IRVINE, CA: Taco Bell has hired Nicole Weltman as its head of social.
Weltman started in the newly created role in February, reporting to Ashley Prollamante, senior director of advertising. Weltman is overseeing Taco Bell's social presence, including community management and content strategy.
"Social media is the future of marketing, so Taco Bell wants to be even more social-forward than ever before, so they wanted to bring in someone that had that level of thinking and could guide that," said Weltman.
TikTok is one platform she is looking to double down on. Social media coordinator Milo Simpson, who has been with the company for one year, is the brand's "creator in residence," and is aiding with social content, noted Weltman.
"I am also proud of the team's work on emerging channels like Discord," she said. "We have a Discord server that is fan-led, so our strategy is to make sure we are bringing in community leaders that are closest to what we call our 'cult' or most passionate fans and making them be a part of channels like Discord."
Weltman added that the future of social will be based in community and co-ownership, where people feel they are a part of a brand. In January, for example, Taco Bell created a video spot for Nacho Fries that was completely inspired by fan tweets.
“We want to do more of that and fuel fans’ passion for Taco Bell,” said Weltman. “That will keep us on the cutting edge.”
Most recently, Weltman was head of social strategy for North America at Ogilvy, where she worked on wider new business from a social strategy perspective for Ogilvy parent WPP. When WPP was named Coca-Cola's global marketing network partner in November, Weltman led WPP’s social work for that pitch.
Aside from Weltman, there are only two other people on Taco Bell’s social team. She said she is hiring three more people.
Doja Cat made a Taco Bell announcement during her Coachella performance on Sunday: Mexican Pizza is back on the menu. The singer also posted a TikTok video and tweet about the return of the menu item on May 19. Taco Bell told fans that they can tweet #IBroughtBackTheMexicanPizza and #Giveaway for an exclusive surprise. After Taco Bell removed the menu item in 2020, a Change.org petition was signed by 200,000-plus people to bring it back.