Interns and social media can seem like the perfect combination. On the one hand, you have a group of young, ambitious people who (usually) have really strong computer and social networking skills. On the other, you’ve got small businesses that know they need to be making more of websites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but fear they don’t have the time and money to use them effectively.

Unfortunately, using an intern as your social media manager is usually a pretty bad idea, akin to giving someone the keys to an expensive car before they know how to drive. Why? Here are just a few of the biggest reasons:

Interns may know social media, but they don’t know marketing, branding, or customer service. Because your website and social profiles are such an important hub of communications these days, it’s important that they work in conjunction with your existing marketing and branding efforts. Your intern isn’t going to have the necessary background or expertise to effectively handle these tasks.

The potential for disaster is too high. In my workshops, I like to share tweets that have been sent by interns thinking they were being funny or creative. In some cases, they caused massive damage to well-known businesses and brands, clicking “send” without thinking things through. Again, you don’t want to trust the public face of your business to someone who isn’t ready for the responsibility.

Social media can be a great avenue for attracting sales and building customer relationships. This gets overlooked, but it’s maybe the most important reason. When social media marketing is done right, it can be a powerful tool for growth. That doesn’t require a huge investment of time or money, but you should trust an Internet marketing team, not someone who’s trying to get educational credits.

Using interns for social media marketing is a bad idea and hurts your credibility and continuity all at once (what happens when the intern leaves?). If you really want to make the right impression through Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels, get in touch with Tammy Finch today and see how she can help.