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Should a 23-Year-Old Run Your Social Media Marketing?

By September 24, 2012May 13th, 2019

“Hi! I’m your new social media guru!”

Hollis Thomases posted an article in Inc. magazine that demands a response. While his article, 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media, hits some good points, it really misses the mark, especially for senior living communities that are always short-staffed.

Just because you don’t understand social media doesn’t mean you should forfeit all common sense and hire your niece, nephew, or any other recent college grad because “they’re really good on Facebook.”

He talks about 23-year-olds’ lack of maturity, lack of experience, lack of understanding of your business, and lack of communication skills. These might be good points. . . it depends exactly what you’re hiring for.

Age has nothing to do with professionalism

Of course, age has nothing to do with professionalism. I’ve met many recent college grads that are very professional, and want to learn everything about a company’s business so that they can contribute. Being able to make a contribution is one of the heralds of that generation.

If you’re considering hiring a 20-something, choose one that has a real passion for social media and for learning. You can often find interns that would like to work with you over a set amount of time. This is an inexpensive way to meet and work with various candidates and hire the one that stands out from the crowd. We use interns at our agency and find it very helpful in selecting talent.

OJT doesn’t solve all the problems of new employees

A lot of us in the Boomer generation like to talk about on-the-job-training (OJT). This is an important part of the process that any new hire goes through to become a valuable part of your company.

Hire someone with a real passion for social media and for learning.

However, OJT does not address the specific needs of marketing very well. I’ve yet to meet a 23-year-old who can create a meaningful social medial marketing plan. He or she simply doesn’t have a wide enough understanding of your company, your brand, your marketing personas, your culture or your goals to be able to craft a great social media strategy.

Don’t hire them to create your strategy. . . hire them (or bring them in as a intern) to execute your social media strategy. Then train them (you do have a training program, right?) in your business. Train them about your goals and your culture. Train them about your buyer personas. Help them see the bigger picture of how their social media efforts tie into the overall success of your company.

Social media savvy is not the same as technical savvy

Day-to-day social media activities require a combination of both social media savvy and technical savvy. Not only does this person need to “get” social media and understand how to use it, he or she needs to learn about your production tools and analytics (HootSuite or HubSpot, for example), your related marketing campaigns, content offers etc. They need to understand how all these things work together to drive traffic to your website and convert that traffic into leads or prospects.

Most college-level marketing classes today teach nothing about social media analytics or how to measure the ROI of your social media campaigns. But these are really easy things for you to teach them, and it will help them grow in their job and feel like they have a better handle on what they are conbributing to your company.

Keep the keys. . . and celebrate success

When you hire a new grad, or bring in an intern for your social media marketing, be sure you keep the “keys”. You need to manage them, train them, and lead them. But it’s your campaign and you need to manage it. They may have the opportunity to provide some input along the way, but it’s ultimately your job to get the marketing done. Make sure you’re setup properly to manage someone that is new to the corporate workplace.

And celebrate success! I was thrilled the first time one of my tweets got re-tweeted out to 186,000 followers. In fact, I still have a printout of that re-tweet, suitably framed.

One of our clients got two excellent sales leads only days after implementing a program designed to bring highly-target traffic to their website. We called them and made a big deal about it.

People like to have their successes acknowledged and celebrated. As the marketing manager, it’s your job to make sure all the successes in your department are recognized.

Make sure your social media policy is in place

Finally, I recommend that before you hire anyone else, for any role in your company, you get a social media policy in place. Social media is one of the ways your company reaches out to the world, and the people who use social media in your organization, eitherĀ  for professional or personal use, need to understand what your policies are.

It’s convenient to think that we can use social media to “speak our minds” separately from who we are in other enviroments, but it simple ain’t so. When I look at your social media profile, I see what company you work for. Please take the time to develop a social media policy and make everyone aware pof it before your next hire. This will help prevent some of the most egregious mistakes.

photo credit: Rachael Voorhees via flickr

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.