The advertising Padawan often has two choices to continue their career: account management, or graphic design… but rarely the social media internship.
You daydream about scrolling through social media feeds for a living as your professors’ lectures corral you into using one side of your brain. Group work means you either become: 1) an analytical, number-spitting machine that emphasizes your agency’s ROI to a client, or 2) a bespectacled hipster who pops a vein when the client tells says, “Make it pop!”
All you want is to be paid to double-tap on Instagram all day, to tweet with or without those extra 140 characters, and to draft the strategy behind all of it. Yes, your dream is to be a social media intern, and you’re not sure how to get there in a curriculum that hasn’t quite caught up yet.
Never fear: these are the social media internship lessons you’re looking for.
1. Lesson: People post ads on social media.
Lesson learned: They way you post ads on social media involve an entire suite filled with capabilities.
What your teachers didn’t tell you about the sponsored posts in your feed is that a social media manager (or intern) crafted that post, scheduled it, and put money behind it in a separate feature of the social media platform. A platform like Business Manager is the modern-day Death Star – it’s incredibly powerful and can target with precise accuracy. Your supervisor in a social media internship should be able to teach you how to turn feed scrollers into high spenders.
2. Lesson: Your final project should focus on using permanent posts.
Lesson learned: Disappearing content isn’t disappearing anytime soon.
In the classroom, it’s easier to grade a post that “lives forever.” Stories are new and it’s seen as a waste of time to spend hours and hours on content that will be gone in a day. We over here find your lack of faith in stories disturbing — they’re incredibly popular. Brands, businesses, and even agencies are using them to show behind-the-scenes and invite influencers. Creative agencies like Chatterkick embrace the Instagram Story to share tips about the social media world and engage their audience.
3. Lesson: Don’t hop on the bandwagon too quickly - you may make a PR fail.
Lesson learned: Trendwatching - and trendsetting - is crucial.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Product Team at Facebook had a test quota every week. If you notice your favorite brand doing something nifty on their platform (take, for example, Facebook Polls), it’s probably because someone on that social media team noticed an article pointing that feature out, smacked the table, and said, “We have to try this!” While I was a social media intern here, I noticed that many brands were using “react to votes” as a post style, so I made a post for us using that style. At the end of the day, treat a new feature like a paper. Do your research beforehand, look up examples, and don’t try to do it all at once. Like Master Yoda said: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
4. Lesson: SEO is important for websites.
Lesson learned: SEO still matters on social media.
“SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization,’” my professor said. I don’t remember anything else, because there wasn’t much information after that.
Here’s what Chatterkick taught me as a social media intern: use hashtags and consistent keywords, even on social media. Use lots of links to showcase expertise and that you’ve done your research. The two work together to boost a brand in the digital space.
5. Lesson: Detail, detail, detail.
Lesson learned: Brevity is better, even when your character count increases.
Long gone are the days where bigger meant better. Nowadays, brevity is better. HubSpot, the world’s leading marketing and sales software, says that brands are now fighting for attention over space. Think about it. It’s easy to scroll past a long paragraph of text, but not so for a colorful and captioned video. One of the most challenging things about being a social media intern is trimming a post to make it more digestible for your audience. On events, for example, you can come up with a witty caption and put the rest on the graphic attached.
6. Lesson: Most of what you need to do can be done on the computer.
Lesson learned: App-ly yourself.
Your coworkers will be busy with clients and deadlines. That’s where you come in as a social media intern, the expert on all app-licable tools to make things easier for yourself and for your team. Snapseed, for example, is great for editing photos before you post them. There are plenty of them out there, and they all exist to make your job easier. Set aside some time every week to explore new apps in our galaxy.
7. Lesson: You will have a few group projects in one social media class.
Lesson learned: Teamwork makes the dream work.
Remember all of those group projects in college? Imagine that, but a bajillion times more. Every day I have a meeting - anywhere from five minutes to an hour and a half. Very rarely do I work on solo projects, and if I do, they require some kind of review and collaboration down the line. A social media intern doesn’t just post on social — you must be social. Rather than a big, final project in class — you have about ten going on, all at the same time, with different deadlines. Stay on target!
8. Lesson: Everyone gets the best ideas when they talk to each other and work off of that.
Lesson learned: The calm before the brainstorm is where the best content lives.
In those quiet moments before the team comes together with their ideas, spend a few minutes scrolling on your own. Discover what competitors are doing. Spend time on your personal feed and see what kind of ads are targeted to you. When you have smaller tasks and more free time than your supervisors, use it to explore. It still counts as working. Finding inspiration is crucial to making inspirational content.
9. Lesson: Follow the rules of the business world.
Lesson learned: Follow influencers and implement their methods into content.
One must always implement professionalism in creating content, but don’t be scared to imitate what a person is doing for their content. On Instagram Stories, several people will doodle and add emoji, whereas a brand may be hesitant to do so. Product-based clients are great for this: draw arrows around the product in your Story, or add some exciting emoji to spice up that Story. Keep consistent.
10. Lesson: You can do things with social, but have you considered account management?
Lesson learned: Social media is not a joke.
Agencies like Chatterkick understand the value of social, and place it in the hands of qualified people to implement it. More and more marketers are forsaking billboards and magazines for an online audience. You don’t get to kick back and scroll on feeds all day. It’s hard work to come up with posts that will engage with potential customers and will provide value to the noncomitted browser.
If you’re passionate about the digital world, and want to pursue a social media internship — why not reach out to us for our Social Media Intern or Social Media Resident positions? We’re one with the Force, and the Force is with us.