During the summer of 2012, Harper Schmidt was a Social Media Intern at Kel & Partners, an opportunity she found though the online job board, Intern Sushi. This internship helped Harper understand her preferences for the type of public relations she hopes to go into after graduation.
CCD: Tell us about your experience at Kel & Partners.
Harper: I really enjoyed my internship at Kel & Partners. It’s a very open and relaxed environment but at the same time, everyone is super energetic. The office had a great vibe. I thought I knew a lot about social media coming into it, but there was so much I didn’t know. I learned that there is a difference between using social media and effectively using social media.
CCD: What was a typical day like?
Harper: A typical day at Kel & Partners began with LinkedIn monitoring to see what trends our clients could take advantage of or become part of. I would then spend some time on Pinterest adding to client boards and creating tweets on Twitter. I also updated and managed media lists of specific bloggers, relevant to our clients. The majority of my internship was keeping up the social media presence for clients.
CCD: What was the worst part of your internship?
Harper: The commute. It was in the Seaport district of Boston, which is an up-and-coming area, but the hour-long commute from Brookline was brutal.
CCD: What was one unique aspect of your internship?
Harper: The office is one big workspace with individual desks, which makes for a really open and welcoming environment. There are no offices besides the CEO’s. You also feel very aware of everything that’s going on both inside and outside of your own team.
CCD: What is one thing that you learned that will be most beneficial in your future?
Harper: The importance of targeting the right audience. Each of the clients I was working with had a very specific audience, and it helped me realize how important it is to target a particular group instead of everyone in general focusing on the right audience helps to garner more connections and feedback.
CCD: What are the top three takeaways from your internship?
Harper: One is creativity. Learning to generate content for clients when their services are not that exciting, like an automotive parts supplier, does present a challenge when trying to create engaging content for social networks. With a little research and a lot of thought power, I learned that this is possible.
The second is confidence, such as being able to speak up when I had ideas and not being worried that people would think they were silly. Sharing my ideas in brainstorming meetings was empowering and helped me really feel like part of the company.
The last would be social media professionalism. After seeing many Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and Pinterest boards with questionable content, I have truly realized that if it’s not something you can show your grandmother, then it shouldn’t be on the Internet since it most likely isn’t professional. It’s important to keep a clean social media footprint, especially with the permanence of the Internet.
CCD: What has this internship taught you?
Harper: This internship, although a great experience, helped me to decide that I do not want to focus on social media in the future. It was great to see the benefits and potential social media has in public relations, but my experience showed me that I prefer traditional public relations and would like to pursue a career in media relations.