There was a lively discussion on Spin Sucks about how a dying company in the UK (CD Music chain…like they still exist!) closed some stores and laid off workers. One of their employees a 21 year old Poppy Powers (of Iron Man fame) decided she had nothing to lose and used the company account @HMVTweets to publicly diss the company who employed her.
The main point of the post was to show Brands how to help prevent rogue employees hijack their Social Media Accounts because even though HMV caught and deleted the tweets, many people had always taken screen shots and it went viral (calling Sweden anyone?)
I wound up tweeting that a big brand is crazy to give a senior social media role to someone so young. And one of Poppy’s friends attacked me on Twitter calling me old and stupid (this proving why a 21 year old shouldn’t have the keys to your brand).
I replied to my detractor a kid is not qualified to:
1] Handle or plan for crisis management – they haven’t experienced crises or been around enough to see the other train wrecks to learn from.
2] Community Management – Would a 21 year old know that having porn link sam on your Brand’s Facebook Page is not good? What about if a post goes viral with people fighting and cursing? Etc.
3) Strategy - what to post, why post it, who to follow, who to connect with, what are the Brand goals for social etc. How to pursue Blogger and Media outreach.
4) Opportunity Discovery – I have 14 years direct sales experience. I know what an opportunity for my client presents itself. I might see the perfect Twitter Chat announced by a key client. Or see a Media person of importance was going to come visit (or maybe I will generate that by connecting). Or maybe I will see a target company pissed at my client’s competitor in my Twitter feed? Would a 21 year old notice and react to a major quality assurance issue showing up out of the blue, would they respond properly? would they forward this to the right Managers immediately?
Mr. Ted Rubin feels it is ok to have an intern start up social for you. He is right in a general sense if you are a small business and there is nothing comlex about it. I see plenty of Brands with nice Twitter and Facebook followings who did nothing to garner this. It means customers like you and are passionate about you and most likely easy to start working those communities.
But what if you are a national or world brand? What if you are a B2B company? What if you are a boring Brand in a boring Industry? How would a 21 year old know what steps to take on what platforms?
By all means have young workers assist and learn under the guidance of a seasoned professional. But that $30 an hour you save hiring a cheap newbie out of college could cost you your Brand Image or your Business.