Of the infinite benefits of social media, another has been the introduction of new jobs and opportunity into the economy at a time when it is critically needed. The other side of this coin is that many people believe that because they spent years using Facebook, they automatically qualify as a “Social Media Expert”. Businesses often fail to look beyond the lack of business world application due to their urgency to get online, and resist making the financial investment to do it strategically.

Enter the social media internship. The internship is an incredible way to benefit both the applicant and the business. But it can also be a recipe for disaster if not managed appropriately.

When hiring an intern to manage your social media, ask yourself a few questions:

* Would I want this person on the phone with that huge deal I’m about to close, while the world listens?
* Would I want this person to immediately react and speak on my behalf when my business, products or services are highly criticized in the public eye?
* Is this person a savvy communicator, strategic thinker, and comfortable with a public presence?

It isn’t simply about the ability to navigate the social landscape, a successful social media or community manager must understand your brand, your voice, the etiquette of attraction marketing, and hold in very high regard the fact that they are responsible for representing your public image online.

Let’s also consider your responsibility as a business owner, and grooming young professionals to be masters of their craft and helping to launch them into a successful career.

The intent of an internship for a student is to learn and grow by applying learned skills in a business setting. If you toss them a bunch of content and tell them to “post and chat” they will not be making the most of this career growth opportunity. The internship is not about ‘cheap labor’ it is a coaching opportunity that needs to be taken seriously by the employer.

Too often businesses are simply looking to reduce cost and get online so they can look the other way and ‘let social media run itself’. This does not work. Making the investment to educate your social media interns will not only benefit your online campaign and protect your reputation, it could just result in a long term employee who becomes a solid, strategic player in your organization generating substantial ROI on your initial investment.

This is your image at stake, and the potential of an eager young professional. Aren’t both worth the investment?

Author's Bio: 

Sue Koch spent 15 years in consulting and corporate roles building and managing the internal business systems and organizational structures of small technology companies in Chicago. Joining early stage companies gave her exceptional coverage in all aspects of running a business. In pursuit of her entrepreneurial goals, she took what she loved most from her career and created Chicago based Soaring Solutions, LLC to help others grow, thrive, and reach new levels of engagement and success in their businesses.

Her business experience from start-up to divestiture, technology experience from software development to social marketing, and background in business intelligence, customer service & leadership development have provided a unique foundation to help others while doing what she is most passionate about.

Soaring Solutions, LLC is a full lifecycle Social Media Consulting & Training organization with a coaching mindset. You'll move from idea through strategy development, training and implementation, all while having fun doing it!

Sue's strategy work is a blend of consultative facilitation and coaching, to ensure you bring out your best self and greatest goals in creating your online voice, brand, audience and content, all while reducing overwhelm and ensuring a time management plan is in place.

You'll receive in depth training on the professional use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Blogging and related integration applications to support your business. You’ll learn the tools social media managers keep in their back pockets to do this in an efficient manner, and keep it a solution ideal for any budget.

Soaring Solutions also provides packaged or custom workshops for sales & customer service teams focused on building pipeline, creating strategic partnerships, reputation management via social media and more. The cold call is not yet dead, but it can be.

Sue's corporate background & client base are highly diverse. She can successfully adapt to your industry and environment to customize a program and strategy to meet your needs. Soaring Solutions' clients include industries such as; advertising, boutique retail, coaches, diversity and inclusion, entertainment, fitness, mortgage and loan, real estate, photography, print media, graphic and web design and more.

Sue is also an AFAA certified Zumba Fitness instructor who loves bringing another source of fun, energy and motivation to others through this passion.