McDonald’s: “Social Media at Local, Regional, and Global Scales” — Live from BlogWell

3:40 — Andy Sernovitz introduces Heather Oldani, Senior Director of Communications and Steve Wilson, Senior Director of Global Web Communications of McDonald’s.

3:41 — Heather’s 3 questions McDonald’s is focused on in social media:

1. What is this really about?

2. What is the brand opportunity?

3. How do we structure ourselves for success?

3:42 — Heather: It’s all about the relationships we have and build with our key audiences.

3: 42 — Heather: Once we’ve created the relationships, it’s all about cultivating them so that eventually, hopefully, they will become key brand ambassadors for us.

3:43 — Heather: Every 5 seconds of every day, it’s estimated someone is talking about our brand online, somewhere.

3:44 — Heather: The hardest thing for us to learn lately was to go out and foster existing communities. In the past, we would build microsite after microsite hoping the old adage of “if you build it, they will come” was true.

3:45 — Heather describes how it’s not a department that owns social media, it’s the consumer.

3:46 — Heather: There is no one owner or department of social media in McDonald’s, rather, multiple departments are involved in it.

3:47 — Heather explains how McDonald’s had to step in and say social media was controlled at the national level to begin coordinating and managing what was becoming a flood of microsites, Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages for every local market.

3:49 — Today, McDonald’s involves several departments in social media, including creative, customer satisfaction, legal, brand content, field, communications, and media.

3:50 — Heather: Our national brand Facebook page is now beginning to experiment with their “MyMcDonald’s” tab to find information relevant to their local area McDonald’s by entering their zip code.

3:51 — Steve: I like to say that the internal social media component has been an overnight success that started five years ago.

3:52 — Steve explains Mindshare which is now an evolution of their original blogs.

3:53 — Steve: Our culture is not about one person, it’s much more collaborative and much more like a family. In fact, we call ourselves a McFamily.

3:53 — Steve: Mindshare has 10 neighborhoods within the community — going everywhere from operations to open channels. We share all kinds of information. We get input from our owner-operators for other owner-operators, for example, such as “You know those fingerprints on your windows and doors? Here’s how I’m solving that at my operation in Italy.”

3:55 — Steve: We don’t make it that you have to belong on Mindshare. We try to make it an interesting, inviting place.

3:56 — McDonald’s has taken the Mindshare platform and reskinned it for a community for investors and stakeholders at

3:57 — Steve explains how one of their executive leaders came to him and wanted to blog, so they helped set him up. Through this, Steve was able to show other leaders how successful the blog is, and not just for the comments on that blog, but for the discussions it drives elsewhere online.

3:58 — Steve describes Station M — the whole idea of which is to give the crew a place to come and engage with each other.

3:59 — McDonald’s surveyed people on what they wanted in Station M: People said they wanted to share more about themselves and to share their ideas on the company.

3:59 — Steve: There are about 40,000 crew members engaging in Station M today.

4:01 — Station M is the only way McDonald’s can directly reach crew members, other than through their annual book they publish.


Q: You have a very large work force, so I wonder what’s the value of having this private site, versus having a public site? Why not use Facebook, which would let the regular consumer listen in?

A: The password protection is very loose. So if a crew member chooses to pass along that information, we’re perfectly fine with that. Also, Steve’s team is getting ready to create a survey to find out where crew members are engaging. Originally, there was a desire on the crew part to be part of something exclusive.

Q: Despite having such a large community that technically isn’t employed by you — they’re employed by the franchisees — you’re one of the most open brands out there. How do you do it?

A: We had a lot of people on the team that realized that if we don’t be a part of this, it’s going to go on without us. We had some forward thinkers, and luckily our legal team gets it too. By doing Station M, that enabled us to work more easily with legal as well.

Q: You mentioned McDonald’s is done with the microsite, how do you plan to do that?

A: We’re working on that. It’s a huge IT structural and resource discussion, but we’re asking all microsites to move to McDonald’ later this year and plan to host all content there.

Q: What outside tools and channels are you looking at?

A: We’re always looking at those. Yelp, for example, is a channel we’re looking at because so many reviews are going there.

Q: Any lessons learned or insights in terms of, if you have different departments marching down the social media path, what is the best way to ensure everyone is on track?

A: It’s all about listening. One of the things we’ve established is that we have monthly meetings now. It’s the second Tuesday of every month. We share data, ideas, and talk about how to move forward and how to integrate and leverage across the globe.

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