McDonalds Social Media: McDStories
In January, McDonalds launched a creative campaign to get organic Twitter interaction from happy customers by using the hashtag #McDstories. They wanted customers to tweet their comments about good experiences. The concept for this campaign was in theory, a good one, but because they chose to use Twitter as their medium, they ran into a social media disaster. When it comes to word of mouth (WOM), one bad review speaks much louder than a few good reviews. This general rule applies online. In the case of the McDonalds twitter campaign, using Twitter as the channel of communication gave too much control to the audience. Ultimately a few very vocal customers turned the #McDstories into a horror story hashtag and the whole campaign backfired on McDonalds.
The lesson here: know your channel and how to engage the medium and the audience to manage situations. There will always be a few “bad apple” customers who are negative-nancys and no matter how good the product, service, or experience, they will find a way to complain. The key for good PR departments is to constantly monitor the conversation, gain control of declining conversations, manage the relationship, down play the negatives and eliminate the poor reviews. This strategy is extremely important for smaller companies that don’t have the massive market dominance that McDonalds possesses.
Victory is a mysterious benefactor!
A recent campaign by McDonalds of Canada happened to have a very successful experience using social media. McDonalds of Canada created a section on their website where anyone can pose a question in which McDonalds will potentially respond. Of course response times, and answers vary, and not all questions get answered. Yet, McDonalds has knocked it out of the park with a few answers in particular. They answered one question from a customer named Isabel who asked why the advertisements look so much better than the actual store bought version. The “behind the scenes” video response made by McDonalds of Canada was cut, dry and honest. In fact it was so real, that the typical good image agenda was left in the wake of sincerity and honesty and because of this people naturally wanted to share the info because it did not feel like an agenda, or a marketing scheme.
The video is nearing 7 million hits and continues to spread as the viral effect continues. This campaign is working wonderfully for a few simple reasons. McDonalds of Canada, has control over the medium by creating a comments section on their own website. Any post at any time can be removed, or discussed with the customer privately. Furthermore they can choose which questions to focus their time energy and resources on with full-fledged answers and yet still engage the broad audience they want to reach. Also the content is easily shareable through links to the YouTube video. Ultimately McDonalds chose a strategy that allowed them to have control of the medium and the message while maintaining the organic conversation in a positive light.
For more info, check out this article by Adage.
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