You’ve heard the saying, “You can have it cheap. You can have it fast. Or you can have it good. Pick two.”
Well, with an intern, most likely it will be pick one. And you know which one it will be. Cheap. Which leads to another saying, “You get what you pay for.”
Now that’s not to say that there can’t be some people out there who could be ideal social media interns. But you need to have realistic expectations.
If a social media intern had all the experience to show you how to integrate your social media program throughout your organization, and could maturely interact with all of your various audiences (both internal and external), then he or she probably wouldn’t be affordable.
What Are Realistic Expectations For Your Intern?
The reality is, for the first several months or longer, your expectations for a social media intern should be no more than for that person to handle the grunt work you don’t have time to do. That includes things like writing and uploading content, posting content to your outposts and locating conversations relevant to your brand or organization and assigning those conversations to various people on your social media committee through a social media monitoring dashboard.
Which means, you will be the one who needs to steer the big picture strategy through your organization and to your intern. All while managing your social media intern’s day to day tasks.
It’s most likely that your social media intern will not have the professional experience or life experience to handle anything more than the day-to-day grunt work. At least not for some time.
It’s important to understand this before you even hire an intern. So you can set realistic expectations for everyone, including your boss, yourself and of course, the intern.
What Will You Need To Know To Manage Your Intern?
You will need to know the objectives of your program and how they align with the business objectives of your organization. You’ll need to know how social media extends beyond simply “pushing content” into the blogosphere. There are legal issues you’ll need to understand about social media, including copyright law and right to privacy law. And it’s likely that at some point, your boss is going to ask you to justify the cost of your social media program, so you’ll need to understand the different approaches to measuring the Return On Investment of social media.
The better you understand the best practices of social media, which you can learn in my Social Media Road Trip online video workshop the more likely you’ll be to have a positive experience with your social media program. And the less likely you’ll be to have a social media intern who will up and quit on you the second something better paying or more interesting comes along.
Hiring an intern to handle your social media activities can be a smart move. But if the intern doesn’t have someone steering the overall social media plan, it could end up being a move that’s well, to be blunt, stupid.
So in summary, set realistic expectations for your social media intern and make sure someone in the organization is educated in the best practices of planning, launching and managing a social media program.