Maintaining your personal relationships is beyond important to your career. By keeping in contact with your friends from school, opportunities could arise for you personally or professionally, or possibly create opportunities for the company you work for. Social Media is a great way to keep tabs on these relationships without having to put in four hours a day on the phone. Personally, I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, making sure I know what’s going on within my networks and reading the articles LinkedIn suggests I might like.
A week or so ago, LinkedIn suggested I check out an article titled 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media. The gist of the article is Don’t give someone access to your branding and marketing who doesn’t know what your branding and marketing goals are but the title in and of itself is offensive. I wasn’t even 23 yet when I was hired to help run a web design and internet marketing firm.
Based on the age restriction the article’s title implies, there are few people in my office who would be qualified to run my social media, and they’re developers or software architects. So here you have the retaliatory 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Can Run Your Social Media (or, why I think I deserve to keep my job).
Remember that conversation you had with your mom/dad/grandpa/teacher while you were in high school, and they tried to sound “cool”? How they started to use slang words they had heard but didn’t fully understand? Nothing is more embarrassing than hearing someone claim to be really good at “Twittering” by sending “twits”. People just out of college have always been around social media, and they know the difference between a newsfeed and a wall.
2. They will be more efficient.
Studies show that young people are as likely to use social media as they use email. That means that if the person you are considering for your social media manager uses email regularly, they probably won’t need any training outside of how you want to track your metrics and any specific brand qualities you want to promote. They will be able to post things across social networks with ease, without you as the employer having to take the time to train them. Win-win!
3. They know what the trends are.
Have you heard about that new-fangled thing called Instagram? I guess it was purchased by The Facebook… But your recent college grads (or high school grads, or young people with work experience and no degree – you know my thoughts on hiring credentials) already have and use Instagram. They understand Pinterest. They have a favorite Tumblr. And they understand what each network is good for – and not good for. You’ll be able to bank on their knowledge for ideas on how to successfully use these networks to your advantage, not your disadvantage.
4. They provide a fresh perspective.
Your social media strategy might be outdated. You might be making a major faux pas that is evident to younger generations but not to you. You might be leaving out some really great content that your target markets would love to hear about. Getting someone from a different generation or even just a different background can give you great perspective on areas where you can make things better.
5. Cheese perception.
You know those chain emails your grandma sends you with the inspiring powerpoints? Those are cheesy. Those websites from 2002 we all made on Angelfire? Cheesy. Myspace? Unless you’re a band or a record company, cheesy.
The 23-year-old you’ve been warned about hiring knows that the Internet is a community that is evolving and that what was once cool doesn’t necessarily fly anymore. Just as they will tell you that Nickelback is not real music, they can tell the difference between what is cheesy on the internet and what isn’t.
6. They interact with other brands on social media.
Like us on Facebook! The social media generation actually does. And they participate. Contests to become Charlie Sheen’s intern, spreading videos to change the world; They know the power of social media, because they helped give social media that power.
7. They crowdsource.
When I was in college, any time I needed an idea, I would turn to social media. Before a club meeting, “Hey Twitter, what are some hot topics for my political club meeting?” And someone would send me suggestions. Before a paper, “Do any of my Facebook friends know about the German economy?” And people would post links.
This same concept can be used both on social media to ask questions relevant to your brand/product/organization, or within your company to get more ideas about what needs to be syndicated across your networks.
That image of Willy Wonka making a sarcastic face that you saw circulating? That’s a meme. And the younger generation understands how to effectively create them. What could be more effective than creating a clever meme relevant to your brand, shared 100s of times across social media? If each share credits your organization, that’s free publicity. The other article argues that 23-year-olds aren’t mature, but mature and authoritative social media isn’t going to be interesting to your end user unless you’re The Weather Channel.
9. They have friends on social media.
We’ve been warned that you can’t control your social media manager’s friends – but if they are well networked, they might know other social media managers. Interacting with other brands with the cooperation of their friends can make your business look active, open, and friendly, three of the most important characteristics for your social media presence.
10. The paper-to-digital transition.
Growing up, I remember going to get the newspaper for my dad every morning. Now, I don’t have to get out of bed to check the news – I check my email and social networks with one eye open every morning, and I never had to cancel a newspaper subscription to get to this routine. Reliance on new media is second-nature to my generation, and the archaic formatting and lengthy content are old news to us, and anyone looking to learn about you online.