By Aoife Gorey
Guest post by Sarah Watson
In a recent article on Inc.com, 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media, Hollis Thomases asserts that millennials aren’t mature enough or responsible enough to handle a company’s online brand.
The title caught my attention because one, I’m 22, and two; I’ve been entrusted with two organizations’ social media brands already. As a recent college graduate who studied public relations and marketing, I find this to be a sweeping over-generalization and even slightly insulting. While it’s true that some 23-year-olds are incapable of responsibly managing an organization’s online presence, it’s also true of some 43-year-olds. The old adage, “age is just a number,” may be a cliché, but in this situation it is most certainly true. In a previous job, I witnessed a 24 year old Social Media Manager train a conference room full of 50+ year old experienced sales and marketing professionals on the ‘how-to’ and best practices of social media.
I, for example, was trained for months before being responsible for my organization’s corporate social media accounts. I firmly believe that it was because of my experience, enthusiasm and passion for this new age ‘shift in the way we communicate’, that I was entrusted with the job.
In response to Thomases, here are five reasons why I think millennials are good for your organization’s social media presence:
- We’ve Studied It –Thomases writes that, “Just because you don’t understand social media doesn’t mean you should forfeit all common sense and hire…any other recent college grad (say, your best friend’s sister-in-law’s kid) because ‘they’re really good on Facebook.’” That’s true, but you should hire someone (recent college graduate or not) who understands the true impact of social media, and there are plenty of young people who do. Additionally, recent PR and marketing grads like myself have researched and studied the impact of social media. We understand that social media must have a targeted purpose and plan, and must be more than just a fan page on Facebook.
- We Grew Up With It – We don’t need “Social Media for Dummies” to decode a ‘like’ on Facebook or a ‘retweet’ on Twitter. Thomases argues, “Many young people have not yet learned the “art” of communicating.” Sure, many have not, but many older workers haven’t either, especially over the Internet. As millennials, our primary form of communication is social media and, as such, we may be more equipped to communicate with your customers on social media than anyone else.
- We Offer a Fresh Perspective – Young people see things differently and can bring unique, creative ideas to your brand. We’ve been exposed to more targeted marketing efforts than most and can offer valuable suggestions on what has worked and what has not.
- We’re Trustworthy – Just because we are young, it doesn’t mean we are immature and untrustworthy. Anyone who made it through college by 23 and is seeking full-time employment didn’t do it by being untrustworthy. We did by working hard and making the right decisions. As we all know, age doesn’t necessarily reflect someone’s level of maturity. Everyone is different and their level of maturity depends on many different factors. It is the responsibility of the hiring manager to make sure they are hiring the right person for the job, whether that is a 20-something or a 50-something.
- We can Relate to Your Audience – Care to venture a guess on the largest age group on social media? Surprise, surprise, its young people. Depending on your business, 20-somethings know better than most how to reach other young people.
Oh, and one last point, we love it! Just like many of my friends and colleagues climbing the career ladder, I love and firmly believe in the power of social media. Automatic employee engagement and job dedication; a beautiful sound to any employer’s ears.
Ms. Thomases makes many valid points, however, the problems she describes don’t stem from hiring recent grads. This article would have been much more accurate if she had titled it, “Make Sure You Hire The Right Person To Manage Your Social Media.” The bottom line is that social media is critical, as is how your company chooses to use it. It’s vital that you make sure you hire the right person for the job. You need to be able to trust your hire with your company’s voice online. While you certainly shouldn’t hire, “your best friend’s sister-in-law’s kid” because “they’re really good on Facebook,” you also shouldn’t hire someone who lacks the necessary skills, work ethic, trust, and knowledge that are vital in any hire. (Rise Performance Group can help you with that, check out what they can do for you here.)
I believe experience and knowledge must be considered first and foremost. When it comes to your organization’s social media presence, make sure you entrust it to the right person for the job, no matter their age.
What do you think? Should 23-year-olds be allowed handle corporate social media accounts with sufficient training? Do you have a Social Media Manager in your organization?