The Small Business Development Center and Jamestown Community College recently completed the sixth semester of placing social media interns into local businesses to focus on growing the assigned businesses social media presence. Participating businesses are clients of the Small Business Development Center. This has been beneficial to all involved- students earn real world skills and college credits, the business develops and implements a social media strategy, and the college maintains a leadership role in the community.
Our semester long internships pair a student with a local business. The business owner and student review current social media and plan accordingly to gain exposure using one or more social media platforms. Deciding which platform to use is done by looking at the intended audience and desired outcomes, i.e. to gain likes and followers, spread a message, drive sales. The message is delivered in posts on various platforms to drive customer engagement. The business transaction is an important consideration if the business is B2B or B2C.
All the popular platforms are used (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) in a variety of ways to broadcast the company’s message and desired result. The intern and business owner meet once a week to work on specific tasks set forth from the initial goal setting. Our internships primarily focus on local manufacturing businesses with the goal of finding new customers and markets beyond current sales efforts. Interns have also been placed in retail businesses, restaurants, tourism businesses, professional offices, and not for profit.
The ultimate goal is to drive sales. We focus on organic growth. Finding new markets and potential customers by educating them and providing content relative to making a purchase or use of services. The use of hashtags and specific keywords impact who may potentially see and interact with posts. Although we focus on free platforms and services there are times when paying for ads is worth the investment. Even the smallest of companies can afford to pay for ads or boost successful posts to a specific audience of targeted users.
Social media is a great tool as all our efforts can be tracked. Each social media platform has tools to analyze your audience. Tracking your social media users allows you to tailor a message specific to their needs and wants. Paid ads and boosted posts can be effective tools because of this segmented targeting marketing.
An internship will have successful outcomes of both the intern and business are willing to learn. Our internship program consists of classroom instruction and onsite project implementation. Goals and objectives are set for the semester. What platforms to use. Developing the tone and message the business that becomes the company “voice.” Using a cohesive strategy across multiple platforms. Use of a color palate suitable to the business. How to respond to comments and likes to drive customer engagement. Use of hashtags and keywords relevant to the businesses product or service.
If you are a business owner and would like to inquire about an intern for your business, please contact the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College at 716-338-1356.