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Andy’s Answers: What General Mills has learned from early experiments in social media

My company, GasPedal, recently hosted BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media in Minneapolis. The fantastic event featured eight case studies on corporate social media from some of the world’s biggest companies. As we gear up for our next BlogWell in Atlanta on Nov. 10 — featuring case studies from Coca-Cola, UPS, SunGard, Orange Business Services, ConAgra Foods, Turner Broadcasting System, Newell Rubbermaid, and The Home Depot — I’m sharing some of my favorite lessons from Minneapolis.

Here are a few things we learned from Mark Addicks, General Mills’ chief marketing officer, on how General Mills is experimenting with social media across a bunch of their brands:

  • Social media supplements natural fan communities. Long before social media came around, General Mills’ brands had an inherent following and “social network” behind them. Mark discussed how they’re using social media to connect the fans that had previously sent in letters, shared ideas, and talked amongst themselves about their favorite General Mills products and brands.
  • Developing an internal case study helps sell social media throughout the organization. Mark described how Larabar is one of their first brands built almost exclusively on highly enthusiastic brand evangelists and how they’re using it as an example to drive this thinking across more of their brands.
  • Let your fans test everything first. Mark described how General Mills is sending their brands out before they’re in the marketplace. They’re asking fans to share thoughts, post videos, and interact with General Mills — and then using this feedback to make their products better.

See the live presentation here:

[vimeo 6677922]