There’s been a lot written about why having interns manage your company’s social media platforms is a bad idea. I agree with all of them–it causes inconsistency, awkward fumbles and is generally not an ideal situation unless they have a great deal of oversight (which usually takes longer and is harder than just doing it yourself). But I want to talk about why else delegating your social media to your interns is bad.
It’s bad for them.
More and more businesses have come to the realization that social media is incredibly important for their marketing, and that’s great. But so many have it in their heads that social media is complicated, time consuming and that they just can’t do it. So what’s the solution? Find an intern and have them do it! Problem solved, right?
No. Just because most interns are young doesn’t mean they use the social media you need for your business. Sure, many spend lots of time on Facebook, but just 17.8% of college students are on Twitter at all. And most just see LinkedIn as a place to post their resume and never look at again. They might know the nuts and bolts of how to physically use the tools, but it’s the tactical and strategic parts are important–and what students should be learning during an internship. Even if they’re majoring in PR, communications, marketing or another related field, many schools just aren’t teaching these skills effectively. They might require that students create profiles on these networks, but they aren’t teaching the actual use of them, either.
By taking some “young person who’s good with the social media” and throwing them into the fire, you’re setting them up to fail. Sure, there may be one or two exceptional folks who can fumble their way through and do an excellent job. But internships are supposed to be monitored, mentoring learning relationships–not indentured servitude with no help or guidance. According to law, if you can’t do what you’re asking an intern to do, you must either pay them or not have an intern at all. So while we do have unpaid interns at Roundpeg, we train our interns in what we already do, rather than expecting them to do what we can’t (or won’t) do.
Stop foisting your social media onto your interns. It’s a losing proposition for all around. Either pay an intern or a freelancer who knows what they’re doing, or take the time to educate yourself to do it. Otherwise, you’re setting an intern up for a frustrating experience, and you’ll probably convince yourself that social media doesn’t work.