Is a Social Media Intern the Right Solution for a B2B Business?
In today’s world, where smartphones are fused to the hands of tech savvy Millennials, it would be reasonable to expect these skills to translate from the personal world to the professional one. However, this is not necessarily the case.
Going Beyond Selfies
The younger generation, living on their devices – texting, Instagramming, and sharing their latest selfie – are consumed with self-promotion and their relative beliefs. But social media for business does not consist of selfies or self-promotion from the first perspective (unless you work remotely and your company culture is built at Starbucks – in which case, check out our Facebook page!).
In the B2B space, social media is part of a bigger marketing effort, backed by strategy, research, competitive analysis and analytics. There are many other pieces to the puzzle that have to work alongside the efforts on social media channels. Social media is not the end game, however, it’s an integral part of the intertwined network of conduits that eventually point back to your B2B website.
While hiring a social media intern may seem like a great choice, as a social savvy and economical resource, you should be cautious of depending upon them for a B2B social media strategy. Many internships are minimally compensated or even entirely unpaid, completed in exchange for course credit. Therefore, unless you find non-monetary ways of motivating an intern – such as a great work environment, workplace perks, or the potential for future career opportunities – you may be faced with unmotivated talent. He or she would need to be a highly self-motivated individual to quickly learn everything about the business and its social media presence in order to execute your successful strategy (if you have one).
Limited Time Frame
It may prove challenging to get an intern up to speed on an entire business, its buyer persona, and its clients within the mere 3-4 months of a standard college semester. Additionally, this short term commitment with the company may not provide enough opportunity for the intern to feel engaged, satisfied with their work, and loyal to the business in order to create posts that will get noticed and create traction for the brand.
Upon the completion of the semester, the company then has to go out and find another social media intern to replace the last one, which will initiate an inconsistent voice of the brand across social media outlets.
Managing social media accounts across a variety of platforms, outside of what interns are familiar with for personal social media use (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), proves highly difficult. Each social media channel has a varying user base, and it’s vital to understand which message should be utilized for which platform in order to engage the audience without alienating them or pushing them away from your brand.
Often, there is little training for internships and the social media intern may end up “throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks” or guessing what the audience (or the client’s audience) will best interact with. Self-promotion only goes so far in the B2B arena. Businesses need to provide value to followers beyond simply sharing their own news and updates.
Content is a huge part of the marketing puzzle; if not the core. To correctly implement a social media strategy, social media activity originates from various forms of content. Ideally, your organization would have developed a content bank that is used as the source for your social media intern to reference – but this is only the beginning. Content curation (sharing insightful links and industry news) and providing value to followers aside from internal happenings also matters immensely, which requires expertise and research in your industry.
In order to get results on social media, someone in your organization needs to be researching “the next big thing” while analyzing metrics and performance of company social media accounts.
While many interns may believe that posting as often as possible is a fail-safe strategy, this is not always true. The time of day that a post is scheduled matters as much as what is being posted. The goal of social media is to gain attention and awareness for the brand while supporting other marketing initiatives. Therefore, it is necessary to know when the audience is most likely browsing Twitter or Facebook to see the updates. Keep in mind this timeframe may be different for each specific channel and often varies from client to client.
The Big Picture
There are many tools to help determine the best ways to reach audiences and at what points throughout the day they are “listening.” Each platform (and associated tools) has its own set of analytics and metrics. As previously stated, social media marketing should be part of a bigger marketing picture, which needs attention and devotion of a team player, not just someone who will fill a seat for a few months.
While it may seem like hiring an intern to do social media is a great idea, it would be wise to think through the entire ROI, including your expectations about your marketing strategy. Taking a cost savings approach to a social media position is a flawed strategy unless you believe that you can hire a high-performing full time employee at below market rates.
According to adweek.com, “70% of marketers plan to increase social media advertising this year.” If your business is one of those that intends to up your game, consider hiring a full time social media-marketing manager.
Or better yet, find out more about how our social media marketing services can get you to the next level. Call us now: 847-960-3305.