There is a disturbing trend happening in the area of social media that I want to address. I see every week, jobs posted for social media interns. Upon reading the ad I discover that it’s not an intern position, that its called an “intern” position in order to pay the person less or nothing. At first, I brushed it off, then I noticed it happening more and more. So I started applying for them, just to see if it was an actual intern position. 95% of them were NOT actual intern positions.
After working in this industry, eight years on my own and five years prior to that with a very large internet search company, I can tell you that there is nothing about this job that makes it less valuable than a Marketing Manager.
An intern is someone that is working for the benefit of expertise in a field that they want to go into. In other words, you need to have someone with experience that can oversee and teach the person that is “interning”. If you do not have that, you are hiring a social media manager or social media assistant or whatever you want to call it, but it’s not an INTERN if you can not provide education in that specific area.
Secondly, do not make the mistake of undervaluing this position. Social media is difficult. It is the only part of my business that I can’t outsource and I hold degrees in photography, arts, and Media Arts and Animation. I can find someone better than me in every single one of those cases and they charge reasonable fees.
Social Media is hard and just because someone is good at doing their personal social media or because they are young (another misconception about the position), does not mean they are good at strategizing for a business. In fact, I would say that being good at personal social media and strategizing multiple platforms is absolutely night and day.
As a social media expert, you have to have the ability to generate content, design it (or get it designed), interact with customers at every level, have the ability to correctly target ads (and Philadelphia is not an appropriate target in most cases), be able to look at statistics and insights and apply them to a business, be able to develop a plan for long-term growth, be aware and comprehend the 50,000,000 changes that Google makes every year, understand how algorithms relate to pages and know when they change, be able to implement SEO in your day to day content so that it ranks on Google, not only understand the differences and limitations of digital marketing but have a full comprehension of old school marketing (because many of the principles relate) and that’s just the beginning.
So when you consider paying someone $9.00 an hour for social media, consider what you are actually asking that “intern” to do, because it is worth much more and a title.