Social Media Manager Laura Hall explores why you should reconsider letting the intern control your social media presence

All too often prospective clients come to us saying that social media isn’t working for them – and then tell us their accounts are completely managed by an intern. In our experience, these are usually the same companies that require ten different people to approve a press release and will obsess over getting the exact shade of green right in the footer on their website. It’s easy to demand attention to detail when you understand something; when something is new and scary, it’s easier to stick an intern on it.

Don’t get me wrong; I love interns! They are eager to prove themselves and have a fresh way of looking at a project. I got my start as an intern. But a single intern should not be in charge of a company’s entire social media presence. Below are some of the reasons why, as much as I love interns, they need more support if they are to contribute to a successful social media presence.

Personal social know-how ≠ Business social know-how

One reason we often hear for hiring an intern is that they “get” social, which, given their lack of experience, usually translates to “they have a Facebook and Twitter account”. Developing a personal presence on social media is vastly different from cultivating a business presence. Individuals don’t have to worry about the PR calendar for the year, SEO efforts or customer service. There are no bottom lines involved or products to sell; just cat pictures to tweet and lunches to post to Instagram.

Knowing social media personally doesn’t mean you know it in a professional capacity. Social media professionals wear many hats. One minute they are a customer service representative, the next they are a sales person, or an event manager or a content marketer. They need to respond quickly, even to complex or sensitive queries. This is a lot of responsibility to place on the shoulders of someone just leaving University who is not a proven commodity.

Growing a following is the hardest thing about being a social media manager

Companies who are just starting out often don’t have money to invest in social media, so they hire an intern. Growing not just a following, but a company’s reputation from scratch is hard, even for a seasoned social media manager. This puts companies into a catch 22; they won’t grow until they invest in digital marketing, but they won’t invest in digital marketing until they grow.

Why we recommend that start-ups invest in social media is perhaps the topic for another blog, but put simply, social media is an effective way of increasing brand awareness provided the person managing it knows what they are doing.

Social media requires more than just manpower

There are also the companies who don’t invest heavily in social media because it isn’t worth it, so they just get an intern to do it.

This intern is usually expected to get amazing results with little further investment from their company. When they (inevitably) don’t achieve these results, social media gets written off.

Simply getting an intern is not investing in social media. It’s investing in manpower. Interns have no experience when it comes to managing expectations, setting realistic goals and determining ROI. They lack the authority needed to ensure social media is integrated across departments and to make a solid case for more funding when needed.

So why invest in social media?

Perhaps the biggest problem with hiring an intern, rather than seeking expert advice, is that it places social media as something separate from the business; something that someone with little experience can just “get on with” in a bubble, away from both the other marketing functions and day to day running of the business.

Social media doesn’t work this way. Social media has no single purpose but multiple, invaluable purposes. It is a PR channel, SEO tool, content marketing platform, content aggregator, advertising mechanism, sales channel and customer service tool to name just some of its potential uses. When you consider all the functions within your business that social media could help, properly investing in social media expertise is a no-brainer.

That’s where Bravr comes in. We have a track record of helping clients enhance their reputation and revenue through the strategic integration of social media activity into their business. To discover the difference that the social media experts at Bravr can make, get in touch.