Why college students shouldn’t handle social media

College students and recent college graduates love social media.  According to a January 2012 survey published by CampusLIVE (now DailyBreak), 73% of college students use some form of social media in their everyday lives.  For many people, this is indicative of a young culture that has grown up with social media all around them.  (Or maybe it just accounts for a lot of UCF students Facebooking during class.)
It can be tempting to hire a student or college graduate to handle your company’s social media.  Hiring a student is typically cheaper than hiring a Florida marketing agency to handle your social media, but is this really a good idea?

Consider the case of Red Cross, where a social media specialist sent out a drunken Tweet from the highly respected organization’s Twitter account.  The message said in part, “…when we drink we do it right #gettinslizzered.”  The person who sent the Tweet, Gloria Huang, admitted in a follow-up message that her error was based on her unfamiliarity with how to properly use Hootsuite, a social media management application.  Such an oversight has the substantial capacity to diminish a brand’s strength. (Although, it was HILARIOUS to see that post coming from a leading non-profit).

While this particular case was an employee error, it has major implications as to the types of harm that can result from inexperienced users “#gettinslizzered” on the job.  A brand’s social media is an extension of its identity, and in the same way Apple would never risk its impeccable reputation by putting its social media in the hands of someone who just passed the legal drinking age, it may not be wise to entrust your own brand to someone with little experience in brand management strategies.  Even at a local level, working with an Orlando advertising agency will allow your business to more effectively leverage trending topics and popular events in order to ensure that your business’s social media truly is an embodiment of your brand.

Contrary to what many people think, it takes significant time and effort to manage a company’s social media.  For most businesses, social strategy should be framed as its own entity, rather than as an extension of editorialized brand content.  Of course, if your social media strategy requires more of a plan than posting puppy photos and keeping your fingers crossed for the best, it might require more resources.  As such, it may be in your business’s best interest to hire an Orlando marketing agency with a division dedicated to social media.

Media experts, such as those with a full-fledged advertising and media agency background, fully comprehend the tactics behind successful marketing, advertising and customer service.  These individuals attend conferences and seminars pertaining to social media growth and expansion, and have a much deeper understanding of the consumer cycle from an overall brand strategy perspective.  For example, who might be a better person to run your FourSquare brand page account than the social media expert who just spent her dinner discussing the state of the industry with Dennis Crowley?  (Here’s a hint: it’s probably not the girl who just spent her dinner eating Ramen while discussing the state of Seal and Heidi Klum’s breakup.)

Just because a person can write a few funny Tweets doesn’t mean that individual can understand the significance of the Facebook API, or knows how to effectively pull and apply complex data analytics for future use.  These extremely valuable facets help companies build strong and compelling multi-pronged social media strategies, and can help to elicit customer engagement by doing more than posting random comments about the VMAs and the Kardashian family that don’t effectively generate a future return.

Social media has the potential to reach millions of people in seconds.  A social media goof can lead to a public relations disaster that can cause a consumer perception to sink faster than the Titanic (read: the recent case of Progressive Insurance), and the risk of such faux pas is greater with someone who lacks the experience to understand what it means to manage and maintain a brand identity.

As with most digital content strategies, it’s typically better to invest in resources to find a person who has demonstrated digital media marketing capabilities.  At even the most fundamental levels, it can be extremely difficult to execute social media engagement, even for seasoned professionals.  Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider whether it makes sense to have a student manage the online presence of the entire brand.  If you do opt to go in this direction rather than working with the experts at an Orlando ad firm, you may find your brand strategy schooled by the professionals.

If all this has given you something to Tweet home about, contact us as we offer a full multi-pronged advertising and social media approach to help you develop and maintain a branding plan that won’t come down with a case of senioritis.

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