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David Wither

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How to Train A Social Media Intern


According to a recent study, one in every three people in the world use at least one social media platform regularly. Despite that fact that prospects are using social media constantly, only 60% of organizations say they can track social media ROI reliably.

Given that social media marketing represents an important channel for businesses to optimize, and that achieving ROI is a challenge, how can business leaders train social media interns to use platforms in an ROI positive manner?

This article will help marketers and other business leaders to properly train social media interns so that they are able to use various platforms in a manner that truly benefits your organization.

Teach them brand guidelines

Three years after the tragic Boston marathon bombing, Adidas published a tweet congratulating 2017 race finishers by saying “you survived the Boston marathon.”

When thousands of protesters gathered at JFK airport in New York City to protest the Trump administration’s travel ban, Uber published a social media message about wait times at the airport – prompting thousands to start a “#deleteuber” social media campaign.

These are just two or many recent stories that have occurred because brands fail to properly train social media marketers about brand guidelines. Slack is an example of an organization with clear social media guidelines that governs how all social media marketers use various platforms. From Twitter posts, to Facebook ads, marketers within the organization know what is expected of them when representing the brand online.

Ensure they understand how to provide social media customer support

About 33% of customers prefer receiving customer support over social media instead of the phone and about 70% of customers have turned to social media to receive customer support. It is important that social media interns be trained to properly provide social media based customer support. Chances are, your customers will expect your organization to be highly responsive to their needs if they shared on social media.

Usually, a good rule of thumb for social media customer support, is to reply to issues as quickly as possible. Once the customer is engaged, the conversation should be moved to an “offline” channel immediately. The last thing you want to do is publicly deal with customer support issues on social media. Instead, moving the conversation to phone, email, or even direct message will usually be the best course of action. Make sure to run through social media support simulations with the intern and to debrief them after real support cases.

It is important to emphasize this area of training because customers that have a support issue resolved in their favor, will do business with your organization again 70% of the time. Failing to resolve an issue, will mean missed future business and poor brand reputation.

Provide a clear metrical goal

Interns should be given responsibility, and goals that are tied to measurable outcomes. Providing interns with a KPI (key performance indicator) can help them to prioritize their tasks, and to remain focused and motivated throughout the internship experience. Some of the metrics you should consider include follower growth, follower engagement, website visits from social media networks and or brand reach.

Metrics related to follower growth, and engagement can easily be accessed on most social media platforms. Metrics related to website visitors, or to website behavior from visitors who were referred by a social media outlet can be collected using a tool like Google Analytics. Brand reach is probably the most challenging metric to measure. One way to approximate this is by measuring the number of branded search engine queries that are conducted within a specific period of time, then see if this number increases as social media campaigns progress. Tools like Moz, or SEMrush (among others) can help you to measure branded search queries.

Educate them about the field and the audience

An important part of social media marketing is curating valuable content to share on each platform. In order for this to be done well, a social media intern needs to be educated about your organization’s industry and about the target audience.

A review of the most reputable platforms in the industry, common challenges faced by your target customer, and examples of content that has performed well on social media in the past will help your social media intern to quickly achieve ROI.


Investing in a dedicated social media intern, can free other employees up to deal with more strategic tasks, while also helping your brand to grow online. Before setting an intern loose on various social networks, be sure to provide them with extensive training. Reviewing brand guidelines, industry information, and the target audience can help them to create a successful strategy that is based on clear KPIs. In order to protect your brand, it also makes sense to review social media support guidelines with examples of how to handle challenging customer conversations online. 


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