkedIn, which made me think about this again. I guess it still amazes me that businesses don’t understand the value and importance of their brand. The writer of the LinkedIn article was writing in response to another post entitled “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25”.
The first article that captured my attention is entitled “A Response to: ‘Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25’”.
Here are both articles:
I went to a seminar recently that spoke about the mutli-generational workforce (4 generations) currently in the workplace. They are:
- Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)
- Generation X (born 1965-1980)
- Generation Y (born 1981-2000)
- The Fringe Generations (the Traditionalists and Millennials combined due to their lower numbers in the current workforce)
- Traditionalists (born 1922-1945)
- Millennials (born 1995-now)
One of the keys of this talk was the fact that each generation has issues with the other generations. The ways to communicate with each other are different from generation to generation. With that being said, this is also the reason that the writer of “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25” believes they are the only ones who can manage and understand social media and the corresponding business program that comes from social media. On the other hand, there are many in the generations older than the one containing 25 year olds who understand there is much more to the benefits of social medial than merely knowing how to implement it. On yet another hand (I need a third hand!) there is a whole other set of people (usually in the older generations) who think it makes great sense to hire the younger set and/or interns to manage their entire social media function…because they (the interns) are experts at implementing…and they themselves know nothing about this means of communication. Lots of differing views here.
I repeat– Being able to implement social media is NOT the key benefit!
There is so much more to understand in your business than knowing how to click “update”, “tweet” and “share”. What about your brand, what it stands for and what a brand even is and means? What about understanding what your portion of work in the overall business is, and how it affects the overall strategy within your company and how this channel can work with the other channels in which your company works.
I can go on and on and on about this subject but for me, it boils down to these 3 points, simply—
- An intern has not even worked in their first professional job yet and is looking to you, the experienced professional, to teach them about business. If you merely say to the intern “here’s the social media program, go run with it because you know how to do Facebook and Twitter” you are making a huge mistake for the sake of saving a few bucks.
- Your brand, your brand’s reputation and all of the other aspects of the business you have already developed are far more important than knowing how to click a button. If you don’t understand social media, how it works and the fact that it is a channel which is going to stick around, please go and educate yourself OR hire a qualified professional who can properly assist you with this function of your business.
- Each important function of your business is well-planned. You assign experienced people to manage important functions of your business. Why is social media relegated to a “we can hire a cheap intern” function in so many companies? Social media is a vital, important internal/external communications program that should be treated with the proper level of importance.
You wouldn’t hire your sister, who is good at math, to do your taxes because it’s cheaper to do so. You need to hire the right person, with the right experience and avoid the problems we have seen companies experience on catastrophic scales. Your business…any business…is vulnerable if you don’t take proper care to operate your business in the proper way.
And it’s not the intern’s fault if things explode because of something they did. It’s your fault for making a decision so you can hire a $12/hour worker and save “lots of money”. You may find out how expensive these savings really are, in reality.
Be smart…social media is an important, relevant, ongoing communication channel. Treat it as an important function of your business and something that will reflect your brand. That is important stuff!
Please contact Anna Brice at Pinnacle Peak Marketing, Scottsdale AZ about Marketing for Small/Medium Business.