I hear this comment quite a bit. “Let’s get a summer intern and have them come up with some social media for us.” Here are 3 reasons why this is not advisable:
- Social engagement should start at the top of your corporation. Your company thought leaders need to be engaged in the social media conversations with your prospects and customers. A recent study showed that 76% of respondents believed CEOs should be utilizing social media and 67% believed it was a good use of their time, resulting in their being defined as more open and accessible including being seen as better communicators and more competitive.
- Social media is not something you do “over the summer”. Engaging in a dialog with your customers is an ongoing commitment. Just a few examples: the contact center should be using it as a continuous loop to monitor and respond to feedback, product management should be using it to monitor market tends, and sales to engage prospects. Create a plan, designate roles, and stick to it for success.
- Just because they have a Facebook page, does not mean they know the proper social conduct for a business. The internet is full of stories about PR and HR disasters and near disasters caused by well-intentioned but inexperienced corporate social media newbies.
By definition an intern is there to learn, not do unpaid work for your company. Before you bring on any interns please be sure you are familiar with the current U.S. Department of Labor guidelines. An internship isn’t a new position, it should be an opportunity to shadow an existing role and learn the ropes. And once your intern is on board makes sure they have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities and you provide appropriate oversight.