Many brands like to have a couple extra hands on deck to help with their social presence. By now, you’ve all met my wonderful social media intern, Audrey. Before plucking Audrey from UW for a summer internship, we wanted to be sure that we knew exactly what we wanted her to do. As a former social media Intern myself, I can attest to the lack of clarity within organizations about what an social media intern’s job should actually look like.

Hiring an intern without a plan or project for them to do sucks for everyone. To prevent you from experiencing this with your next intern, here are a few things you can do that will benefit your brand and give your intern some tangible hands-on experience!

Product or Consumer Research

The great thing about working for a social media analytics company that serves social marketers is that when we hire a social marketer, they are a perfect guinea pig for testing and getting feedback on our product. In our case, we asked Audrey to dive into the Simply Measured app. This gives us a great opportunity to observe use cases, as well as collect any other qualitative feedback she might have.

The synergy of intern and target customer might not be there for your brand, as it is for ours, but you can have your intern conduct meaningful product and consumer research in a variety of different ways!

For example, ask your intern to do a competitive audit. Dive into the social presences and strategies of your competitors, surfacing takeaways and lessons that you can use to inform your social strategy down the road.

Create Content Calendars

Another thing you can ask your social media intern to contribute to is social media content calendars.

When I was fresh to social, one of my favorite things to do was plan out content. This is something your social media intern can sink their teeth into! Just before you do so, make sure they get a primer on the company, the product, and the messaging your brand uses.

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Plan Campaigns

Yep, it’s true. You can even ask your Social Media Intern to plan some campaigns for you. Whether you want your intern to plan it out start-to-finish or simply give some input, there’s no reason why social marketers shouldn’t ask for help here.

Example of

Fresh eyes for a campaign are really helpful. Hopefully, your Social Media Intern shows an aptitude for creative social marketing and planning (like ours does!).

Community Management

Another thing your Social Media Intern could (and probably should, given the title) do, is hop on social every now and then. I know it’s scary to turn over the keys to anybody, but Sprout has features that let you keep an eye on things.

Sprout Social publishing calendar view

Sprout allows you to collaborate on all things publishing-related. Although Audrey has nearly graduated this stage, you can also add a layer of permissions, requiring all posts to be approved by an editor. This will help my fellow vigilant and picky social marketers out there. You can also help yourself by placing an extreme amount of emphasis on finding an intern who is smart and responsible (not to brag again, but, mine is).

Do Some Reporting

A great way for a social media intern to learn about your presence is to ask them to report on its performance. You can either ask the intern to come up with their own method of measurement, or have them adopt yours.

Audrey dives into Simply Measured, updates our dashboard, and sends me a summary at the beginning of every week.

engagement dashboard example

Let me tell you, this is super helpful — not just for tracking how our social media is performing, but to measure how she’s improving, as well.

Don’t leave your intern hanging. They’re coming to you to learn, not just for resumé fodder, so give them something they can sink their teeth into.