We understand that plenty of small businesses simply don’t have money for a marketing budget. Many motivated business owners have taken it upon themselves to self-educate, do some of their own social and marketing, and garner results from their efforts. This is absolutely awesome, but sometimes you can’t do it yourself, and sometimes nothing is better than plain old “free”. Getting interns is actually a great method to get someone to assist with your marketing and your social effort when you aren’t ready for hiring an SEO company yet. And it is easier than you think. Today we’ll talk about where to get interns, what to say to entice them, and how to keep them happy as best as possible.
Part 1 – I Want One of Those Intern-Things!
When I tell other people in my industry about recruiting interns, they perceive them almost as these mythical creatures – few and far between and almost having this elusive, rare quality. But you have to think that interns aren’t always aspiring interns – they are often just people looking for a foot in the door and an opportunity to work somewhere and then they become interns. So almost exclusively the interns I’ve had in the past 5 years are between ages 18-23, enrolled in school (or haven’t had a gap in education for more than a year) and have some invested interest in marketing whether it is traditional, digital, or even some other discipline like graphic design that can be tied into it.
I’ve tried different places but these are the ones that work best – Craigslist, Local College Internship directories, and simple word of mouth.
It is somewhat of a bummer that posting on Craigslist in the job section has become $25, but it may be worth it because this is where I get the most feedback. You’ll want your posting to be very appealing because the posting will likely be buried within a few days, but we’ll be going over that later.
Every college in my area of south Florida has an opportunity to post a listing as long as you get approved. Most of the time it is as straightforward as just filling out an application and getting approved within a week. All of the ones I registered down here (about 4) were free. You may have to meet with the school’s internship director in person or briefly over the phone, but once it is done you can easily post for every semester.
Word of Mouth
Have friends or family with kids in their late teens, looking to learn about the amazing world of digital marketing? Have them come in and start helping out! Don’t be afraid to take to social media for this as well – this is your business and getting help in any outlet available is definitely a noble endeavor.
Part 2 – Reeling Em In
This is all about the post, and we’ll go over what makes an effective posting that’ll get an prospective intern excited about the opportunity.
Basically, I would follow this structure for making a great post. Starting with a title that is straightforward (Marketing/Social Intern for X Business), you want to include the following:
- Present your business in a light that makes it exciting (join a team of experts that have been in the community for 20 years)
- Qualifying the fact they are going to learn the business from the main people (work under the President, or the lead sales guy)
- Encourage that they could be brought on board if they perform well
- Tell them they are getting a cutting edge experience that is highly desirable in the real world and rarely taught in schools (this one is like 95% true).
- Anything else you don’t mind sharing with the intern to encourage their contact (company lunches, company discounts, company outings etc.)
In some situations, it could help to offer some sort of stipend (something like $100 a week) for gas and food. And of course, say you’ll work with their school to arrange for them to get school credit if it is applicable!
When you start getting inquiries and you begin your interviewing, the main things you really want to ask are:
- What their schedule looks like
- What experience they have with marketing, and what they’ve learned about marketing
- Are they familiar with digital marketing concepts like SEO, SEM, Social, Content Marketing etc.
- How much they are willing to commit time to learning these aforementioned concepts for the internship to work
Essentially from the internship, you’re going to really only gauge a few things to see if they’re a good fit. You want to make sure they aren’t overwhelmingly socially awkward, would mesh well with other employees, and can come in at least 10 hours a week. In other words, you’re not going to really refuse anyone an internship because at the end of the day, they are working for free.
I don’t like having interns work more than 20 hours a week (asking a lot from them to commit for 0/hr) or less than 10 hours (will take forever for them to learn anything)
Part 3 – Keeping Those Interns Happy
Interns will do well if they feel appreciated, if they feel like they are doing work that has an impact, receive some compensation in some way, shape, or form, and feel like they fit in. How do we accomplish this all?
Appreciation and Impact – This doesn’t necessarily just mean praise; it can also be negative feedback. It just means following up on their work, finding suggestions for them even if the work is adequate, and even asking their opinions on business matters. For example, you’re designing a new logo. Ask them what they’d do – respond with “thanks for your input”. We get really wrapped up on the routine of our work day in day out and find many typical business matters insignificant. But believe me, you have to remember than most interns have NEVER worked in a legitimate business environment so when they are asked for input and feel like they are a part of a decision making process, they go home and tell their friends/family the entire thing without leaving out a detail.
Fitting In- The intern often gets the “lesser” position according to most employees at a business, so dispel that as early on as you can. Immediately announce their addition on social, and introduce them to everyone in the office and explain what they are going to be doing. All it takes is a few people saying “we’re glad to have you here” to take care of this problem.
We covered a lot here, but there’s still more to be answered such as “If it is a marketing internship, how can I teach them anything about marketing if I really don’t know it myself?”, which I’ll answer in another blog. Have any more questions? Leave a comment. Otherwise, go out and get some interns!