I am starting a new series that I am going to do on Sundays (since it is a low traffic day) where I pontificate on something related to social media. I don’t want to start a separate social media blog (I’ve tried that) but as working in social media is my dat job, and social media has a role in the blogosphere, I thought I would take Sundays to post on something that is on my mind.
Summer is now officially here and with it came an onslaught of openings for summer interns in the social media space. In reality, companies are always looking for interns for social media positions. I don’t have a problem with that at all.
What I do have a problem with is some of the responsibilities that I have seen in the job descriptions for these positions. I’ve got a beef with that. A big beef.
I want to state clearly that this is not about me trying to protect my own job. Nor is it about agism. I myself have an amazing intern at work who has acutally turned into a specialist on a part-time basis. He rocks, as I am sure most interns do.
I have a problem with the companies hiring these talented people and setting huge expectations on their shoulders. An intern cannot be expected to run your social media program, create your strategy and execute on it all for $10 an hour!
In April of 2011 I went to the first (and only) Radian6 User Conference and I remember one of the keynote speakers (I think it was Joel Mitch) who said (paraphrased): “Shame on you companies who take a college student just coming out of school….who’s only qualification is that he/she can use Facebook…and put him/her in charge of our social media program….shame on you.”
I never forgot that as I sat in the audience and vehemently shook my head up and down. But the fact the matter is, companies are doing it all the time.
What they forget is that social media is not any different from any other communication channel in that it takes strategy and experience and a good team of people to execute on it. It also needs to be intergrated into all your marketing disciplines, it is not a siloed isolated “thing” that you do in a vacuum. You also definitely want to take things into consideration such as your target demographic, etc. It will have an impact on content curation in addition to shaping all your editorial calendar and campaigns.
For companies out there thinking about hiring an intern or specialist to “do your social media” by all means hire them, but make sure you set them up (and yourself up) for success.