As one of the most successful businesses and most recognizable brands in the world, McDonald’s is no stranger to the particulars of marketing and PR.
But how does the company manage social media?
Rick Wion, director of social media for McDonald’s, spoke with PR Daily
about the ways the Golden Arches manages the wide world of social media. From that conversation, here are seven tips for social media success, including how you can take action at your organization:
1. Determine why your company is using social media.
Wion said that McDonald’s uses social media for three main purposes:
1. To sell products;
2. To build the brand;
3. To engage with customers and manage issues as they emerge.
Sit down with your communications, marketing, and PR departments (and whoever else you think should be involved) and determine your objectives for social media. This way, your team will understand its goals and have structure.
2. Employ different strategies for different platforms.
The social media team doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to social media. It has different strategies for the various platforms on which it operates.
“People want to see videos, polls, and brand entertainment,” Wion said of the McDonald’s Facebook presence.
Instead of posting nothing more than updates (or, God forbid, linking your Twitter feed to your Facebook page), set out to entertain your audience, Wion advised. Poll them about current events, post funny pictures and videos, and share stories about your brand.
Wion and his team use Twitter for “general communication, customer satisfaction, and building awareness.”
Which social media platforms make the most sense for your business? How do you plan to use each platform? When posting, keep the purpose of the platform in mind.
3. Make sure measurement jibes with your strategic goals.
“The blessing and the curse of social media is that you can measure in dozens, if not hundreds of ways,” said Wion. “The problem is that there aren’t any standards for what success looks like.”
As a result, McDonald’s has found that the best way to measure is to do so by campaign, because what is being measured varies by product and brand.
Don’t measure just for the sake of measuring. Have specific objectives in mind. Figure out what you want to see.
4. Entertain people.
Would you visit a boring Facebook page or regularly check a mundane, repetitive Twitter account? No? Your fans don’t want to, either.
Wion suggests publishing “unexpected posts” on your social media channels. From sharing posts that provide little-known information to drafting humorous updates, you can surprise and delight people and separate yourself from the millions of other updates.
See what other people are doing on social media and then experiment with your own content. What time of the day do people tend to engage with your page? What kind of posts does your audience respond to most? Respond accordingly.
5. Get organized.
Though there’s something to be said for spur-of-the-moment creativity, it’s not always sustainable or practical to live by the seat of your pants. Wion and his team use an editorial calendar, created using Excel, to manage posts and stories. Your team can use one to ensure that posts are relevant to upcoming holidays, events, and times of the year.
Create a calendar with your team. Mark important dates and ensure your team is aware and on top of the schedule.
6. Give your social media content some personality.
Wion knows that different social media platforms call for different social media “voices.” On Twitter, the McDonald’s team lets the personality of the Twitter team shine through because “people want to connect with actual people on Twitter,” he says.
The official McDonald’s Twitter feed
features a link with the bios of its social media team. On Facebook
, McDonald’s understands that people want to connect with their brand, so they use a “voice” that best represents the McDonald’s brand.
Determine your brand’s target audience. Use the voice most appropriate for that audience and the channels on which you’ve chosen to promote your brand.
7. Provide opportunities for consumers to ask questions.
McDonald’s hosts Twitter chats under the hashtag #MCDChanging to give fans the opportunity to speak with people like the company’s vice president of sustainability and, most recently, its chief marketing officer.
Find opportunities for your fan base to connect with decision-makers. Show them that they have a voice and that you’re listening to them. You can easily create a Twitter hashtag and promote your chat on your blog, on your Facebook page, and through your Twitter account. Follow other chats first to get a feel for the format and what to expect.
Samantha Hosenkamp is the social media editor at Ragan Communications, which publishes PR Daily.