By Rachel Newman
I was recently the object of “all-in-good-fun” office prodding, when a coworker of mine uncovered an article that argued that companies should never entrust their social media to a 23-year old (READ HERE).
She jokingly reasoned that this article only barely applied to me because I will be 24-years old within a few days, but there were some veiled threats to send this article to the higher-ups. Ha. Ha.
Though it was only sent as a joke, I read the author’s argument and couldn’t help but to agree with most of the ideas (Point of reference: I tend to be a knitting, Mash-watching old soul). Crotchety as I am, though, there is a problem with this blanket generalization, if we all listen to the middle-aged author who reasons no one in their early-twenties can be trusted, I’m out of a job.
So here are a few ideas about managing your social media that won’t cost any of us youngsters our jobs, but might make your company’s brand and messaging more secure as well as help to make you and your 23-year old staffers a little wiser.
Just Because Our Hands Are On the Steering Wheel, Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t Have A Spare Key. I’m not going to pretend that stereotypes aren’t almost always derivative of the truth: we, of my generation, can be flighty and, at times, unreliable. If you hire a cousin of a friend of a friend, who just graduated from college and is willing to work cheap, then you shouldn’t be surprised when that recent grad decides to move suddenly and without proper notice. Make sure you know the passwords, logins and procedures for operating your social media, so that if you’re left in the dust of a young, flighty employee, you aren’t also out in the digital cold.
Don’t let your social media become an autocracy. Giving us control over something that we understand and operate well, in no way dictates that your level of involvement and control should diminish. Stand over your social media expert, learn from them, participate in the process with them, watch them like a hawk (if that’s your style).
Nobody drives well blind-folded. You wouldn’t buy a brand-new luxury car and then give the keys to your unlicensed 14 year old, would you? Think of your brand like a new car and your new social media hire like an unlicensed driver. No communications professional is going to be successful without the proper training and education. Take the time to explain to new hires your company’s values, mission and voice before you give them the keys to drive. **You should be especially wary of those controlling your messaging.
Even though I believe that I am the exception to this stereotype (whether earnestly or not), I know that my bosses wouldn’t have done their due diligence, if they hadn’t done all of the above.
Social media is an important tool in every business’ marketing arsenal. You shouldn’t just release the hounds on your unsuspecting customers. Hiring quality employees, producing quality material and getting quality ROI should always be your marketing goal. Whether you believe you can achieve this with the assistance of a 23-year old employee or a 50-year old employee is your call as a business owner, but you should always be aware of the strengths and limitations of your staff.