Recently, we posted an article that posed the question “Is Your Brand’s Reputation Safe In Millennial Hands?” on the @AIMCareerlink Twitter feed. In that article, contributor J. Maureen Henderson wondered why some of the biggest social media disasters have been caused by Millennials who are given full control over companies’ social media accounts.
As the article points outs, one reason Millennials are often seen behind social media accounts is because of their natural comfort level with technology and social media. The drawback to that, however, is that Millennials are more likely to shoulder the blame of a fiasco because they’re the managers of social media accounts.
But as Susie Hall, president of Vitamin T, points out, “when a brand’s social media presence goes awry, it’s more likely to be an issue of lack of maturity and big picture thinking vs. mistakes that can be blamed on youthful indiscretion alone,” a point we certainly agree with.
In some ways, the main question of the article is very misleading. Sure, it’s true that Millennials can lack a sense of maturity, discretion, and big picture thinking. They are, after all, the youngest generation currently making waves in job market, and more often than not, lack experience compared to their older peers.
But anyone can slip up when using social media—especially considering how new of an outlet it is. Just think of how much social media intensifies the exposure of your brand compared to the newspaper ads and print materials of the past. As a result, even the smallest error can quickly escalate, especially if it goes viral.
If you think the solution to this kind of problem is to hire a non-Millennial, then you might want to think again–because in the end, it’s not really about the person’s age.
Rather, effective social media management requires a person with critical thinking skills, effective communication skills, and a clear understanding of a brand’s core values, voice and purpose–all things which any top prospective candidate could possess, Millennial or not.
Another thing brands need to make sure they’re doing is setting boundaries for whoever is managing their accounts. Social media isn’t a one-man show–it requires thoughtful planning and extensive brainstorming to get things right. Simply giving an employee free reign to do as they please can only lead to trouble.
Millennials always seem to get a bad rap, whether it’s because of their perceived bad work ethic, sense of entitlement, or lack of maturity. But the fact of the matter is, Millennials are just as hard working as previous generations—they just have a different set of values. In the end, it’s up to you to hire the right person to do the job.
Your brand can be as safe in a Millennial’s hands as it is in anyone else’s—so long as you make sure that they have the skills needed for effective online communication. Do that, and chances are, you’ll most likely avoid any sort of fiasco like the ones we so often see.