Hollis Thomases: Bad advice offered in ‘11 reasons a 23 –year-old should not run your social media’

Whether your social media expert is 23 or 53, all that matters is that they have shown that they can develop your brand by engaging prospects and already customers.

TEXAS, AUGUST 11, 2012 – Writer Hollis Thomases (Time Business Viewpoint) posits that you don’t want to put the responsibility for your social media brand in the hands of a 23-year-old.

Pardon me. I don’t mean to attack the middle-aged crowd or draw huge generalizations. Nor do I believe there are no individuals of “a certain age” that are not capable of running a social media strategy.

So let’s take a dive into why you should strongly consider hiring a 23-year old to run your social media.

1. They could bring value to your organization

Shouldn’t this be the whole point? Many young candidates are energetic individuals with a broad range of experiences and skills. Today, by the time you are 23, you might have spent upwards of a decade developing your social presence.

2. They have already cultivated a strong social presence individually and practiced brand marketing—their own

Today’s young people have years of experience promoting something very dear to themselves — themselves. Facebook debuted in 2004, but Friendster and Myspace predated those by half a decade. Generation Y has watched and participated in the development of social media.

One could say that “a class cannot replace on the job training.” Absolutely. Aren’t we lucky that the under 23 crowd has had such broad exposure?

3. They have a unique perspective that will enhance your overall team

These people have a vast insight into the customer’s mind and the way an end-user utilizes the internet to make buying decisions—seeing that they’ve done it their whole life.

4. Commitment to audience engagement

Having grown up while the Internet went through its own adolescence, young adults know the irritation of an out-of-date strategy. We cringe at the thought of a self-focused communication strategy that traditional marketers have embraced for decades.

5. Awareness of trends

As a generation that has grown up with a broader and deeper exposure to media than any preceding generation, young adults have an excellent sense of trends.

6. Dedication to excellent results, aka strong work ethic

With a college degree meaning less, generation Y is in an incredibly competitive market. Along with significant unemployment in our own generation—we’re aware of how much we stand to gain or lose based on our performance.

7. Representative of a large portion of the marketing base

According to the latest US Census, 34% of the population is under the age of 25. Our perspective, while unique in the work world, will give you a significant advantage when appealing to a broad market base. While there are many who bemoan how youth-centered marketing campaigns are, youngsters still are a target audience to be reckoned with.

8. Understanding how social fits into an integrated marketing strategy

With nearly all traditional media focusing their attention on integration with social, 23-year olds bring a unique perspective. The smartphones that have been attached to their hip (not literally—we’re not 40, after all) their whole life play a huge role in most integrated campaigns now.

9. They are hungry for their place in the world

Instead of complacency born of an earned place, young adults are looking to make a name for themselves. They are well aware that this will not be accomplished by resting on their laurels. It shouldn’t be a surprise that most tech startups are full of youth. When presented with something they’re passionate about, sleeping at the office isn’t off the table.

10. Advocate social media strategy internally

Synergy was a buzzword for several decades for a reason; if a team cannot work together to create something more than itself, they are going to fall behind. A company that does not know how to integrate social media into a broader internal plan will in fact fall behind the company that does. With young adults having grown up in a culture that adopted this philosophy in social circles and family, it’s no surprise that they’re leading the charge internally.

11. Communication skills across media

A 23-year olds communication isn’t straight forward.. email, text, IM, phone and in person are just a few. Understanding when to use certain mediums is a vital part of social.

Oh but snap. Remarkably, the qualities outlined above are not actually tied to a candidate’s age. Sure, the 23-year-old has the skills, experiences and abilities outlined above, but so might a 53-year-old who loves technology.

The trope of a hapless 40-something bachelor in a dead-end job is recognizable for a reason; age does not create excellence. The pursuit of excellence, the refinement of skills, and a certain degree of natural verve does.

Whether your social media expert is 23 or 53, all that matters is that they have shown that they can develop your brand by engaging prospects and already customers.

But please, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by shutting the door on a young face.

And, if none of that made any sense, all I need to say is to go look up most of the entrepreneurs sitting in Silicon Valley. If you don’t know who they are, just ask a 12-year-old to “Google it.”

The child will probably have a smart phone and be able to quickly accommodate.

And I will l be hiring that child soon.


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Tommy Swanson

Tommy Swanson is the Co-Founder of Think Stripes, a content marketing and brand storytelling agency. He works with nationally recognized NPOs and businesses on developing their online marketing strategy. Swanson is also a serial entrepreneur, having started and sold several companies in his early teens. You can find him at @tommyswanson.  

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