26-10-2013

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Internship Report: Something with Social Media

Abstract: 

From April 22nd until Juli 12th, I did my internship at Amborio, a Nieuwegein-based small company that wants to help young entrepreneurs get through their first year(s) after startup. My internship research and my practical assignment for Amborio involved the way they could use social media to be better-known among new startups.

My internship journey started a little later than expected – I had to retake a course – which caused me to look for internships close to the big summer vacation. Which is, I soon found out, not a time in which many companies are looking for new interns. There was not much on offer, at least not internships that seemed fitting to this masters programme. So imagine my joy when, after sending out many motivational letters and resumes, I finally got a positive response from two companies. While the first company seemed small and not too interested in academic research, Amborio offered me much free time to work on my internship research and a position in which I would be setting up and linking their social media presences. So the choice seemed easy, and a small while later I enthusiastically started my work.
 
Amborio’s main philosophy is that you should do the things you like and you’re good at, so you can get even better at them. They want to help young entrepreneurs by letting them focus on their specialties and connecting them to other startups so they can help each other out with their weaknesses. To train the startups, they have to take part in a few-month during programme in which they set up the bases for their companies, including registrations, housing and business model. After this, they are being coached by experienced entrepreneurs, they get access to the professional networks of Amborio and other startups affiliated with Amborio and receive funding when necessary. In exchange, Amborio becomes a company shareholder and after a period of time will start to receive monthly payments for their coaching- and connecting services.
 
Their problem was, young entrepreneurs did not know they existed. And that was, they presumed, because of their lack of social media activity. So my job was to ‘do something with social media’, because that is where the youthful young entrepreneurs with hip-and-happening business ideas were. So in the three months I worked in Nieuwegein, I enthusiastically set up their social media accounts, linked them, and provided content like Facebook updates and photo’s, LinkedIn stories, daily tweets, personal blogs and website text and video’s and collaborated with their ‘digital communications specialist’ about the design of both website and personal blog.
 
This took up a lot of time, so even though I had some free time to work on my research paper on how their company could effectively use social media to gain more publicity among their target audience, I did not finish my report before the end of my internship. When finishing this in the month after, I found out that Amborio was not really interested in academic research but only wished to continue the social media work I set up, I in consultation with my tutor decided to alter my research to a more general question: “in what way can the use of social media contribute to an increase of trust and with that the loyality of the customer?”.
 
In this research I look at why companies want to “so something with social media”, as they sometimes only seem to want to ‘join the party’, and see social media as their end goal, not as a means of achieving other company goals. I found that for consumers to connect to a company or buy their products when seeing online activity, companies have to gain trust. Only when consumers trust a company, they will become more loyal to the companies they trust and identify themselves with the brand. To gain trust, companies have to use social media in the right way and abide by the rules of online communities. By being open and honest, treating other community members as equals and providing them with relevant and interesting information regularly, consumers are more likely to trust the company. This way, consumer loyalty and brand identification can lead to more product sales of the achieving of other company goals.
 
In my internship I learned more about the practical side of the working environment. I learned how to manage group projects better, to manage time and that sometimes you have to say no to extra work, so you can finish your own. And even though I did my internship later, finished my internship report later and changed my subject focus halfway, I think my research has come out great. So no wasted time, I learned a lot from working in a company and can now say I know how to do ‘something with social media’…