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As a business, you make a lot of assumptions about things like the language and the colors you think will best resonate with your target audience. As a marketing agency, there’s nothing that breaks our hearts more than when we see companies hand over the keys to their social channels to a new intern. You’re basically throwing them both to the wolves. Here’s why you shouldn’t leave them in charge and what you should do instead.

1. Just because they’re young doesn’t mean that they’re social media savvy.

Believe it or not, not every college-aged adult is obsessed with social media. Even if they have social media channels of their own doesn’t mean they full understand it. You might be thrilled to know your intern for the summer knows how to use SnapChat. But the reality is they only snap pictures of their cat to their best friend. While cats are a great marketing tool, they won’t help grow your business. Think about it this way. Thinking that someone is great at social media because they’re young is like assuming all grandmothers can knit sweaters.

2. Even if they are social media savvy doesn’t mean those skills will transfer well to business.

Okay, so maybe they do know some social platforms inside and out. Think about what they’re using social media for: being social with their friends and classmates. This could come in handy if you’re marketing to consumers, especially if you’re targeting a younger crowd. But if you’re B2B, Instagram photos of their brunch or beach vacation won’t help you.

The point of this blog isn’t to discourage young people from following their passion, it’s to remind you that social is an important traffic driver and customer service tool. Dumping this massive task on an intern won’t provide desirable results. If you’re not sure who to trust with your social media, start by educating yourself about the different types of marketing companies through our free guide.

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3. Interns come and go, which will hurt the consistency of your social media management.

Consistency is key for your marketing as a whole. You want all of the following to be consistent across all social channels and your website:

  • Brand
  • Tone
  • Posting frequency

For the most part, interns are only at your company for a few months. Passing your Facebook account from intern to intern may cause some balls to drop (wait, what do you mean we haven’t posed to our Twitter in 6 months?!) or seem like you’re having a brand identity crisis. Social media planning tools such as Buffer and HubSpot allow your team to collaborate. That means you won’t be in the dark about what they’ve been posting about, and you can even edit them before they go live.

4. There’s more to social media than tweeting.

Social media is one of the most overlooked marketing tools available to companies. Many industries complain, saying it’s not worth their time because their target audience isn’t on social media. Those same people then go home and check their Facebook account…

Trust us, if you have the right strategy, you can reach your target audience. While American colleges focus heavily on critical thinking, interns don’t have the experience they need to develop a good marketing strategy. They’ll get there someday, but let them focus on learning the tools and best practices. Posting is only one piece of the puzzle. True social media success is knowing exactly what to post and at what time. Digging into analytics in your social accounts as well as Google allows you to make the most out of your budget.

5. They’re not industry industry experts…yet.

It takes months to get familiar with a company’s brand, never mind the nuances of a complex industry. Interns are part-time employees because they’re trying to learn useful job skills and explore a career path. They’re like sponges when it comes to absorbing information, but you can’t establish thought leadership when you’re cramming information into their brains. It will come with time. If your intern has a great experience, trust us, they’d love to come back for another stint or join the team full-time.

So…what should my intern do?

  • Help curate content to share. This gives you a better idea of how well they grasp your brand and industry.
  • Draft social posts. Especially if this is their first time doing social media ever. Read the posts over and give feedback so within a few weeks they can work more autonomously.
  • Research hashtags. They say you learn by doing, but hopping onto a hashtag bandwagon has lead to disaster for companies of all sizes.
  • Explore new social opportunities. What about Facebook ads? Or a new niche social channel? Give them the opportunity to play around and present their findings to the team.
  • Read your brand guidelines. Have them go through your website and your brand guidelines so they become more familiar with who you are as a company.

Social media management is crucial to growing your online presence.  So remember to set your social media intern– and your business’ social channels– up for success.