McDonald’s Social Media Strategy

Author- | Posted- | Updated: January 2, 2019 |

Social Media Strategy of McDonald’s (Fast food chain)

McDonald's Social Media Strategy

Social media has become a primary tool of marketing for businesses in the 21st century. More and more of them from all industries are flocking to the social media platforms to market their brand and products. They are actively publishing content, engaging their audience in discussions and in this way growing their customer base and engaging the existing customers. Social media has also proved highly effective in terms of marketing and is helping brands reach millions of fans and customers. They do not need to spend a fortune either. It is helping them manage their customer relationships in several new ways. From fun to food and fashion, brands from all industries and even tech industry are actively engaging on social media and connecting with their followers in real time. McDonald’s is the leading fast food brand of the world. It is mainly managed by its franchisees. The company operates across more than a hundred countries. Its number of restaurants has grown higher than 37K. The QSR brand sells a uniform menu globally except for minor regional variations to suit the local taste and preferences. However, the company also focuses on marketing and promotions to reach its target audience. Apart from the other channels of advertising, McDonald’s uses social media for marketing and promotions. Let’s have a look at how it has utilised each of the major social media channels for marketing, promotions and customer engagement.

Facebook:

With more than 78.5 Million followers, the Facebook page of McDonald’s looks quite popular. A very high number of marketers and brands use Facebook. After all it is the leading social media platform with the highest number of users. As the largest social media website, Facebook boasts of more than 2.2 Billion monthly active users. No company or marketer will find a bigger base of users and customers accessible on any other platform on the entire web. It is why Facebook is at the core of the social media strategy of most marketers. The level of user engagement on both Facebook and Instagram can be quite high. However, brands must still refrain from using these platforms too aggressively for they can end up spoiling users’ taste and their own image as well. McDonald’s has used Facebook mainly for promotions. However, they are not using it solely for promotions. McDonald’s also uses it to some extent to address customer service related issues and people’s complaints. The social media reps of the company respond to people’s recommendations or complaints as required. Overall, the number of views, likes, shares and comments on each posts shows an impressive level of engagement.

It is good to engage with your fans by occasionally responding to their concerns. McDonald’s is doing well in this area. People do often bring their grudges and complaints. However, the trick lies in engaging them successfully and  giving them genuine and practical responses that minimise dissatisfaction. Facebook can be an attractive platform to tackle your customer’s complaints. These discussions help you gain critical insights which will help you with making your marketing more effective. McDonald’s does not use the platform too aggressively for promotions. The number of posts is generally limited to no more than one a day. Still most of them receive likes in hundreds or a few thousands. While Facebook must not be used as a total marketing solution, it can still help you fill some important gaps in your marketing strategy. McDonald’s promotes mainly the freshest deals and new arrivals in its Facebook account. Apart from its main account, McDonald’s also has an India account with more than 1.7 million followers. Overall, it has used Facebook effectively for creating excitement and user engagement.

Instagram :-

For the fun, food and fashion brands, Insta is also a very attractive platform to market their business and promote their products or services. You are going to find a large and relevant audience on Insta as well. However, the audience size of Insta is much smaller as compared to Facebook and still it is a great option for video marketing and sharing images. McDonalds has got 3.3million followers on Insta and has made around 500 posts including videos and images. However, the main focus of the brand is promotions on this social media platform. It does not use Insta for discussions or to address customer issues.  Mostly, it is promotional videos or images which either promote new deals or items on the menu. However, the response from customers is still very good and the level of engagement impressive. McDonald’s uses most of these social media platforms sparingly in order to avoid a mess which can happen due to too much promotional content. This is a good practice. Even on Twitter it does not send too many tweets and generally sends just one a day. It has adopted this practice on nearly all of its social media accounts including Insta. while this helps at staying connected with users, it also helps maintaining the right image in the eyes of users.

