Social media marketing is one of the more recent additions to SEO. In the last few years it’s grown from an online medium reserved mostly for college kids and early adopters to an integral part of Fortune 500 companies’ marketing strategy. It seems that every business and brand has at least a Facebook page or Twitter handle. More and more professionals are creating LinkedIn profiles for themselves and their businesses. Brick and mortar business are adopting location-based social networking platforms like Foursquare and Gowalla to reward patrons and YouTube has become just as popular for companies to promote their products as it is for posting skateboarding dogs.
The younger generations are typically deemed to be more comfortable with the ever changing and adapting social media landscape, so some companies have opted to put their social media marketing management into the hands of their “Twitern” ( an intern brought in to handle the company’s Twitter account and be the wizard behind the social networking curtain). I think this is a mistake.
A company’s social media strategy ties directly into their overall marketing strategy, as well as effecting their online reputation. Social media marketing is too important of a task to place in the hands of an intern. Let’s be honest, they are probably working for free (or one of the lucky few for college credit), are only going to be there for a few months and probably aren’t incredibly invested in the success of your company. They are there to build their resume and get recommendations, which is fine. That’s why anyone is willing to work for free under the guise of “intern.” But do you really want to hand you online presence over to that?
You social media marketing should be handled by a permanent employee (or outside agency) that truly understands your brand, business model and online marketing goals. They will be in charge of your online voice and personality, so they better know what they are talking about. Effectively managing a social media marketing strategy takes countless hours, because it has to constantly be monitored and updated. They have to understand the goal of each social networking profile, as well as the audience that uses that medium. Messages have to be tweaked to fit the style and format of each site, but the overall strategy has to work towards the same end goal.
Back in March, an employee at New Media Strategies (who was Chrysler’s social media agency at the time) dropped the F-bomb in a tweet from the @ChryslerAuto account, taking a shot at Detroit drivers. After deleting the tweet, Chrysler quickly fired New Media Strategies. Chances are the employee thought he was using his personal account to send the tweet, but accidentally posted from @ChryslerAuto. If a professional agency can make such a big mistake, what can happen when you hand the social media reigns over to someone who isn’t qualified to drive?
Social media allows you to directly interact with your consumers, so who is going to be doing the talking?