Social Media Intern – Why can’t they do everything?

Tracy Raiteri who I am connected to on Google + posted the below video and comments. – By Author of Socialnomics (Erik Qualman) a Social Media Intern’s take on Social Media ROI.

Originally posted by Vlad Gorenshteyn (Google +)

“If your boss is asking you the following questions:

– What’s the point of social media?
– What’s the ROI of social media?
– Why can’t we just hire an “intern” to handle all of this social media mumbo jumbo?

Then, you should ask your boss these questions:

– Would you like our brand to be around in a few years?
– What is the cost of not listening and properly responding to your customers on social channels?”

I personally  have spoken at several events and  sat on several panels discussing the above issue and get the same question- “Why can’t I just have an intern do everything?” (regarding social media)

I always stop and wonder how this person/company accomplishes their other work that is required for day to day business and the things that help that company be successful. So I usually ask them this question:

” How many interns do you have currently on staff?”

The answers I get range from 0 to 30 depending on the size of the company. I then ask:

“What do they currently do?”

This answer ranges greatly. Some do coding (technical), some do marketing, some work with promotion and writing and the list continues for mostly general work under the supervision of someone else.

Then I ask the pointed question:

“Would you let an intern run your entire organization?”

After the laughter settles I explain the following.

Social media is more than just creating a facebook page or twitter account or creating content to post. It is a way of communicating with your vendors, prospects, customers  and employees on a long term basis. It’s the new way of doing business.

In order to do this correctly and to maintain your brand you need a consistent message and this message needs to be part of your overall strategy. This strategy must come from the executive suite. It must include your objectives and have a defined audience. You also need to have a group (or the better option is to have all employees trained) to handle and listen to what your prospects, customers and employees are saying, and responding to those comments. It is a dialogue with your audience. This dialogue needs to be continuous and consistent. And you need to be honest about who is posting the information.

There are many companies that will help you in the implementation, and consultants that can help you with a strategy, but at the end of the day any social media needs to be generated from within by the overall organization.

How you handle social media will determine the health and longevity of your organization. There are lots of professionals out there who can help you navigate these new waters. Please don’t relegate your entire Social Media strategy and implementation to an intern.

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and a Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn

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