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Social Samosa - Don't Let Interns Handle Social Media


I wrote this article as a Guest Contributor for Social Samosa. Here is the link to the published write up: http://www.socialsamosa.com/2014/09/interns-social-media/

The call to be on social media should be made consciously by a company. The herd mentality syndrome should not apply here. Some companies, depending on their line of business or the expertise and funds at disposal, need not feel the hurry to jump on the digital bandwagon. The company’s senior leadership team should be convinced of the need to create digital assets; they should profess commitment to social media – they should be in for the long haul.
Identify
The next significant step of action is to identify social media champions within the company. Social media is normally entrusted in the safe hands of a company’s marketing team. This is crucial to ensure that social media strategy is on equity with the brand. However, not just marketing, but other functions (operations and finance for instance) too should understand the gravitas of taking your brand online. It is a round-the-clock, demanding responsibility.
Your consumers will judge your company and your brand on the basis of the brand’s digital presence. Response time to comments and queries or the type of posts written and images shared can all act as parameters to weigh the likeability of your brand. Thus, who handles this mammoth task becomes a very significant decision.
In-house/Outsource
Companies can either choose to handle social media internally or this responsibility can be outsourced to a digital agency. In both cases, the company should not underestimate the importance of the team or person behind your brand’s Twitter handle or Facebook page. However, whether social media is handled internally or externally, things can go wrong.
In the former arrangement, the internal team may not have requisite social media expertise. Also, sometimes with hectic schedules, because of its tedious and dynamic nature, social media can manifest as an additional burden in a marketer’s job. Even in the latter scenario, social media can go astray – lack of clear social media objectives laid out by the client or shortcomings on part of the agency in understanding the essence of the brand are two such ways.
In both arrangements, for reasons that may include or extend beyond the aforementioned, assistance can be enlisted from an additional resource lower in the ranks, especially to carry out mundane tasks like posting daily updates.
Enter the interns
Now, hiring an intern to help out a busy marketing team is no way a wrong move. In fact, it is great when new talent and fresh ideas are pumped into the system. What is required though is the commitment to teach and the need to effectively monitor the intern. When there is a dearth of sufficient supervision, your social media platforms may stop to truly reflect your brand. That is when a brand could land itself in the shoes of NDTV Good Times!
In an instant, with this tweet one recent morning – “I am pissed off with this office. This office sucks” –  the brand was judged by its 23,000 followers and this viral tweet became the topic of animated conversation on Twitterverse. It was a while before NDTV Good Times realized what transpired and went on to delete that tweet. The brand posted a comeback at 2.42PM, a good few hours after the fateful tweet went live.
Blame an unhappy social media intern responsible for the tweet or praise the witty comeback to the blooper, regardless, this was an embarrassing episode for NDTV Good Times.
Giving social media its due importance and constantly monitoring the team managing your brand in the online world will ensure your company does not fall in a digital soup.

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