Got summer interns? High school and college students can be enthusiastic, tech-savvy, and inexpensive resources for your company. Here are two perspectives on hiring summer interns:
I recommend that you assign to your interns projects, not regular work expected to be done by full-time employees. By having them work on projects, your interns will feel the sense of accomplishment (by completing the projects), while your company will get something valuable done that your full-time employees may not have had time to do.
The theme of this year’s projects is, “social media”. The projects are intended to build a library of your company’s blog postings to be used throughout the next twelve months, and to increase your company’s on-line audience. For these projects, I have chosen to focus on LinkedIn. I consider LinkedIn to be more appropriate than other social media platforms (e.g., FaceBook, Instragram, Twitter) for business-to-business relations.
For the projects described below, your intern should possess good writing and communication skills.
Short postings about your employees can be effective ways to strengthen the bond between your company and its clients.
To create these postings, have your interns interview employees (at least the customer-facing ones). With the help of your human resources department, have your interns create three different types of postings about your employees:
For examples of such postings, search for Rubber Tree Systems at LinkedIn, click on “Posts” and scroll through the many postings to this company’s LinkedIn account.
Have your field salespeople provide to your interns good examples of how your products or services have helped their customers. Have your interns interview each of these customers to acquire content for a good “success story” or testimonial. In each story, include a direct quote from the customer and pictures of your products installed at the customer’s location. Of course, have the customer approve the final story prior to posting it to your company’s LinkedIn account.
Convert content from your manufacturers into informative product-related postings.
For good examples of how distributors use such content in their social media streams, search for ACI Controls, Inc, Hydraulic Controls, Inc. and Valin Corporation at LinkedIn. These companies are distributors of process instrumentation, fluid power and industrial automation products (and are valued WarehouseTWO members).
The above content is worthless if it does not have an audience. Interns can help build that audience. Provide them a list of current and potential client companies, and titles of target contacts at those companies. Have your interns identify appropriate contacts by searching for company names at LinkedIn, and then by browsing the list of employees at each company. Have your interns then invite each appropriate contact to “follow” your company’s LinkedIn account, via LinkedIn messaging.
For more ideas for summer intern projects click on the links below to lists of projects from past years.
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About the Author
After a successful career in sales and operations management in the wholesale-distribution industry, Mark Tomalonis is now principal of WarehouseTWO, LLC. He amuses himself by writing articles, such as this one, to help manufacturers and wholesaler-distributors execute their operations better. Mark’s articles and tips are published in WarehouseTWO’s monthly e-newsletters. Click here to subscribe.
WarehouseTWO, LLC is an independent “inventory-pooling” service created exclusively for durable goods manufacturers and their authorized distributors, and for any group of durable goods “peer” wholesaler-distributors, such as members of a buying/marketing group or cooperative. To learn how inventory-pooling with WarehouseTWO can help your business, visit the WarehouseTWO website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.