Top Menu

Website
Design

Website Design

Inbound
Marketing

Inbound Marketing

Workshops &
Webinars

Inbound Marketing Training

Helping Businesses Think Differently About Marketing
Empowering Them to Make It Happen

Social Media Internship: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

The Princess Bride theatrical release posterI occasionally post subjects with the subtitle, “I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”  The subtitle pays homage to one of my favorite sources of movie quotes, The Princess Bride (you can view this particular quote on YouTube).

Today I’m commenting on the current plague of companies looking to enslave college students and recent graduates in order to help them establish a presence in social media.

I subscribe to multiple Craigslist RSS feeds and every single day there is at least one advertisement from a company looking to bring in unpaid interns for various jobs.  Many of them are mundane, computer-oriented tasks but many of them look just like this one:

Do you tweet, blog and use social media like Facebook all day, every day? Are you a creative individual who can take things to completion? Does the event industry interest you? You may be the perfect fit for our next internship!

is looking for a detail oriented, knowledgeable and passionate person to help develop its’ social media campaign.

The perfect candidate will have experience in all areas of social media; Facebook, Twitter, Blogging Platforms. Have exceptional writing skills. Proficient in MAC and Basic HTML. A passion for weddings is a plus!

This is an unpaid internship, but has great potential to become a full-time position. Internship credit is available.

Please email resume. No phone calls please.

Aside from the spelling errors and poor grammar, what’s so bad about this?

Crime Doesn’t Pay

That’s right, if your internship doesn’t meet six federal legal criteria you are violating federal labor laws.  Many employers mistakenly think that they can hire unpaid interns because they are providing enough value through the experience the interns gain.  However, this is the wrong perspective. They need to consider whether or not the person materially provides value to the company.  If so, they must be paid.  If not, why are you wasting everyone’s time?

Hobbyist Vs. Professional

Let’s try rewriting the advertisement listed above using a different profession and see how it may turn out…

Norm Abram - New Yankee Workshop

Norm Abram is the seemingly superhuman master craftsman who has hosted the PBS television show, "The New Yankee Workshop" for some 20 years.

Do you caulk, paint and watch television programs like the New Yankee Workshop and This Old House all day, every day? Are you a creative individual who can take things to completion? Does the construction industry interest you? You may be the perfect fit for our next internship!

is looking for a detail oriented, knowledgeable and passionate person to help develop its residential construction business.

The perfect candidate will have experience in all areas of construction; hammers, nails, saws. Have exceptional painting skills. Proficient driving Fords and Chevys. A passion for subdivisions is a plus!

This is an unpaid internship, but has great potential to become a full-time position. Internship credit is available.

Please email resume. No phone calls please.

Sounds absurd, no?  Just because a person knows how to use a hammer or circular saw doesn’t mean they know how to build a load-bearing wall, right?  And watching Norm Abram every weekend for two years doesn’t mean you’ll be able to build a ten foot Clancy sailboat from scratch.  Knowing how to use tools does not mean that a person understands how to design, finance, construct, and sell a home.

Well, just because a student posts pictures of friends’ compromising antics on Facebook and has a few thousand followers on Twitter doesn’t mean they understand how to effectively architect, implement, and measure a social media marketing campaign.  That’s even assuming that the business already understands how the social media marketing strategy will fit into its overall marketing strategy, but they frequently do not.

What’s the Harm?

Here is a short list of some of the missteps that can lead to more harm than good:

, , , , , , ,

Manchester, NH | 603-606-5937 | [email protected]