The words “isolated” and “fragmented” have no place in social media. That’s the reason General Mills knew it needed to bring together its brands, which were “doing their own thing” in the social sphere, and stop letting agencies manage brand communities. To do it, the company needed community-engagement managers to bring ownership, accountability and real involvement to the company’s social media platforms.

In his presentation at SocialMedia.org‘s BlogWell conference in Los Angeles, General Mills’ social media engagement manager, Aaron Miller, explained the reason the company thought community managers could help the company learn and grow — and even how the company hired them.

More big ideas from his presentation:

  • Food is personal. General Mills quickly realized that people who were engaging with company brands via social media were passionate and opinionated. The company needed someone on its team who could respond with the same personality, passion and loyalty — not a disconnected agency.
  • It wasn’t looking for social strategists. General Mills hired poets, a psychologist and someone from a nonprofit. The company focused more on hiring people with specific qualities that fit a community manager, not necessarily social media experience.
  • Community management isn’t marketing. Miller said, “It’s just as important or even more important for actually learning from your consumers and being close to them.”

Check out Miller’s presentation.

If you like this case study, see more great social media case studies like it live at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference April 17 in New York.

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