Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Intern got you up a social-media tree? How to regroup and take back your feed

So you let the intern take charge of the social media and're stuck, aren't you? Don't get me wrong. I love interns. But foisting your social media off on them isn't going to help you, now or in the long run. Here are the downsides of delegating social tasks to interns, and how to get yourself out of that tree you're in:
  • You don't know how it's done, yourself: Letting your intern set up your social accounts, choose the platforms or learn how to do the posting means that, at a minimum, you're going to have to retrain the next intern--if you actually understand how it works yourself. Make sure you all learn together, lest that intern graduate you right out of a social media presence, and set up a system where you have access to passwords and logins.
  • You don't share the strategy with them:  Deft as they can be at setting up a Facebook event, most interns use social media best as a personal tool to talk to friends--and lack the strategic mindset. So include them in discussions of whom you're aiming to reach and how and why.
  • You've tossed out the leader's voice: There's little in social media as irresistible as the chance to hear from (and exchange thoughts with) a leader, be that a vice president, manager or the CEO herself. Handing the Twitter feed, blog or Facebook posts to the intern means you've just given away a hometown advantage that draws readers. Get your leader out there and see the difference. Do it right, though--no ghostwriting. Remember, in some cases, the "leader" may be a member, a volunteer, a donor, or a subject-matter expert, not just the top brass in management.
  • The tone's not engaging: I'd be careful if I were an intern, wouldn't you? (Heck, I've been in client offices where someone stood over the intern, dictating a Facebook post.) The result is safe, but not engaging--and too often, because it's limited to pushing out information, there's no listening and responding going on in your feed. That'll quickly lose you readers, and attention. Work with whomever is posting to help them develop not just a push-out automaton tone, but the skills to listen and respond. You want to engage your members/customers/partners and that means developing a voice in your social posts--one you can live with. 
Need to come up with a smart staffing strategy for your social posts? Email me at info[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz.

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