Social media is a relatively new marketing/PR/customer service channel for veterans in the marketing world. For recent college grads, however, social media has been a part of their everyday lives for as long as they can remember. So does this mean recent graduates are the key to having a successful Social Media Marketing plan? The answer is no. Just because they’ve grown up with a computer in the household since they were 2 years old and have had a Facebook page since junior high, doesn’t mean today’s college graduates know how to leverage social media for marketing purposes.
If you have an army of social media interns or are looking to build one, here are some questions to ask them to see if they understand the “Marketing” in “Social Media Marketing.”
Do you have your own website?
A Social Media Marketing intern who has their own website probably has a larger vision of what it means to have an online presence and the technical details necessary to create and maintain one. Knowing how to use a CMS, create new content for a website and publish it are valuable skills to have if one wants to enter the digital marketing space. Pushing messages and content through social media is only one component of a larger digital marketing plan. Knowing how the content ends up on a website can make a Social Media Marketing intern that much more valuable.
Have you ever used social media to promote a business?
Just because someone has a large number of followers who praise each and every one of their posts doesn’t mean they know how to build an engaging following for a business. It’s a different beast altogether. People aren’t as interested in following a brand or engaging with one online as they are with their friends and other real people. The key is to let a brand’s personality shine through social media, which can be tough since they can’t rely on cheeky pictures of them at Coachella to get followers. The general concepts of how to get more followers on social media are quite similar for individuals and brands. The strategies are what differ greatly.
Do you have any previous marketing experience?
If a Social Media Marketing intern doesn’t have any previous marketing experience, they’ll need a crash course in marketing fundamentals before they’re ever allowed to handle anything remotely related to social media. Social media is a channel that can enhance your larger digital marketing strategy. Of course there are tactics and campaigns that are very specific to social media, but if the social media activity isn’t tied into the larger marketing strategy, it can work against a brand.
Do you have experience looking at data/analytics?
Data should always determine the steps and success of a marketing campaign. The advantage digital marketing has over traditional marketing is the access to data via analytics tools and programs. If a Social Media Marketing intern has no experience looking at analytics data, then there is already a learning curve. Of course not every social media post needs to be made based on data, but if dollars are being set aside to use social media for marketing purposes, interns should know how to prove their worth through data.
Do you expect to be Social Media Marketing Manager in 6 months?
Kids these days seem eager to advance through the ranks. It’s true that college graduates today are significantly more computer and web literate when they graduate than those who graduated 7 to 10 years before them, but this doesn’t mean they know how to manage people, projects and communicate to upper management (even if they did run the college paper). There is a ton a Social Media Marketing intern can learn by working for seasoned marketing professionals. They just have to be willing to take direction and approach the internship as an opportunity to learn. Social Media Marketing interns can greatly help an organization establish and maintain a presence through various social media channels. Today’s college graduates are more computer and web savvy than ever before. The key is finding Social Media Marketing interns who are interested and passionate about digital marketing, not just social media.
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