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McDonalds social media case study

McDonald’s Social Media: A Case Study

McDonald’s is one of the largest and most well-known brands in the world. In this case study, you’ll see that McDonald’s also understands how to make the most of social media. Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s look at some McDonald’s stats:

McDonald’s Social Media: The Stats

Established as a brand known the world over, McDonald’s has a solid social media presence. Global brand status gives them the advantage of using social media to focus on retaining current followers and brand loyalists. Metrics as of October 2022: Facebook:         81m likes (UK) Twitter:              250k followers (UK) Instagram:        4.4m followers (Primary Account) It’s safe to stay that McDonald’s has cemented itself as one of the shining stars of social media. But, how do they do it?

All Around the World

Whilst we only use the UK accounts for our stats above, McDonald’s has location-specific accounts too. This search on Facebook shows just a few different localised Pages for McDonald’s. An image showing all the different, location-specific McDonald's social media pages Partially, this is due to the differences in menus, promotions, and restrictions across the countries. Localised feeds allow for posting in non-English languages, creating a personal connection with customers across the world. McDonald’s Nicaragua, for example, publishes all of its posts in Spanish.

They’re Lovin’ It

McDonald’s portray a humorous, relatable persona across their social media channels. This plays into their strategy of using social as a friendly way to interact with customers and potential brand advocates. On Twitter, once you read their play on words with hashtags and Hash Browns, you know you’ll find funny, relatable tweets. McDonald's Social Media - A screenshot of the McDonald's Twitter profile, featuring a banner image promoting the Big Tasty Facebook homes McDonald’s largest following by far, with 81 million likes. This platform is more conversational, as it’s where most customers choose to interact with the brand. But, they still keep posts fun and light-hearted. McDonald's Social Media - A video promoting the Big Tasty, posted to Facebook On Instagram, McDonald’s utilises the app’s mobile focus by adding a link in their bio to food through the McDonald’s app and heavy emoji usage. As we know, selling on social media is all about convenience. By putting the order link front and centre, they remove any barriers between seeing the content and placing an order. McDonald's Social Media - A preview of the McDonald's Instagram profile

But… Not Everyone Is Lovin’ It

McDonald’s takes to social media to promote their brand, and attempts to use it with criticism too. They often face problems including sarcastic or amusing comments added to their social media feed. Even now, McDonald’s are experiencing unhappy consumers spreading bad news or unfortunate incidents in the resertaunts. As with anything on social media, one piece of bad news spreads faster than one hundred pieces of good news. And that has certainly been the case throughout McDonald’s history on social media. McDonald's Social Media - A negative Facebook comment A note about the above comment on Facebook is that another follower replied to the comment on behalf of the brand, rather than the official McDonald’s account itself. Receiving such a high volume of comments, it would be impossible for McDonald’s to reply to each one directly. This is where having brand advocates and actively engaged followers can help. While the reply is negative, it does point out that McDonald’s isn’t targeting vegans and vegetarians in its marketing.

McDonald’s Social Media: Customer Service

One of the main ways McDonald’s uses social media is to answer disheartened customers’ queries and try to rectify the problem. Almost every post from McDonald’s on each social media channel is met with replies/comments from unhappy customers. This can include people who received the wrong order, or opposers to the brand. Customer service on socials is key for brands like McDonald’s. Especially for maintaining a good, helpful image for the brand. Their Twitter feed is where questions and problems from customers are most frequently asked. Unlike Facebook, these messages aren’t hidden away but rather front-and-centre on the feed. McDonald's Social Media - A Twitter interaction

What They’re Getting Right

McDonald’s get several things right on social media:
  • Posting frequently/scheduling posts
  • Posting relevant content to their target audience
  • Engaging with customers and followers, in both a fun way and for customer service
  • Using current and seasonal events in their social promotion strategies
  • Using a personable, fun, and helpful brand tone of voice
  • Utilising the unique features of each platform and tailoring their content between channels.
This was true back in 2013 and still holds true today. An example from 2013 is that their Twitter and Facebook feeds were being constantly updated, and they utilised seasonality in particular. For example, at a time when students up and down the country would have been moving into their new accommodation, McDonald’s suggested sharing a box of chicken nuggets to make friends. In 2013, we wondered whether this style of content was a little see-through to Millennial students. On modern-day social platforms, we are better than ever at recognising when we’re being sold to. McDonald’s sticks to a good rule of thumb: keeping sales pitches at a minimum and opting for how McDonald’s can provide value in their customers lives, interacting with customers/followers, and mixing up their content often enough to seem fresh and exciting still.

How Strong is McDonald’s Social Media Strategy?

Your social media strategy should be constantly evolving, and McDonald’s follows this rule. Back in 2013, we described how Mcdonald’s uses social media as “basic”. In modern-day social media usage, simple and to-the-point posting is what thrives. For brands like McDonald’s, social media is key in answering customer concerns quickly and directly. Image credit: Leah Marie Photography

If you’d like to improve your social media presence and replicate some of the strategies that McDonald’s are using – get in touch today!

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2013 and has been edited and updated for republishing in October 2022.

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  1. So how does McDonalds counteract the negative criticism and sarcastic comments they recieve on every post? I saw them respond to a negative experience comment once but how does a company deal with customers who start huge hate campaigns across social media?

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