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The Nanny Nine: General Mills

I recently attended a local Social Media event, and sat in on Kevin Hunt’s presentation.  I’ve been a long time user of General Mills brands, and was very curious about their Social Media Manager, and how the brand was utilizing the various Social Media venues.  By the end of his presentation I was very happy with what I had seen and heard, and I also could tell Kevin is very passionate about what he does.

Kevin, Corporate Social Media Manager for General Mills, has been with the company just under two years, and launched their blog “A Taste of General Mills” in May of 2011.  He does planning and developing (content) for the blog, and also monitors social channels for mentions of General Mills, engages with people, and measures the GM programs. In addition, Kevin has a role in global social media policy and training, and assists the brands with guidance on their channels and campaigns.

A Minnesota native, Kevin’s career started in TV news, as a newscast producer in Eau Claire, Green Bay and as an executive producer at KSTP-TV. He previously managed social media for the Legal division of Thomson Reuters in Eagan.

1. How long have you been using Social Networking for your business?

As a company, General Mills has been using the popular social media platforms in some way for several years.

2. Is your business using Facebook &/or Twitter?

All of the above. The corporate channels that I manage include our company blog, “A Taste of General Mills,” as well as official company accounts and pages on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram. Our brands also are quite active across many channels, but primarily on Facebook.

3. Facebook vs Twitter – do you like one better? If yes, why?

For my day job, I love blogging on behalf of the company. I enjoy finding and telling interesting stories about our people and business. I also look for ways to highlights fans of our brands, through their stories and photos. Personally, I enjoy Twitter the most – likely because of my background in journalism and TV news – because we all instantly share in the news as it breaks. I’m also a podcast junkie, I catch up on new episodes of my favorites on my daily commute. I also produce my own podcast, featuring interviews with people who work in corporate social media. It’s on iTunes and on my personal blog at http://StrungOutOnShinyObjects.com

4. Do you post daily?

Yes, we typically publish one blog post each day.  We’re also posting updates and replaying to people on Twitter several times a day, as well as on our other channels.

5. What is your favorite thing about Social Networking?

I think the notion that total strangers can forge a connection, whether brief or long-term, through these channels is a remarkable way to bring people together. We all have access to interacting with people we otherwise would never have met. Each day brings a new opportunity to “meet” someone with similar or different points of view.

6. What do you think is the biggest benefit of Social Networking?

I think from a business standpoint, it’s really valuable to be able to tell our stories through our blog and elsewhere, and establish ourselves as a news source. Social media also allows us to easily understand what’s important to consumers at any given time. The feedback cycle is instant. The connected consumer is not afraid to share their opinions. Social tools also allow us to build relationships with people who are passionate about their favorite brands.

7. How do you measure Social Networking, & explain

We measure many aspects of our corporate channels, but we are primarily focused on building awareness of our content and inspiring people to interact with us and share our stories and news. That said, we realize our the interactions we have through our corporate channels also can indirectly inspire loyalty to our brands that translates into the shopping cart.

8. What is the best moment you’ve had on a Social Networking site?

I enjoy every time that I discover a photo or video a consumer shares online about one of our brands, and turning that discovery into a blog post that we can share with others. It’s been fun to see and hear their reactions to what we posted. It says we care about our consumers and how General Mills products impact their lives.

9. What is your best piece of advice to other businesses about Social Networking?

You can’t “do” social and just check it off your list. You have to “be” social and willing to accept the realities and consequences of today’s digital world. If you’re thinking of blogging for your business, don’t blog unless you have someone behind it who is curious and passionate about telling stories. Also, don’t expect significant traffic or thousands of followers overnight. And, not every piece of content you put out there will explode in popularity. Celebrate the small wins, get people interested in what you’re doing and they will reward you by coming back for more.

General Mills

Blog: A Taste of General Mills

Twitter: @GeneralMills

The Nanny Nine brought to you by the Social Networking Nanny

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