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Social Media - Not One For The Intern

Nyree Hughes   —   10 November 2011   —   Content & Social

Thinking about ways to grow an engaging online presence is a big discussion area for the public sector, particularly when it comes down to winning the hearts of community audiences to give value and an all-round positive experience.Child on a laptop

Whether that includes being able to request library books via a Smartphone app or getting in touch with the local constabulary on Twitter. Being innovative and engaging, knowledgeable and transparent is a top priority. 

Unfortunately, time poor and cash strapped departments make it even harder for public sector marketing teams to get to grips with this fast changing environment. 

Can you justify bringing in an expert, an experienced marketer just to look after social media?

Often the answer here is no, and the responsibility falls down to one of the communications team - another task to manage on their already bursting ‘to-do’ list.
All too often, the task falls by the wayside. It’s true to say that social media can be a bit of a poor relation in the marketing family and responsibility is sometimes handed down to the graduate trainee or the intern.

“Amazing”, some may think, “a sprightly young thing with their finger on the pulse, is just what’s needed to set us on the right tracks”.

Much can be gained from an internship, it's true.  Valuable experience in the real world of work for the student or graduate, while your organisation can benefit from a spare pair of hands, from an enthusiastic team player with bags of ideas to keep you, your customers and service users happy.

Not a side-project

Youth maybe on their side, your trainees and interns have without doubt been social networking for most of their lives, but their lack of experience and understanding of your organisation, positioning and marketing will show. Handing over social media strategy planning to an inexperienced marketer is not the ideal situation.
Social media is not a side project for your intern, it needs to be woven into the fabric of your marketing strategy and be led by a strong organised team that understands the organisation, its audience and its marketing strategy inside and out.

Think about the long-term. Social Media is here to stay and yes, get your intern to set you up and educate you in lingo and etiquette, but get stuck in too. Make sure you know your audience, what platforms they use and make a plan for interesting and engaging content. 

Lead from the top

Unmistakably, heads of organisations, the board and high ranking stakeholders all want to increase social media presence, and this is all great news for any organisation.  The one key piece of advice would be to embrace and plan for your not only strategy, but plan for the inevitable departure of your intern and not let it impede on your social media activities.

So, if you’re thinking of embracing social media and are thinking of handing over that responsibility to your shiny new intern -  keep these things in mind before you go any  further:

• Think about resources, who will manage social media activity
• If you do take on an intern, ensure someone else has a clear idea of the programme and make provisions for their departure.

Above all:
• Establish business goals and objectives
• Listen and learn from your target audiences
• Build your presence and choose your channels wisely
• Plan your content
• Participate, be relevant and  transparent
• Remember to analyse and optimise your content

If you want to learn more. Why not come and see me at our social media workshop on the 8th December?  You can register your interest here.

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