Can’t you just use an intern just do this social media stuff?”
That question comes up in many meetings.
What also came up recently was this statement:
Well you just can’t give a kid the keys to a Ferrari.
I suggest that with proper direction, enterprise and autonomy, you can let a younger team member run with social media.
I thought about this more, and now feel that an intern can do and be successful at social media (at a certain level). Be mindful, I am considering that a social media strategy (this is a little older but basic ideas are excellent) and plan are in place and that an intern is supervised by an experienced communications and marketing pro savvy at social media.
So, here are nine ways to help an intern (or anyone) be successful at social media. (Part 2 of this series will cover what will make an intern fail.) So success will come from:
- Initiate listening program– have an intern spend a week—two weeks listening on line about you and your marketplace. Give him direction on what to listen for, here’s some great advice from Tamar Weinberg on listening tools for your brand. Then he will know almost precisely what matters to your customers and influencers. Want to go deeper here are 100 more tools, one will be ideal for you.
- Instill the vision– educate him or her on what the company clearly wants its social media to look like and specifically what impressions, engagements, conversations, sentiment and influences it wants relative to its customers and constituencies.
- Embrace a beat reporter mindset– teach the intern to think as if he covers the company and brand like a journalist. Have him scour the company for compelling and relevant things to discuss. He can monitor these areas of a company to eventually report. Also be sure to monitor for these company reputations.
- Model other inspirational brands and products — these don’t have to be in your category to provide new inspirations and ideas. In fact, going outside your market, will assure innovation and avoid same old same old.
- Empower him to act–turn him loose with boundaries and policies. Show an intern what he can talk about, how he can talk about and when he can talk about it. After a few weeks, solicit his ideas about current participation and enhancements.
- Create a content management strategy and guidelines – provide him with a content management strategy, clear guidelines and a content calendar to manage this work. Tip: have “ready to use” content that can help an intern get started such as current FAQs from customers, team and influencers. Recent news releases and public presentations are good materials too. Guidelines can be as simple as this is what we want to post, how, when and where we will post. Also, you can calendarize content linked to key selling and promotional seasons (e.g., major trade shows, start of baseball, Father’s and Mother’s Day, World Series, Super Bowl, College Football Playoffs, Independence Day, etc).
- Assure accountability– he will benefit from straightforward and simple IBM participation guidelines. He also will value a weekly review meeting to show his actions and results. Have a weekly first and bi-weekly (or sooner as necessary) later.
- Practice and more practice– time is precious, I know, and some development work upfront and practice can contribute to success. Before we trusted junior people with media queries and pitches, we had them practice with a senior account person. This helped them grow and refined our pitches and responses, building clients’ results and media relationships.
- Make it serious, creative and fun– company and brand social media communications is not about posting party pictures, unless you make party supplies, etc. It is serious and a privilege to represent a brand, so an intern must have that mindset. At the same time, there can be creativity and fun when helping design and execute social media communications and campaigns. That’s what motivates an intern and any team member.
Ok, so what do you gain from using an intern here?
How about gaining management time for new projects and innovations, boosting your web presence and search rankings, actively engaging your customers, learning new product ideas and uses and boosting brand awareness, trust and site traffic? Also, some younger folks have more skills and natural talents with all the platforms as they are also part of their lives.
Not bad ROI for using an intern or younger team member.
What steps or actions do you think will make an intern help you succeed at social media?
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