Want a Social-Media Role Model? Maybe You Should Turn to McDonald’s.

Of all the brands that could be looked up to as social-media role models, you certainly wouldn’t expect McDonald’s to be one of them – especially after their recent #McDStories fail.

But maybe their missteps have only served to motivate them to improve. Or, based on a ragan.com article I just read, maybe their recent embarrassment was more of an exception than the norm.

The article is subtitled The fast-food giant’s director of social media says the brand aims to drive and direct conversation, but not control it.” It begins as follows:

Social media has a universal truth, according to Rick Wion, director of social media for McDonald’s U.S.A. “You don’t control things. You can only hope to steer things in certain directions.”

Great statement. This is a refreshing contrast from the “work-your-network-till-you-get-results” advice I commented on in my last post.

Touching on McDonald’s relationship with bloggers, the article states:

“We want to be transparent in our relationships, and we want our bloggers to be authentic in their opinions,” Wion says. “We don’t want them to hold back if they have an opinion that isn’t totally positive.”

For example, one blogger who’s a fervent fan of the brand said she wasn’t too big on the chain’s new blueberry oatmeal. Wion told her to say so on her blog, because being positive all the time detracts from credibility.

One more notable quote:

“We do a lot of research, a lot of homework, to learn about bloggers who are talking about our brand,” Wion says. “We want to find folks who are talking about us, and we’re not necessarily looking for people who are writing long, glowing blog posts.”

Hats off to Rick Wion. I usually don’t eat at McDonald’s, but now that I read some of Rick’s philosophies on engagement, maybe I’ll grab a cup of McCafé Latte at the drive-through before work tomorrow morning.


1. Try to steer things, but don’t try to control. You’ll fail.

2. Be authentic/transparent, and encourage others who talk about you to be authentic/transparent.

3. Do your homework. Listen. Learn. 


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