There is no question most young adults know something about social media. How can they not? They grew up with it. It is hardwired into their lives. But does that mean you should entrust them with your company’s social media in Tampa – just because they know how to tweet on Twitter or post a comment on Facebook? I do believe that there are bright, young people that are capable of managing a business’s social-media responsibilities, but be careful in the choosing and consider the following:
Mature business owners who are untrained in social media themselves think of it as some voodoo that only the unwrinkled can master. Older entrepreneurs tend to think that just because they have not mastered Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, others their age can’t possibly be very good at it, either.
Is there truth to this presumption? You have to be careful here: Whether you answer yes or no, you could find yourself accused of age discrimination. But consider this:
Surprising New Research
A recent study by Clark University suggests today’s young adults don’t think the same way as those from previous generations. Fifty years ago, new college grads were eager to settle down in careers, marriage, home ownership, and the other responsibilities of adulthood.
The study’s research shows today’s young adults have a vastly different viewpoint: many do not feel they have even reached adulthood until they are in their late 20s or early 30s.
Three Reasons Why Age is Just a Number
If you are a business owner interested in using social media in Tampa for marketing, it is wise to consider more than just age when hiring someone to take over this aspect of your operation. Before you decide, ask yourself these three questions:
- Would you let a new college grad run your actual business without training or mentoring? The model in many professions and trades, from construction to medicine, is apprenticeship. Yet too many businesspeople hire a recent marketing school grad and simply say, “Go! Bring in more business!” — with less than great results.
- Have you encountered – or heard about – age discrimination? “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is probably the most dog-eared of clichés. Motivated people master skills they did not grow up with all the time. Creative thinkers are born that way.
- What makes a good social media expert in the first place? It is important to know that understanding technology is only one small part of the skills needed to be good at using social media in Tampa.
The best social media managers must also understand:
- Marketing principles. That means knowing your audience and targeting them appropriately; using the right language, focus and tone. Can a younger person “read between the lines” of your business or audience?
- Keeping it strictly business. This is very important because social media can easily bleed into one’s personal life. It’s only natural that your social media person would ask her friends to “Like” your business Facebook page in droves, or flood your YouTube video with comments. The number of hits makes her look good to her employer (you), right? But it also opens the door to inappropriate comments, links and visuals – reputation destroyers! You must maintain strict control of your social media in Tampa – or hire a more seasoned pro to take it on.
- Crisis management. Responding to a public relations disaster takes experience, analytical abilities and skill. Your responses must be immediate, laser-focused, and yet carefully thought out. Not all young people have the real world experience to do this.
- Using analytics. Again, knowing how to upload and push buttons won’t cut it. You need someone who is skilled in search engine analytics, constantly changing SEO parameters (Google changes its rules all the time) and using the data gathered from your sites to benefit the demographic you want to reach.
Certainly, some new college grads have impressive maturity and skills beyond their years. But don’t automatically discount a seasoned expert.