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If you've got time to lean, you've got time to listen...
By Jeni Armstrong, Order Up blog
October 30, 2012




… to a really fantastic interview with Rick Wion, Director of Social Media at McDonald’s (U.S.).

Now, I’ll warn you: this is a fairly long conversation, 4,000 words, give or take.  But you can also listen to it while you do the thousand other things you’ve got planned for any random half hour during the day (podcast runs about 35 minutes long).

And why would you want to listen to an interview with yet another social media expert?  Here are three quotes from Wion that will give you a sense of the challenges that McDonald’s faces in social media spaces, and the systems they have in place to respond:


On being one of the most talked-about brands in the world:

Through our current monitoring systems and tools, we’re seeing in the range of 2.5 million or so, a little more or less, mentions of McDonald’s through social media each month. This covers obviously Twitter and blogs and comments on YouTube and things. Obviously we can’t see Facebook data in that, so that number is actually even higher.

On separating the necessary from the noise:

So, we have a triage system, and that is run on a day-to-day basis by our response team that covers Facebook and Twitter. This team is comprised of folks within the communications function at McDonald’s, but then also folks from our customer service area. We actually set that up from day one.

We wanted a blend of both folks because we know that for just brand questions and conversation, our communications team would handle that. But when we get into the issues of someone, their order got messed up through the drive-thru for instance, I wanted some folks who had came from a call center background who are used to dealing with customers who might be less than happy, and have an ability to quickly diffuse situations and turn them into happy customers again.

On the value of having “brand advocates”:

… instead of creating a corporate blog, we looked to bloggers who were talking about McDonald’s. We took a very “media relations” type of approach, saying bloggers are influencers. They are publishers. They are media outlets unto themselves. So why don’t we take what we’ve learned from media relations over the past several years, and apply that to bloggers? Let’s get to know them. Let’s build relationships …

(For example:) Moms have been a key audience for us, ever since my mom was taking me to McDonald’s when I was a little kid. With the influence of mom bloggers, they became a very important group for us as well. We did things like sponsoring conferences. We’re talking to moms.

… and a whole a lot more.  Check out the links below for the full interview.

Read online: How McDonald’s Handles Thousands of Social Mentions Per Day

Listen online: Click on “play” on this page, right below “Listen Now.”

Download the audio file: mp3 file or iTunes

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