By JULIE JARGON
Updated Oct. 13, 2016 10:04 a.m. ET
The restaurant industry is fully immersed in social media. Everyone from your favorite fast food chain to the neighborhood diner is using social media to advertise products and connect with fans. Companies such as online retailer Zappos.com Inc., coffee giant Starbucks Corp. and discount airline JetBlue Airways Corp., have been using social media for years to manage customer complaints and generate ideas. McDonald's is struggling to restore the appeal of the Big Mac and its other burgers, as competitors pull in customers with gourmet, made-to-order hamburgers.
As recently as two years ago, McDonald’s had no way to consistently track and respond to what is being said about it online, a lost opportunity for a brand that gets mentioned on social media every one to two seconds. Now, McDonald’s has a digital media hub in Singapore and London as well as the one in Oak Brook. It recently hired 200 people from companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. to bolster its digital efforts and win back the millennials it lost to rivals serving fresher food. Just one in five millennials has ever tried the company’s flagship Big Mac, according to an internal memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
With almost 70 million followers across all countries, regions, and platforms - a 31 percent greater audience than incumbent Starbucks. With 7,748 brand posts in 30 days, an active audience of 1.4 million, and 104.8 million impressions, McDonald’s’ uses their enormous following as an amplifier for their social media activities.
While important, a large audience alone isn’t enough to guarantee a strong social media presence. McDonalds uses many other tactics and strategies to ensure their social activity is mature and engaging.
“I think that companies have been so desperate to win over millennials that they’re placing too much faith on social network outreach,” said Robert Passikoff, whose marketing firm Brand Keys has conducted studies showing that the number of tweets or Facebook likes a company gets doesn’t translate to increased sales.