MarketingSocial Media Strategy

Hope Springs Eternal: My Personal McDonald’s Social Media Win

sxsw coffee

I’ve been a longtime critic of McDonald’s marketing and social media efforts. Specifically, I have noted that their Facebook page is used as a broadcast piece rather than a discussion piece. Also that their efforts to appear “human” and “transparent” have, up until now, appeared to be staged and forced.

So, I’m at the JW Marriott for some 2015 SXSWi sessions, run out to get a coffee at the hotel Starbucks, and see that the line is INSANE. I tweeted my frustrations, and was surprised by this response:

McDonald's Social Media

McDonald’s has had several false start recently in terms of making their products and processes more in line with current American eating and buying culture. They seem to have only gotten serious in the last month or so, when the newly-appointed CEO announced that McDonald’s was eliminating the use of antibiotics in their chicken. Following quarter after quarter of sales declines, I’m starting to think that McDonald’s is finally starting to take their new direction seriously instead of trying to game the system.

Tweets like this show a brand that is listening and trying to be useful instead of trying to sell.

I don’t think I would have gotten this tweet a year ago. This shows an effort by their social team to do less brand-pimping and more actual listening. A year ago, I expect the tweet would have read “Looking for a pick-me-up? Try our new McCafe Frappes!”

Granted, they are still directing me to free McDonald’s coffee, but this is definitely a step in right direction. I’m glad McDonald’s was listening, which Starbucks and JW Marriott were not, obviously! I didn’t take McD’s up on their offer, but I did retweet the post.

This shows how easy it is to get a win on social: pay attention to what people are saying and try to be a helpful part of the community, not a loudmouthed advertiser. The best advertising is good word of mouth, something McDonald’s has been sorely lacking in the past.

I like to give credit where it’s due. Keep up the good work, McDonald’s Twitter team!


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