How to Create a Thorough Social Media Internship Program

Marissa Heckman
By Marissa Heckman

For companies that give their interns valuable, meaningful work instead of coffee runs and faxing, proper onboarding and training is imperative to success. This blog post will outline the steps that are necessary to ensure that you are not only training your intern to be their best, but also sufficiently supporting them along the way.

Onboarding

After all of the interviews and assessments, you have finally found the golden few that are given the opportunity to intern at your company for the semester (or longer). Do not underestimate day one, as it truly sets the stage for the expected attitude and motivation moving forward. Here are a few ways to set up your internship program for success on day one:

1. Have a Thorough Schedule for Your Intern

In order for them to fully understand what they should expect to learn from the company, and what is expected of them, offer a brief outline of the tasks or training to come throughout the next few months. If it’s a lot of paperwork, walk through it together. Marketing jargon and month’s worth of trainings can be a lot to handle on the first day, especially without context.

2. Sit Down & Create 3 Semester-Long Goals

Setting three realistic goals for your intern to strive towards completing throughout their internship will help set the stage for goal fulfillment, hold them accountable, and help you better understand as an Intern Manager what they are hoping to learn.

3. Create an Overall Checklist

Having a full workload on top of managing interns is no easy feat. A checklist of the absolute main things you want an intern to learn within a certain department will help keep priorities in check (pun intended). Hold them accountable for checking each main objective off throughout the semester and coming to you if anything is left unchecked as the semester nears its end.

Training

This will be different for each department, however, one thing remains the same across any industry. Upon beginning a new task, people need support and training more than ever. Set up a training before each new task or project an intern encounters. This can be as much as weekly or biweekly at the beginning of the internship and will taper off as time goes on.

Social Media Content Calendar

For Organic Social in particular, it is essential to have proper training at every single task in order to avoid any slip-ups prior to content going live. Below is a list of trainings that may be imperative to your company’s social success:

  1. Community Management: Training your intern to understand your brand voice, customer service, and level/form of engagement with your followers on social.
  2. Outreach Methods: Are you actively engaging, messaging, commenting, or tweeting at potential new followers? If so and if you plan on having your intern help, training on topics to discuss, accounts to target, and verbiage to use will be necessary.
  3. Content Creation: This may include trainings within Photoshop, on copywriting, and overall social strategy.
  4. Scheduling: Self explanatory, but scheduling or posting content may be new to interns, especially from business accounts. Training an intern on how to navigating within Business Facebook, Tweetdeck, and so forth, as well as how to properly schedule, will ensure that posts go live on time and in the appropriate fashion.
  5. Social Ads 101: Offer a brief training on how social ads work, how to create and ad, and the overall strategy you have in place for a particular client or brand. If nothing more, guide them through how to boost a post and create an audience.
  6. Strategy Overview: As Social Media Managers, we all understand that we do not post just to post. There is always a specific reason. Enlighten your intern on the complete social strategy. Whether is be the strategy behind giveaways, influencer partnerships, or tactics to grow an audience, this information is usually new to an intern and can help them better innovate creative ideas for you!
  7. Reporting & Presenting: This includes not only training an intern on how to pull metrics and create a report, but also what the numbers mean and what story to tell when presenting those numbers.

Check-Ins

Weekly check-ins are a great way to ensure that you are sufficiently supporting your interns. Whether it be weekly reports of what they have learned and completed, interests/areas of opportunity to learn more, their high and low of the week, or a formal review, such as 15five, a regular check-in allows you to know how your intern is feeling. It is better to address something right away, positive and negative, than to never know and never address.

Reviews & Reports

Create two formal reports in a survey fashion for your intern to fill out at the middle of their internship course and towards the end. A few questions can include:

  1. What aspects of your internship do you find most rewarding? Most challenging?
  2. Are you receiving enough supervision from your manager? If not, please elaborate so that we can help.
  3. What projects/activities would you like to try or have interest in that we can help you with?

These reports allow your interns to express any red flags, as well as their interests, learnings, and pain points. Alongside these virtual reports, take an intern out for a quick coffee chat for face-to-face time to review their internship experience and how they would like to continue to grow.

Task Allocation

Organization is key for tasking interns projects or one-of tasks. Offer a full description of the project or task and a deadline. If this is an ongoing task, make sure that the intern knows to execute daily or weekly, etc. Keep everything clear and in one spot, such as Asana.

Final Project

Let your intern show off to the team! Assign a final project towards the end of the semester where your intern can take the lessons and learning from the entire semester and create their own complete deliverable. This will allow your intern to do a project without guidance from A-Z and feel self-accomplished. Bonus if you allow you intern to present this piece of work to your team for full attention on their abilities and work.

Wrapping Up

Overall, a thorough social media program will incorporate real work with adequate trainings. An exceptional program will also include meaningful support and check-ins to make sure the individual is supported while learning.

Interested in learning more about our internship program? Check out our different offerings here.

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Marissa is an Organic Social Media Specialist at Power Digital. Born and raised in California, she enjoys working in the digital space to practice and enhance her strategic and creative thinking. Having graduated top of her class at SDSU, she finds enjoyment in the ever-changing and challenging world of marketing.