Should Interns Run Your Social Media?

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Well, that’s a good question. Allow me answer it with another question: Would you put an intern in charge of your customer service center that handles a good chunk of your customers’ questions and complaints?

No! Clearly, that’s not something you would do. You wouldn’t give them total control over such a big responsibility. Wait, what? You think I’m comparing apples to oranges? You say those are two different scenarios? I beg to differ. It’s exactly the same thing. By giving an intern the keys to your social media presence, you are effectively giving them complete control of your customer service and brand reputation.

And, furthermore, here’s why you shouldn’t have interns running your social media:

Being ‘good’ at social media and understanding how to convey your company’s desired message online are two different things: It’s not about the tools, it’s about the message. College grads these days have been living and breathing social media since they were in the womb. (OK, maybe not that long, but you get my point.) They know what to post on Instagram that will get them a bunch of likes and practically think in 140 characters, but do they know how to be a digital spokesperson?

It takes time to learn a company and understand what it’s all about and the role it serves for its customers: That’s not something you’re going to learn overnight or even in a week. To make my point clear, it’s not something you’re going to learn in the short span of, say, an internship. To “sell” a company, online or otherwise, you have to know that company. An intern won’t know your company, and they won’t know your customer (in most cases).

You’ll never establish a constant tone for your social media presence if you’re constantly having someone new run the show: Let’s say you hired a killer intern, Jack. Because he has a knack for getting people engaged online, you let him take over your social media. He’s quirky, he’s funny, he’s engaging. He’s also temporary. When his tour of duty is up and he leaves for the next opportunity, your voice just walked out the door.

Social media interaction can go from fun and games to public relations nightmare in the blink of an eye: And when it hits the fan — and it will hit the fan eventually, so don’t kid yourself about that — you want someone who has the experience to handle it and not fall into a faux pas that will only make it worse. After all, it’s not like the world thinks an intern screwed up, they only see and blame your company.


Now, before the interns out there get up in arms, we aren’t saying you aren’t capability of helping a company thrive in its social media presence. We’re sure you have a lot of great ideas and have the tools necessary to go a killer job. What we are saying is companies should allow you to help and give you some experience, not have you run the show. Social media is a lot of responsibility and what happens there can have lasting impacts on a brand. It’s not something that should be taken lightly.

Thanks for reading,

Drew Larison