Be Like McDonald’s

Twitter makes it easy to communicate with others. When someone mentions you in a tweet, with a click of one button, you can reply to that individual right from your phone. Unfortunately, many elected officials and other representatives in the online political space do not take advantage of this simple feature. A perfect example of this is illustrated amongst the party leaders in the recent provincial election.

Courtesy of our friends over at Full Duplex, we see just how rarely each of the three main party leaders actually responded to people on Twitter:

As you can see from the chart above, there were only two replies from all the leaders combined in the period being examined. The numbers didn’t change much during the entire election period. The only exception was Green Party Mike Schreiner, who replied and retweeted more than he tweeted his message. Another metric that demonstrates this election was clearly “broadcast only”.

Contrast those dismal stats with the Twitter activity from fast food giant McDonald’s. According to analytics software company Sysomos, a full two-thirds of the tweets from McDonald’s are replies:

How are burgers like votes? Well, the type of interactions are the same: some who tweet at the McDonald’s account just want information, some have questions about the product, others want to rant, others still want to embarrass them. Sound familiar? McDonald’s could stay in broadcast mode, pumping up their Big Macs. But they decided as a corporation to directly engage with other Twitter users rather than just talk about themselves.

But you might say: “Well that’s all fine, but McDonald’s has tons of money and people to dedicate to this. I don’t.” And that is true. But it is also a question of scale. McDonald’s has 2.1 million followers on Twitter. That is a much larger audience to interact with. Relative to your audience, you don’t need the same staff compliment to handle the volume. Further, the McDonald’s account is the public face for thousands of restaurants servicing customers around the world. And yet they are still able to handle it all.

As someone in the public space, you need to first decide that replying and interacting is a means to an end – to get your message out by directly talking to others. Further, it is not an all or nothing scenario: if you answer one, it doesn’t mean you need to answer all. Lastly, there are many tools like Hootsuite and even Sysomos that help you organize and coordinate with your team, regardless of size.

Be like McDonald’s. Don’t ignore your audience.

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