Facebook, Instagram and Co provided the only link to guests in lockdown times in many cases. Social media communication experienced a rapid boost - but is used differently by restaurateurs. We describe which strategies the companies are choosing. Markus Weiß, deputy company spokesman for McDonald's Germany, outlines the strategy of the leading quick service chain on Instagram, Facebook and Co. in a foodservice interview.
How has the use of social media channels developed for your company in recent years?
Currently, we have corporate channels on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. On TikTok and Snapchat (very rarely), we occasionally run adverts or partner with influencers. Social media is firmly woven into the company's communications strategy. All topics, marketing or communication projects are also thought through for social media and prepared according to channel and target group.
Which platform is leading?
Since around the end of 2017, Instagram has been of particular importance in addressing a younger target group. Twitter is primarily the central platform for the (short-term) coverage of current topics and for content relating to the topic of sponsorship, particularly with regard to our involvement in the gaming sector.
How important is social media as a communication platform compared to other (digital) platforms?
In B2C communication, social media has the same relevance for McDonald's Germany as other digital platforms. For the direct dialogue with guests, fans and critics, social media naturally has a very special significance.
How is the significance of the various social media platforms developing for your company, which are gaining, which are losing?
Our Facebook community continues to be more extensive and active than average, which is why we treat this platform equally in our communication. But of course we also observe that Instagram and TikTok are now highly relevant - especially if you want to appeal to teens and twens. The importance of YouTube for moving images is unbroken.
For what different purposes do you use the various channels?
First and foremost, social media channels are dialogue channels. They offer us the opportunity to enter into an immediate and short-term exchange with guests, fans and also critics. In addition, transparent, approachable, "infotainable" communication at eye level - whether in dialogue, post, tweet, etc. - pays off in terms of positive brand perception. The respective insights tell us that almost every company topic can be successfully placed on the channels; as long as it is appropriately relevant, suitable for the channel and prepared for the target group - only in this preparation does the handling of the channels differ.
How has the use of SM channels changed for you and on the part of your customers in the past Corona year? What are the most important insights for you?
In view of the Corona pandemic, topics relating to safety and hygiene are also of particular relevance in social media communication, so that we also place our corresponding concepts and measures there and provide ongoing information in dialogue with users. Furthermore, we communicate our almost contactless touchpoints (McDrive, McDelivery, ordering & payment via app) frequently and regularly on social media channels. These regular notices and trust-building communication has been and continues to be appreciated by the social media communities.
In your opinion, has Corona increased the importance of social media for your business?
This is something that needs to be monitored further. However, especially in such an overall social situation, the possibility of direct dialogue at eye level is a suitable means of countering concerns and creating trust - in other words, being there for one's guests or users.