At this time of year, summer interns flock to businesses, offices, nonprofits and other organizations to embark upon a summer long process of work (the lucky ones being paid!). Internships are largely structured processes that allow the intern to learn specific skillsets throughout the tenure of their time. Especially unpaid interns, they are not meant to replace the workforce nor be responsible for major components of an organization’s mission.
That being said, as a business owner, you turn to the knowledge of a millennial to assist your navigation of the digital space. They are here for the summer and should be utilized. Each millennial intern appears light years ahead of you in their knowledge related to social media. So, why not capitalize on their knowledge and let them dictate your social media strategy for the summer?
Well, we have three major reasons why it would be beneficial for you to think twice about letting your summer intern drive your social media strategy.
#1. Limited Expertise. Summer interns are typically high school or college students. Their experience is limited, even though they’ve grown up in the digital space. The knowledge that they have is limited to what they know and more than likely that’s solely Instagram. Instagram isn’t always the best avenue for businesses to be successful online. While they have some experience from their core curriculum, this is more theoretical than practical. Odds are that the intern doesn’t know the idiosyncrasies of each social media network, what is compliant, how to navigate, and the like. Additionally, strategy development is high level and takes a fair amount of research to better understand an organization, the mission and the goals. Not something that an intern can develop in the first week or two of them being in the office.
#2. Legal Pitfalls. When you give an intern the proverbial “keys to the kingdom”, they begin to act without any oversight. Tweeting on your behalf, liking pages on Facebook, and sharing photos on Instagram, but how do you know what they’re posting? What happens when they tweet from your business account a controversial issue that opens up a large discussion and the intern responds without knowing exactly what to say? What happens when the intern posts a photo on Facebook that is copyright protected and the owner takes action against your organization? Social media is an intricate space that shouldn’t be left in the hands of an intern.
#3. Limited Engagement. A summer internship is just that - a summer experience. If you transition all of the work of developing your social media strategy, executing social media, and responding on your behalf to the intern, what happens in August when he/she goes back to school full-time and someone has to pick up these tasks? Relying on a summer intern to implement and execute strategy is something that only has a short term time limit. Then, what does your organization do?
Think about these three components before you hand over the reins of your social media to an intern.