Social marketing case study: McDonald’s your questions

Corporate communication is undergoing rapid change. As a rule of thumb, the challenge for large businesses is to maintain a genuinely personal approach to the customer, despite the sheer volume of enquiries, whilst keeping in line with the overall marketing strategy.

Web solutions, intertwined with thought-through social elements provide a thrilling opportunity for firms to remain authentic and yet strategic in their communication. One example of a corporation meeting this challenge quite impressively is McDonald’s Canada Q&A page.

The page allows anyone to ask a question (interestingly, at the length of no more than 140 characters) or read answers to other people’s questions. Answers vary in their length, format and tone. There are enough videos and pictures to keep one’s attention as well as enough depth to provide specific, scientific answers. In my opinion, there are at least three reasons why this page is worthy of every content marketer’s attention:


What clearly stands out is the genuineness of the questions and answers. Visitors see that the questions aren’t made up but come from genuine customers with their social profiles. And the length at which the editors go to provide the answer to each customer is considerable. The tone varies between clever, humour, sincerity and diplomacy. In a nutshell, the customer is left feeling that they are being taken seriously.


From the development point of view, the page is very straight-forward to use, and navigation is easy to understand. Customers can choose the topics of their interest as well as the format of the answer. As I mentioned before, those keen to watch videos or only see the pictures can do so easily, extending customer time on site and the potential of positive advocacy.


Most importantly, content is easily shareable, extending the reach and potential virality of the campaign. Each question is equipped with ‘share’ buttons, allowing the conversation to continue on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

It’s interesting though to see no bespoke hashtag associated with the site. It may be an attempt to prevent a hijacking and keep the conversation within the bounds of the site. It is a judgement call that needs to be made, and depends on the sentiment associated with the brand.

Of course, we don’t know how many questions get through the screening process, and customers have no way to respond to the answer provided by the corporation. Furthermore, what is still missing from the authenticity point of view is the identity of people answering the questions. The responses still feel corporately anonymous and faceless, and such a tone may backfire for a business seemingly concerned with building trust around its product offering.

Images courtesy of McDonald’s Canada

Read more onĀ integrating social elements into a brand’s website

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