A couple of months ago, I remember reading an internship posting for Pizza Hut. This wasn’t really an internship, however; it was a post for a Twinternship. Intrigued, I read it — this was a job for a young, social media savvy graduate to get on Twitter and tweet for Pizza Hut. The post has since been filled and The Big Money published an article checking up on how the intern is doing.
When companies use social media, the responsibility is usually with the public relations department. The skill sets are similar in that communicating to audiences is one of the most important parts of the job. That’s exactly what the Twintern does: She posts tweets about the company and talks with customers. It’s an interesting idea, and according to the article, things seem to be working out pretty smoothly. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more “Twinternships” show up for companies large and small.
If you’ve touched on social media during your internship, you’ve probably been asked about Twitter and Facebook because of your age. After all, we are the online generation. However, do you think because we’ve been using these tools socially that we know how to use them strategically? That we can counsel our superiors on successful implementation of a public relations program using these tools?
If you’re charged with anything related to social media, here are some questions to ask your bosses before moving forward with the program:
- What are the business objectives of the program? This is the first and foremost question you should be asking and you must have a good grasp of the answer. It’s important to approach social media strategically — creating a Facebook page just to have one is not a good way to start.
- How will each tool be used? Will these channels just post news about the company, or will it be used to talk directly with customers? Social media is no different than traditional public relations in that research and planning are the beginning steps of a campaign. Having a plan set is the key to success.
- What is the tone of conversation? Will you be more informal when communicating to customers using new media? Is your industry regulated? Know how you want to speak to keep things consistent.
- How will the company use social media in the future? Will the Twitter stream be around for a short period of time or is it a long-term program? Know where the company is hoping to move with these tools.
- How should you engage customers? Do you want to ignore people who hate your company’s brand? How do you want to talk to the brand evangelists? Just like crisis communications, think about what people are saying about your company’s brand and prepare to respond when appropriate.
So, what experience have you had with social media in your internship? Have you learned anything you’d like to share? Do you have anything else to add to the list? Please share your experiences.