Twitter:

Twitter is also a social media platform that attracts marketers in very large numbers. It has got some attractive features that are quite suited to real time marketing and interaction. Serve exciting news in real time to keep your fans engaged and feeling hungry. The reason that a large number of marketers flock to Twitter is because they find it most suitable for real time content distribution.  McDonald’s has more than 3.5  million followers on Twitter which is a large fan base for a fast food brand. Most of its rivals including KFC, Subway, Burger King and Wendy’s have fewer. Like the other platforms, McDonald’s uses this one too sparingly with number of tweets remaining limited to one a day and 5 to 7 a week. It has used Twitter also mainly for promotions and to churn excitement around new products and deals. Reps sometimes respond to comments but their level of interaction with users is much limited compared to Facebook. However, the number of retweets, likes and comments on each of its tweets shows impressive engagement.

YouTube:-

It’s an era of video marketing and brands from all industries promote their products and services using videos. Apart from being the largest video sharing platform, YouTube also boasts of a very large audience which is around 1.9 Billion  month active users a month.  However, it seems McDonald’s is not trying to exploit this opportunity to its fullest. The number of followers of McDonald’s on youTube is a little less than 400K. However, the number of videos uploaded by McDonalds is even less than 50. Some of these videos have been very popular and have received more than a million views. Most of them are promotional videos promoting the items on McDonald’s menu. Some of them are related to branding. McDonald’s can use videos more regularly to actively engage users. In this area, it must follow the brands like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Starbucks or even Nike which use videos more  regularly to promote their brand. Video content has become an essential part of your marketing strategy in this era and you can use them to generate excitement as well as to drive user engagement and customer loyalty higher.

Linked In:

Linked In is mainly the social media platform for professionals. However, it is also a social media platform with a large user base that allows businesses to build profiles, connect with prospective candidates and a larger audience. Many businesses use it for branding as well and to stay connected with an educated and skilled audience made up of working professionals. Even as a platform related mainly to employment, Linked In offers some great opportunities or branding as well as marketing. You would like to project a strong and impressive image as an employer before a large pool of talented people if you want to attract the right talent. You can also share new and exciting things about your workplace and work culture as well as new employment opportunities with your group of followers. While Linked In may not offer as large an audience as Facebook, Twitter or Insta, businesses can still benefit a lot from the opportunities it offers for both marketing and hiring.

McDonald’s is using an attractive strategy to exploit all the benefits that Linked In offers. Number of McDonald’s followers on Linked In is a little higher than 650 K. It actively engages its audience on a wide range of topics that most often include opportunities for work and collaboration on other issues. Apart from it, the company also uses Linked In to attract attention towards other issues and ignite discussions on topics like supply chain sustainability and Corporate social responsibility. Linked In is also its favourite platform for sharing best practices and generate excitement around the company’s business policies as well as employment programs. High number of likes which usually runs in hundreds and tens of comments on each post show impressive engagement.  McDonald’s also does not let any opportunity go to showcase the success of its employment and training programs through Linked In.

Conclusion:

Social media is now a very important tool of marketing for most brands including big and small. Several of them are using it actively for customer service and for addressing customer complaints as well. Social media channels like Facebook, twitter and Instagram have also been proved to be very effective for promotions to churn excitement and ignite discussions. the insists generated from popular reactions canals be very useful in terms of designing marketing strategy. McDonald’s is a leading fast food brand with presence in more than 100 countries. It is mostly run by franchisees. However, the brand has used social media with skill to connect with its customers and to engage its fan base. It has the largest base of followers on Facebook. However, it uses most of these channels for only promotions apart from Facebook through which it also likes to address customers’ complaints. Its  YouTube account however, seems to be lacking activity. The brand should follow a better video marketing strategy. In this regard it can seek inspiration from other major brands like Coca Cola and Pepsi. Otherwise its social media strategy is relatively impressive and effective. However, the level of engagement in case McDonald’s likes to increase it can be driven higher through active interaction and discussions.

Sources:

Social Media accounts of McDonald’s

Annual Report of McDonald’s 2017

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.