Social Media Interns: 3 Steps to a Successful Intern Program

There have been countless blog posts and articles about not letting interns do social media for you. Well I call bluff on these articles. There is a place for interns in the social media world. Let me clarify, interns shouldn’t direct your social media efforts, but they can certainly provide much needed resources in our busy lives.

Here are a couple of examples of what duties they can own and how to make sure they don’t make critical mistakes!

Step 1: Specific Planning

In order for any social media program to scale, you need the human resources available. Your homework is to first put together the strategy and tactics. Be as specific as possible in your planning. Then put together an editorial calendar for your intern. In the editorial calendar, leave enough room for creativity and spontaneity, while also having specific pieces of content ready for deployment or inserted into the editorial process.

Step 2: Social Media Policy

The second order of business is to create a social media policy. If you’re not sure where to start, think about all the things that might happen if you let someone go rogue online. No one wants this, so if you’re not sure where to start, contact your attorney, and there are a bunch of resources online for social media policies. (courtesy of @ericschwartzman)

Step 3: Training

The third order of business is devising a training program for any new interns coming onboard. Training topics should start broad and get to specifics as you go along. Some of the topics that are a good place to start:


For some, they still don’t believe interns should be doing social media, but I think these are also the same people that don’t have the discipline to put together the proper framework for a successful social media program.

Yes, it takes work, but it’s essential if you want scale your program beyond one person. It’s going to happen eventually, so why not test it on someone who is eager to learn in the first place? Following this process will allow to have the proper checks and balances to protect your online brand, no matter who’s handling your social media.

Have you used an intern for your social media program? Was it successful, and did you put the preceding measures in place?

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About Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson is the Director of Client Services for Social Media HQ. He has a strong background in web development, marketing, and entrepreneurship. His professional experience with the web dates back to 1997 when he coded his first Geocities website. When not burning the midnight oil, you can find him on the lacrosse field, playing or coaching. The best place to interact with him is Twitter - @socialrobinson or Google+.
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  • Dane Cobain

    Good work as always, guys. I think there’s always a place for interns, otherwise how are people supposed to learn? Besides, social media is a team effort – it’s not just one guy with an iPad. While an intern might not be the best person to entrust the creation of a social media strategy with, their insights will be valuable and the actual content creation and the implementation of the strategy can be carried out by a capable intern with just a little supervision. 

    • Nick Robinson

      Thanks Dane. I felt like I had to say something after reading countless articles on the subject. I, as an example, wouldn’t survive without interns. I also include them in the strategy sessions, so they will eventually take over that part. As always, you’re the man!