With over 28,000 social media accounts, McDonald’s has a complexity issue.
SocialMedia.org member Lizzie Roscoe says it’s hard to imagine the scope of their complex ecosystem that’s operating within 17 social channels in 119 countries and using over 26 software tools. McDonald’s large, global organizational structure made it all to easy for social media to get out of hand, and it was up to the digital team to rein it in.
At our Member Meeting in Chicago, Global Social Operations Manager Lizzie Roscoe joined McDonald’s Global Director of Social and Brand Hub, Matthew Tennant, to share a presentation on how they brought it all together to globalize at scale.
They started with a four-month assessment of the complex global system.
And they came up with five key findings:
- Customer engagement levels varied significantly. With so many accounts on so many channels, customers were getting an inconsistent interaction with McDonald’s. Some accounts were very active and responsive, while some lay dormant or used their channel as a one-way amplifier.
- Many social channels and accounts were duplicative. Lizzie says that in most cases, someone set up an account for a country, left the company, and left the account dormant. Then, when someone new was hired, they would launch an entirely new, duplicative account for the same country.
- Social processes and software tools were inconsistent. The 26+ tools used across the globe were not efficient, and they could not talk to each other. That posed a big problem for McDonald’s global campaigns like ones for the Olympics or World Cup.
- Social collaboration across markets was low. With teams in 119 countries working on large scale promotions, all of these duplications and inefficient tools made working together confusing.
- They needed internal alignment. As a decentralized company, McDonald’s markets typically operate marketing and communications under a “freedom within a framework.” “But,” Lizzie says, “when it comes to social media, we know that social us borderless. Internal teals need to start talking to each other.”
“We looked to our partners at Coke to model a one hub and spoke model globally,” says Matthew.
Under this system, McDonald’s will create hubs in three geographically aligned locations globally. The Global Brand Hubs in Chicago, London, and Singapore serve as physical locations to market level spokes with real-time data, predictive analysis, alerting systems, and other services. That includes:
- Data intelligence: Giving markets an always-on, global pulse for the brand and customers.
- Engagement advocacy: Joining in on conversations and reinforcing the brand and customer relationship.
- Content studio: After evaluation, they decided to move most of McDonald’s content studios in house, to more quickly create real-time, relevant, and planned content.
- Social learning center: With digital media fairly new to the organization, the hubs would act as a source for guidelines, training, and videos.
“McDonald’s gets mentioned online every single second. Every single second,” says Lizzie.
“Are all of those mentions actionable? Absolutely not,” she says.
To determine the most actionable mentions, Lizzie looked at three layers of improvement for community management. She started with the tools: Each team had to be aligned on the tech and tools for social listening to get rid of any blindspots.
She also created a system of automatic and manual message categorization. With a new message every second, they had to depend on filtering to sort through the flood of spam and unactionable messages.
Lastly, the new model would expand the core team of community managers to cover the US and Canada, corporate staff, Singapore, and London.
“We’re a 24/7 restaurant, so we want to support our restaurants and our customers 24/7,” Lizzie says. “And the best way to do that is through the hub and spoke model.”