By Lauren | September 11, 2014 | 0 Comment
Recently this article was brought to my attention in a Twitter Chat I attended. It was titled “11 Reasons why a 23 -Year-Old Shouldn’t Run your Social Media”. The article caught me off guard right from the title alone. Being 24 years old myself and working in social media, I was intrigued to hear why someone would think it’s not okay to have someone so young running your online presence.
Here is my version of the article, and yes it is me defending younger professionals in this industry, but also, to me age is just a number. There could be someone who was in their 50’s who was a wicked social media marketing, and someone who was in their early 20’s who was equally as skilled. Please read their version of the article above to get the full affect of this one.
1. Article: They’re not mature enough Me: Age doesn’t define maturity
Last time I checked age did not define maturity. Yes, we aren’t eager to enter adulthood and settle down, but that’s because society has changed in the last 50 years. My parents grew up in a world where you aspired to get married young. My Mother and Father got married when they were only 20, and most of my friends parents did too. It was also the era where when you found a job, you stuck to the same job for the rest of your life. Just because those in their 20’s now don’t feel the need to rush and get married, and don’t believe in settling in a position or workplace that doesn’t make them happy or challenge them, does not mean we haven’t matured enough to be able to handle the world around us. In fact, if you ask me, settling is probably the worst decision any professional could make. How do you ever grow professionally if you stay in the same place, doing the same thing for your entire life?
2. Article: They may be focused on their own social media activity Me: I hope they are, if they’re not, you have a problem
Yes if you hire a young social media professional to manage your accounts, they will be focused on their own accounts to. That’s not to say they will spend all day long playing on their personal Facebook and Snapchatting their friends. In my opinion, you probably want to hire someone who focuses on their own social media. Would you really want someone who doesn’t know how to manage their own social media presence managing yours? Also, did I mention how easy it is to multitask? Not a single person could say they don’t do something in their work day that isn’t entirely related to their job.
3. Article: They may not have the same etiquette–or experience Me: They may not, but they also might!
Personal experience with social media is a lot different then professional experience with social media. So yes it is hard to get a sense of their social media experience when you’re just looking at what they’ve done on their personal accounts. If you hire someone who can write, and has an understanding of marketing and a target market, they’ll be able to adapt to using social media to reach your brands target. Yes, I do agree with YouInc on creating a social-media policy, but not just for your social media professional, but ALL your staff!
4. Article: You can’t control their friends Me: Why would this ever be a problem?
When I read this point, I was like “what?” Can you really control anyone’s friends whether they are 20 or 80? Why would my friends be posting inappropriate things on my company accounts? Why would they ever be in a place they have access to it?
5. Article: No class can replace on-the-job training Me: All the job experience in the world doesn’t make you a pro in social
Yes this is true but if we didn’t hire anyone based off this, new grads would NEVER get jobs, ever. Social media is a job that isn’t even really going to be taught in class. It changes constantly and since younger generations have grown up with it, they are more than likely going to be the ones that are the most on top of it. Yes social media entails a lot of different aspects as the article points out, but so does any other job out there, not just social media. If we’re playing by this rule then everyone, even in entry-level positions, would be in their 40’s or 50’s. Plus didn’t someone once take a risk on you at one point in your career?
6. Article: They may not understand your business Me: It’s called training
So you’ve hired a young social media professional and handed over the keys but are concerned they don’t know much about your business beyond social media. Is this not what training is for on the job? A new hire can only know so much about your business from researching them online. This really comes down to the hiring manager and how they integrate new employees into their organization. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a new graduate, this is a learning curve for everyone when they begin a new job.
7. Article: Communication skills are critical Me: Now we’re just stereotyping
Assuming that young people haven’t learned the art of communicating, and that they take things to literal instead of reading between the lines, is a bit of a stereotype, don’t you think? Communication and writing skills are critical to social media, and you wouldn’t hire someone who was incapable of doing these two things, but no matter what your age, these skills aren’t someone everyone possess young or old.
8. Article: Humor is tricky business Me: Because old people are funnier than young people?
A proper social media pro will understand how to adapt content to their audience and target market. I myself write for so many places with different voices. From my personal blog, to a non-profit that deals with entrepreneurs, to a children’s dental practice. If you’re hiring someone who is great at communicating and writing, they’ll be able to adapt no matter what their age. Can we stop stereotyping young people yet?
9. Article: Social-media savvy is not the same as technical savvy Me: No it’s not, but it goes hand in hand!
Yes it does require a combination of both, most people who are social savvy are more than likely tech savvy. A young professional may not have experience using analytical tools, etc. but it’s pretty easy for anyone to learn. The beautiful thing about social is you constantly are teaching yourself, since it’s constantly changing. Even if you have 10 years of social experience, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything if you haven’t kept up to date with your education and skills. 10 years ago Facebook was just becoming a thing, and people still used MSN messenger.
10. Article: Social-media management can become crisis management Me:Agreed, but…
If you are worried of social during a crisis, then you might as well not have social at all. No matter who is managing your social, crisis’s can still occur and usually that’s why you have a PR professional to help in these cases. Hey, you can even hire a social media professional that has a PR background (cough, cough, like me)!
11. Article: You need to keep the keys Me: Yes you most definitely do, whether their 23 or 53
Yes you will want to make sure that you also have access to all these social channels, so if anything goes wrong with your employee, you can easily change the settings so they are no longer admins on your accounts. This is the same no matter WHO is managing your social accounts. At least we got one good point from this article!
So take that YouInc! I love you guys, but this article was a bit discriminatory was it not? Age does not matter and should not matter when you are hiring. I’ve met marketing pros in their 40’s who have years of marketing experience and have no idea where to start with social. They didn’t grow up with it, can you blame them? But I’ve also met marketing pros that are in their 40’s or later that have mastered the social world due to them keeping on top of the latest trends. Who are you to say that, because I’m in my early 20’s I’m incapable of managing social channels, or incapable of doing really anything?
Original article posted on www.laurenmarinigh.com