McDonald's 14,500 Facebook pages will get us closer to customers, says digital manager

Speaking to Marketing in a follow-up interview, Martinelli explained that McDonald's US is focusing on "one-to-one" engagement with its customers.

OAK BROOK, IL: McDonald's US wants to "get closer" to customers with a hyper-local push that will include rolling out 14,500 Facebook pages before 2015.

The idea is to keep a close eye on customer conversations about local restaurants, rather than McDonald’s as a global entity, according to David Martinelli, the digital marketing manager overseeing the rollout.

Martinelli, speaking to Marketing, said, "Our customers don’t view us as regions and divisions, they view us as brand McDonald’s and the restaurants they visit."

Martinelli revealed the ambitious rollout last month at the Salesforce Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.

Speaking to Marketing in a follow-up interview, Martinelli explained that McDonald’s US is focusing on "one-to-one" engagement with its customers.

"It is important for us to deliver relevant content at the right time to the right people and play a role in the conversations they are having at the restaurant level," he said.

Along with customer engagement, McDonald’s US will use the pages to observe conversations about its food. The brand will also launch Twitter handles for each outlet to track customer discussions in real-time.

The brand is almost halfway through the rollout, which is being driven by the global marketing team with the help of ad and PR agencies.

Martinelli confirmed that local teams will manage the pages using Salesforce Social Studio, a set of social media management tools including Buddy Media and Radian6.

"Utilizing Salesforce’s Social Studio, our teams are able to see into the comments coming in on all pages in a single screen, review, and respond accordingly," he added.

This is not the first time a major brand has used Facebook to try to reach customers at a highly local level. Walmart launched 3,500 Facebook pages for local stores in 2011, but a follow-up study from social analytics firm found engagement was low compared with other local businesses.

Asked how McDonald’s US will avoid a similar outcome, Martinelli said the brand had "a lot to learn."

"As with any launch of this scale, there is a learning curve, but we are confident in the direction we are going and will continue to refine our strategy as this evolves," he said.

This story originally appeared on the website of Marketing.

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