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General Mills: Building a Team of Connected Community Managers — Live from BlogWell

Coverage of this session by AJ Bellarosa of DigitalFlashNYC. Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

3:50 — SocialMedia.org’s Kurt Vanderah introduces General Mills’ Social Media Engagement Manager, Aaron Miller.

3:51 — Building a Team of Connected Community Managers, Aaron Miller from @GeneralMills talks about how to empower your social media team.

3:52 — Aaron: What we will cover today: making the case, responsibilities, team structure, and sourcing talent.

3:53 — Aaron: We have 110 U.S. social media channels, 20 Twitter feeds, and 40 Facebook pages in the U.S. with 9 milllion fans.

3:55 — Aaron: We produce 120 million impressions on Facebook every month, and are growing weekly.

3:56 — Aaron shares the challenges: Awareness of importance of social media in building brands, but with current structure:

-isolated and fragmented brands

-disconnected from our consumers

-paying to build agency skills and knowledge, not our own

-lack of ownership and accountability

3:58 — Dollars: $100 per hour, 40 hours a week, 500 weeks per year, $200,000 per brand. Employees cost less. [Disclaimer: These figures are fictional and only used as an example for this presentation. They do not reflect General Mills' actual amounts.]

3:59 — Aaron: Community managers must feel that connection to the brand. They must have a proper voice and high level of ownership. They are also very connected to each other, and building their own institutional knowledge.

4:00 — The Competitive Landscape: General Mills talked to their peers who had already built community management teams for examples of best practices.

4:02 — Aaron: This year, General Mills is building a team of 10 community managers, each dedicated to a specific brand.

4:03 — Aaron: The General Mills community management team creates and fosters always-on streams of content and conversations in online channels that build bridges between General Mills and our stakeholders.

Through that content and conversation, we increase awareness, influence attitudes, and create preference for our company and our brands.

We help protect our company’s and brands’ reputations and build actionable intuition about the behaviors.

4:05 — Aaron: Social strategy, editorial planning, content execution and base-level analytics are the major responsibilities of the community managers at General Mills.

4:07 — The Community Engagement Specialist: listens to the community and works closely with the digital marketing manager for the brand to manage tactics and strategy. They also partner closely with the content creative and marketing teams to build the overall marketing strategy for the brand.

4:08 — Consumer Services: handles customer service issues via social media

4:09 — The Social Center of Excellence plays a role in building team dynamics and scaled learning across brands and divisions.

4:09 — Sourcing talent: There aren’t many people with Community Manager on their resume. General Mills is looking for qualities, not job experience.

Hires have backgrounds in agencies, non-profits, psychology, poetry.

Trying to match talent to the brand.

Most important quality: Strategic creativity, and they are not interested in social strategists.

4:10 — What’s next? Team culture: Giving the team the tools they need.

Agile content development, and international cohesive strategy for the brand.

Q&A: Lets get started!

Q: Who do your community managers report to?

A: Aaron: They report to their digital marketing managers within the brand. They want to maintain a strong connection with the overall brand team.

Q: Can you talk about the process of collecting the analytics information? How do community managers work with the insights team?

A: Aaron: This is a tough question and we are in the process of building a digital analytics team.

Q: How do you manage the voice and train the team for the brands?

A: Aaron: It is easier for us to train our team when our brand has a strong voice.  We always focus on how we talk to our communities, and share this vision with our managers.

Q: How is General Mills handling the GMO issue with Cheerios?

A: Aaron: Take the consumer point of view, and push for more authenticity and transparency. There is a healthy tension between community management and legal. It is a strong collaboration. It is changing constantly.

Q: How do you work with agencies now vs. the past?

A: Aaron: We still have strong agency relationships across all aspects of marketing including social.  Agencies often work closely with community managers, and they also often execute and make sure the campaign fits into the voice.

Q: How do you handle customer service in social?

A: Aaron: We are working closely with Consumer Services right now because we recognize that it is not efficient. We want to let the consumer services monitor and answer questions so the community managers can spend more time on planning content.

Thank you to Aaron Miller and the entire @GeneralMills team for an insightful presentation!

December 5, 2012 0 comments

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