Bringing interns into your company is a smart move for you, your staff and the interns. They can free up resources, deliver serious return on investment on social media and even train other staff how to engage in this medium. But you might want to think twice before you hand over your social media strategy to an intern.
Social media is like a football game. Your intern can be your star quarterback and head cheerleader, but she isn’t the coach.
While you shouldn’t let interns run the social media show, there are some very good reasons for getting them into the game. If you have interns, free them from the photocopier and get them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest—with these tips.
Tip 1: Harness their passion
No offense to chief executives, but you aren’t exactly the most excitable bunch. Interns, on the other hand, are passionate, energetic and eager to talk to people. Their youth and optimism make them people others want to be around. You can’t fake passion, and your customers enjoy talking to a company with a fun, engaging personality. The flip side of that passion is that it needs to be channeled and monitored.
Tip 2: Engage in exploration
When’s the last time you made a business decision because it “felt” right? Interns still go with gut feelings and passion. And cliff jumping can take you places you never thought possible. Trouble is, it also can land you in the bottom of the lake. Let your interns explore, but be there to stop a cliff jump before it damages your brand.
Tip 3: Connect to conversations
Want the juiciest office gossip? Ask your interns. Those noses are more finely tuned than a pointer hound. A week on your company’s social media channel, and you’ll have the inside scoop on who’s working with who and who stole whose idea.
Because chattiness is wired into their DNA, implement a social media policy so everyone knows the boundaries and expectations. You’ll also need to play a role in sculpting the brand voice. If you’re marketing Land Rovers, tweets peppered with LOL may not be the message you want communicated.
Interns can teach you a lot about brand engagement and navigating the sometimes tricky waters of social networking—and you can teach them a little of your business acumen. You never know, you might be mentoring the future CEO of the next Fast Company.
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