My Company is going to do social media, I need an intern

Posted on June 10, 2010

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Social Media Intern

I had a conference call today with a prospective client regarding helping them develop a social media strategy.  Now, those of you who know me, know that I get completely jazzed talking about social media and working with companies or individuals with this thing called “social media.”  I was very excited as they were getting excited as we spoke…I was excited right up until the part where the prospect said, “now, I just need to find an intern.”  Intern????

Ok, now don’t get me wrong here.  I think it is great to bring on interns to help on projects.  There is a huge difference between the academic world and the real business environment.  The intern can bring fresh ideas, you can mentor the intern on the business and give them great business experience, but seriously to run your social media campaign?

I asked the prospect, “why are you thinking about having an intern run your campaign for you?”

The prospect answered quickly and confidently.  “Well because they are good with this technology stuff.”

Ugh.  Now grant it, yes, we use computers, smartphones to access the internet where social media resides, but the technology is a small part of social media.  There is a reason the word “social” resides in front of media.  The intern can likely teach those who aren’t comfortable with the technology how to use it.  But do you really want someone with no business experience, who doesn’t know your business to be out in a space developing your online brand and presence? I DON’T. I’m happy to bring them along for the ride to learn and mentor, but I want someone with business experience and better off within your company being your online presence.  Now, I’m all about hiring a social media consultant to come in and partner with you to get you going, educate you and your social media team, develop a strategy, a plan.  That’s what I do.  But seriously, don’t expect an intern to be able to do that.

Social media is marketing and business development.  In today’s environment, it is an incredibly powerful tool.  It is not one to be taken lightly or undervalued.  Just getting on twitter, facebook, etc does not build the relationships, build your brand, engage closely with customers, clients, prospects.  Feel free to mentor an intern, I just wouldn’t  base my business initiative solely on their inexperience even if they are texting, tweeting, FB’ing.  They may understand the technology better than you in terms of how to use it, you are the one that needs to be leveraging social media to reach your business goals.  That requires business experience.

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