business / Management / Marketing

The Social Media Intern – A complete Non-Sense?

 As I have announced in our Week-in Preview I am going to take a look at one big party that realizes online marketing in today’s business world – especially in young start-ups.

Website Localization and Social Media are both crucial parts of implementing a successful marketing strategy. Web Localization has been treated by me intensively in my previous posts. Thus, there is social media which offers great opportunities to companies to get rid of middlemen and closely obtain contact to the customer which is perfectly explained in‘s post  “8 reasons why your company needs a social media manager” written by Muthuri Kinyamu.

Social Media Intern or Manager?

According to Muthuri Kinyamu social media is THE future overall strategy for many companies involving sales, HR, customer service, marketing and PR all together. From his viewpoint it takes a lot of effort and skills to perform well in the field of social media. That is why he heavily criticizes companies who realize their social media work by (unpaid) interns. He doubts in sufficient return on investment for social media expenses while making an intern perform the tasks a professionally trained social media manager should do.

However Kinyamu advocates hiring interns in social media who work under a manager and get trained intensively by somebody who has sufficient professional experience in that particular field.

“Managing social media corporate accounts can be overwhelming as it is a 24/7/365 days job! It’s not something an organization should take a break from, you need consistency and monitoring brands and conversations around your campaign and brand touch point”

Cheap Solution?

Why do companies hire interns? Why do students do internships?Bildschirmfoto 2013-01-13 um 21.48.34

The logic is simple. Students need experience nowadays to get enough experience to finally gain the necessary experience to finally get hired (finally for a real job). Companies however need cheap labour, additional labour, want to recruit young professionals right after they finish their degree – of course with completely neutral intensions. These are all hypothesis but are (unpaid) internships to be considered as valuable experience or rather as exploitation?

In “Unpaid internships – valuable experience or exploitation” on it is discussed that he labour market is competitive, more than probably ever before. According to this post’s author the benefits of an internships are obvious: Theoretically trained students can get an insight in their career area and acquire skills with the intention to be able to apply them in their future positions. Moreover an internship can constitute a great opportunity for extending a professional network which can increase chances for future internships and jobs. Sometimes a successful internship can also result in a permanent job afterwards.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO of however claims in her article on that an internship should offer more than no pay, too much work and little contribution/recognition. In her article Sweeney explains that a successful internship program should be based on a mutual and fair exchange and reward every party involved. Sweeney says:

” I personally believe it’s important to offer interns a wage, particularly since so many of them are college students working, and in many cases self-funding, their way through their education”

Unpaid internships could therefore be considered as an option for those who are privileged and can afford following one.  Now one could argue that Social Media requires professionals working in this department since it can add a high value to the business. Social media is therefore frequently associated with investment. So for a business willing to succeed in their social media strategies, they should rely on professionally trained managers in social media who could however give training to interns for recruitment purposes. In this case hiring only interns is in fact not the smartest idea as Kinyamu has explain in his post. A social media internship has therefore to be guided by a professional in order to achieve the best benefits for the intern and the company.


5 thoughts on “The Social Media Intern – A complete Non-Sense?

  1. Hey Vik!

    Wow, what an interesting Post!
    You gave a Preview and I think your outlook is great – although I am surprised that it is outside your usual language topic, which again makes me curious to know more about it.
    Especially your outline, your subheading, use of Quote and Picture is very aesthetic and displays the content well I think.
    Maybe you could use Storytelling to really engage the reader? Like how you got to change your topic and explore a new one?
    Let’s discuss this over a cup of coffee like you suggested.
    See you soon, Charlene

  2. A very interesting and well done post. I like it how you combined your last posts. You digged deeper into the topic, did further research and revealed your criticism. The research you made is of a high level. The structure of your post is very clear and easy to understand. Your headline is eye-catching and makes me want to read more.
    All in all, GREAT. The only thing I would like to say is that I’m missing a personal input. I would have loved to hear a personal introduction, why the topic interest me,…, but this is just a personal opinion. Good Work!

  3. Thanks both of you for your comments! I have really needed to get some feedback because I could assess – after hours of research and writing – if it all makes sense. I see both your points and I completely agree that I could’ve add some story telling or give more personal input. I guess I already know how to avoid that problem in my next post. I must say that both of you have a great style of commenting and it helped me a lot. Thanks for that!

  4. A really insightful blog which helps draw attention to an important topic. As the writer of the leedsunicareers blog about unpaid internships it is interesting to see how this topic of unpaid internships can be related to a growing area. I think internships are extremely valuable to both the work experience seeker and the company and I think your blog clearly makes the point that companies will get a lot more benefit if they structure these opportunities and give reasonable remuneration.

  5. Hey Barrie.
    Thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate it a lot! And I totally agree with you, I believe that internships are one of the most important parts of education. I am personally going to start one next week. I hope I will be able to give positive feedback on that issue afterwards. Thank again for your feedback.
    Good luck with your blog and all the best.

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