I work with university students on a daily basis. They are wonderful, energetic and full of ideas. I encourage them to find internships where they can learn and grow. And if you regularly hire interns, I thank you very much for giving them the opportunity to discover what what working in their field of choice is like.
But I still wouldn’t want them to manage my business’ social account.
1. They don’t have the business acumen. Your interns might SnapChat every free minute of the day, Instagram every meal and pin their dream house, but they are not marketing gurus. They may have had a class on strategy or digital marketing, but most do not have the years of experience needed to map out a successful plan. Would you loan your Porsche to someone with a driver’s permit?
2. They do not understand the ins and out of YOUR business. Not only are interns new to the business world, they are new to YOUR world. They might not understand why a certain customer, donor or supplier is treated a special way. Their standards for business communication and etiquette may not be as formal as yours. Social media is your brand’s bullhorn. Would you let your intern represent your company at a nationally-televised press conference?
3. There’s more to social media that posting status updates. Does your intern understand KPIs? Can your intern interpret analytics? Does your intern know how to do a competitive analysis? What about crisis communications? How will they deal with negative reviews and comments? Interns, especially unpaid interns, are not compensated enough to deal with the stress of this big responsibility. Social media is really something you should have a full-fledged employee or agency handling.
Yes, there will always be a high-achieving young person whose knowledge is astounding and who seems to be born more mature and responsible that his or her peers. If one of those types wants to intern for you, by all means, embrace him or her. But make sure they understand the goals of your marketing strategy. Supervise their activities. Make sure each piece of content is pre-approved and that they have limited access to social media accounts. Use them as a sounding board or for idea-generation. Social media is a critical component of customer relations. One wrong move on social could cost you thousands in sales. Make sure your social media is in the right hands.