Creating A Social Media Internship Program At Your Dealership

By Brian Pasch

Dealers who have been struggling to create a consistent social media presence, may turn to third party vendors to assist with their social media. However, many of the social media companies serving car dealers use cookie cutter templates and post the same content for hundreds of dealers across OEM brands.

I was doing some editing on my upcoming book, "Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing", and I thought I would share something with you in advance of the release date.

If you are looking to stand out from your local competitors, and create a strong social media strategy, why not leverage your local colleges, universities, and community colleges and start a social media internship program? 

You might be surprised how easy it can be to get interns from a local college or university to assist you with your social media and/or video marketing strategy. Marketing and advertising majors need field experience for their portfolio. Social media and video production are core element in their studies.

If you can define a job description for an intern program you very well can attract passionate candidates to fill in some of the holes in your social media strategy. Few dealers have a dedicated videographer but any local school that offers a degree of marketing, advertising, or mixed media production will have eager video technicians that need material for their portfolio.

The key to making an internship work is management of tasks that the interns will be completing. They will need to learn about your brand, your value proposition, and your sales strategy. They will need your time but when done properly, you can get tremendous value and creativity from your interns.  

Sample Internship Brochure

If you want to get the placement office in the local college to take notice in your program, you need to create a professional brochure. To assist you in creating a brochure to send to local colleges, universities, and community colleges, here is some text  that you can repurpose for your dealership.

Keep in mind that the more professional the brochure or document, the more qualified candidates will apply because the placement office will consider the program a great opportunity.

Overview: The Social Media intern program will empower students to create, interact, and engage consumers online under the supervision of our internal marketing team. The real life experience will be invaluable to their career.

The Social Media intern program is designed to give aspiring students the opportunity to plan, strategize, implement, and engage consumers using our social and digital marketing platforms. The ability to engage consumers on behalf of our successful dealership will develop the skills needed to advance in the student’s choice of career path.

Time Commitment: Interns will be required to invest a minimum of 15 hours a week to be considered for this program. Some of those hours can be logged remotely but candidates will be required to be in our offices at least two days a week. The program’s success relies on the intern’s ability to learn and assimilate the culture of our organization to allow them to properly represent us online.

Responsibilities of Social Media Intern: The intern will be responsible for enhancing the dealership’s social media and digital presence, which includes:

- Maintain company blog with new content

- Tweet and respond to consumers on Twitter

- Post and engage with consumers on Facebook

- Upload and syndicate customer testimonial videos

- Monitor consumer review websites for commentary

- Update company website to increase engagement

- Testing social media advertising campaigns

- Develop graphics to be used in social media efforts

How To Apply: Interested candidates should submit their digital resume to: Brian Pasch at: brian@pcgmailer.com. The digital resume should include a link to a video, which introduces the intern and explains why they want to be selected for this program. No candidates will be considered without a video.

Get Started Today

A similar brochure can be created for a video intern who could assist the dealership with creating online marketing videos for sales, financing, after sales, accessories, and to produce customer testimonial videos. Many of the local colleges are winding down for the summer, so if you take action, you might scoop up some local students that have not found summer work.

However, this is not only an idea for the summer months. Your dealership can run a social media internship program all year round; broken out in semesters. Keep in mind that auto dealers are some of the largest and most visible businesses in every community.  

Auto dealers invest thousands of dollars a month in advertising, so your dealership is a perfect candidate to attract interns. If you follow this advice and start an intern program, please send me a copy of your brochure for my records.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your social media channels.

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Brian

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting

732.672.2356

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Tags: automotive social media, social, social media internship

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Comment by Brian Bennington on May 13, 2014 at 8:27pm

Brian, Great advice for a manageable and economical way to bring Social Media in house.  I've used the local colleges on and off for the last fifteen years, and most of the time with pretty good success  Never did a brochure, as we'd make contact with the school administrators who ran student employment and internship programs, explained what we wanted and left "job description" hand-outs, paid an above-average student hourly wage, gave earned-by-hours-worked vacation pay, and let them set their own hours to fit their school schedules.  In return, a 3.5 GPA is our mandatory minimum for employment, as is a sign-off on a 3-mo. probationary period.

While internships usually don't require wages, not paying someone who works for you–under any condition–is real "back-of-book."  (What they hell kind of business do you have if you can't pay everyone who helps you?)  The only one who doesn't get paid working for me is me.  But, if there's money left over, then I do get paid.  Can't say enough about maintaining a 3.5 (A) GPA employment requirement.  We've had some of our young ladies achieve solid personal success after us (two lawyers, one veterinarian, a major fashion editor, a working actress, etc.).  Amazingly, the average length of time they've stayed with us is over three years.

As our work is primarily administrative, we've always hired females.  (Young women seem to be more responsible and mature than young men and I'm allergic to testosterone, except for my own.)    Just seeing that 3.5 on paper and you know you've gotten someone who's use to working ahead of the curve.  Really, it would be great if everyone had a "GPA score" on their entire working career, not just school.  It would sure make hiring decisions easier.  Again, Brian, it's good advice, especially with the social media proficiencies many of today's youth possess, but as a cautionary note, we've noticed young people are gradually less and less mature for their age and less and less able to make. or even understand the concept of, a commitment.            

Comment by Ashley Taborsky on May 12, 2014 at 6:15pm

Couldn't agree more. Thanks, Brian!

Comment by Brian Pasch on May 12, 2014 at 6:05pm

Ashley

Thank you for your comments and yes, dealers should reach out to potential educational institutions and see what they require.  The brochure that I suggested would be complete the the role, responsible, and expectations of the intern.  I have created these brochures in the past, and what I found that by anticipating more stricter requirements, the school gets a great first impression.

Either way, you are correct that it is about building a relationship with the school(s) and make the internship program a strong, rigorous program that everyone benefits from. Dealers who are looking for guidance on what the intern should be doing, can get some help from my book when it comes out this summer.  It will outline the specific tasks that could be included in an internship program. 

Comment by Ashley Taborsky on May 12, 2014 at 4:59pm

Hey Brian,

As a former marketing intern myself, I can attest to how powerful an internship can be to both the student & the company.

I entirely agree that it’s important for your intern(s) to have a managed workload, but at the same time, give them a few small projects with solid start/end dates - a project they can feel ownership toward. (Gaining actual project management experience is HUGE resume builder for a recent grad, and it’s something universities like to see, too.)

As for your brochure suggestion, whenever a company puts together any collateral that’s going to represent your brand, it should always look professional. Always.

But this is where I have to politely disagree with you. Although a brochure can be a nice touch, the best place to start creating an internship program is by building a relationship with Student Services or the University Internship Placement Dept.

Each college has slightly different rules when it comes to their internship postings. Some universities just have a free-for-all pinboard, while others have a strict interview process with the potential employer. Many colleges even have programs that allow students to have an unpaid internship in order to gain certain credits, but if that’s the case, the university is going to expect an outline of intern roles, responsibilities & project take-aways.

At the end of the day, just make sure your internship arrangement mutually beneficial and that you stay in contact with the appropriate university reps.

Overall, Brian, great post & awesome message that too few dealerships taking advantage of!

- Ashley

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