6 social media lessons from McDonald’s YouTube hit


The fast food chain teaches us all how and why we should embrace customer’s questions and feedback.

By Ragan Staff | Posted: February 4, 2015

Gone are the days where companies can successfully spray-and-pray social media content. Today, your messages can easily get lost in the social media chatter. But you can break through if you’re willing to engage brand fans—and listen.

That’s what McDonald’s did with its “Our Food/Your Questions” program, which features videos shot at McDonald’s facilities that answer tough questions about its food. Tyler Litchenberger, communications manager at McDonald’s, says the effort lets customers take ownership of McDonald’s story.

Want to take some of McDonald’s strategies and make them work for your organization? Hear Litchenberger and seven other experts speak at The Visual Communications and Infographics Summit in Chicago, March 2-3.

Here are some of Litchenberger’s program takeaways and social media tips:

  • Find influencers. Communicators must stop focusing on any particular social channel, advises Litchenberger. “Be channel agnostic instead. Find your brand fans and influencers—regardless of what channels you are implementing. It’s about where they live,” she says. “Using Sprinklr across multiple platforms is perfect for this. We also find great influencers through Social Chorus.”
  • Convert the undecided. Don’t focus solely on negative people, suggests Litchenberger. But do engage critics and the undecided willing to see both sides. For example, McDonald’s tapped Grant Imahara as a host. The former “MythBusters” host was a known McDonald’s critic. The move gave the program instant credibility. “He keeps us in line,” she confirms.
  • Don’t respond to everything. McDonald’s follows disciplined protocols when responding to questions. “Our agency (Golin) monitors social media for questions using Sprinklr,” Litchenberger says. “Questions then go to subject matter experts in various departments including operation and supply chain. We then determine answers and run them by legal.
  • Have fun; don’t be robotic. Try to vary your responses to customers through your social channels, advises Litchenberger. For example, “When we respond on social media with information some people comment that it’s probably a computer response,” she recalls. “When we see this we will respond by calling out images from their profile picture or having fun with topics they talk about a lot in their feed. It’s about fun for our customers.”
  • Don’t go it alone. Your audience expects high production value. “That’s why you need great production partners,” Litchenberger says. “This entire program was in collaboration with three agencies. The videos were done with IW Group out of Los Angeles, who brought in a great production team.”
  • Make infographics interactive. Avoid infographics that are stale and metric heavy, cautions Litchenberger. “Instead, make them graphic and colorful with useful information relevant to your audience’s everyday lives,” she advises.

Gather more in-depth takeaways at The Visual Communications and Infographics Summit March 2-3, 2015, in Chicago. Tyler Litchenberger, communications manager at McDonald’s, will present on: “How to go from speaking at customers to engagement and conversation.” 

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