What is the biggest way social media has changed in the last few years?
Because the industry has changed, our roles have changed. People understand this is where consumer attention is and paid media dollars have shifted here, and there is more detailed data reporting, so the industry has let us grow and evolve. That has been wonderful, but also possibly not fast enough. I think there is also still room to grow as far as the next generation of senior leaders. More of them will have backgrounds in social, so what will their future roles really look like. I think that is a path still to be forged.
But the business case for social is so crystal clear now, and it wasn’t five or six years ago. It feels like a cohort of us that have grown as the industry has are now in director roles. That’s the furthest we’ve come, but where else can it go?
How do you decide where to engage and what trends to lean into?
We have spent a lot of time honing who we are as a brand and how we show up on social. We have what we call the “Taco Bell wink,” where we reflect what we hear from our community and infuse that in our content. So if a trend emerges, and that “If you know, you know” wink can be infused, we move quickly. For example, we did a TikTok with the “what you looking for, we got what you looking for” audio about remixing the same ingredients. We lean in when we can be self aware. We love our community and want them to feel like we are one of them.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken on social media?
It's so funny depending on who you ask where the risks are. We try to go with our gut and go with what will work for our community. The risks are more like internal perception risks, and if we fall into that, we are more conservative by nature. I trust my team and then ensure that, at a macro level, the decisions we make tie it back to the brand and business. If my team thinks something is cool, I am the safety net and translator for other executives.
How does your team find creators to work with?
We use both in-house and agency partners, like Captiv8. Lately, we have in-housed more functions like community management and understanding who is tagging us in what content. This is our first stop shop for creators. We are more focused on building relationships than being transactional when it comes to creators, which is why our internal teams need to be at the start of the conversation.
What would make your job easier?
I think measurement and listening have not evolved at the same pace as consumer consumption and content creation. These closed APIs — we’d love if more platforms were willing to open those so we can see what earned content creation looks like for us on TikTok, Twitch, YouTube. It feels like there is an ocean of content that we want to boil down and listen to. We also need innovation in these areas, like how can we use AI to scan videos at scale for our brand logos to find our next creators?