CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- McDonald's is ramping up its social-media efforts in the U.S., naming its first director-social media, Rick Wion.
Mr. Wion, who hails from GolinHarris, Chicago, has handled social-media projects for McDonald's since 2006. He was a founding member of the McDonald's Digital Task Force, which established the company's digital strategy.
In an interview, Mr. Wion said his marching orders are three-fold: using social media to build the business, manage customer problems, and beef up outreach to target groups such as mommy bloggers. Mr. Wion will work with the fast feeder's U.S. media relations team, and will soon have support staff. Mr. Wion will report to Heather Oldani, director-external communications and public relations.
Ms. Oldani said Mr. Wion's hire is the capstone to a full year spent devising a dedicated social-media strategy, assessing opportunities and establishing a method of determining ROI in the space. "Now it's time to have [someone] dedicated 100% of the time, rather than someone who's got a day job on top of a day job."
His first McDonald's social-media project, back in 2006, involved a publicity tour for Sarah Ferguson and Ronald McDonald House Charities for which he and his team developed a travel journal. More recently, Mr. Wion was involved in establishing the McDonald's Twitter handle, @mcdonalds, and establishing the process for responding to consumer complaints, among other things. The team has also put in place regulations for regional markets looking to set up their own feeds, like @mcdonalds_cincy. Regions must, for instance, identify their area in the handle in the event there's a promotion in Cincinnati that isn't going on in Philadelphia.
One of Mr. Wion's first major projects will be stepped-up outreach to mommy bloggers, which the chain has been courting for several years through its Moms Quality Correspondents. McDonald's will be reaching out to the group in a variety of ways this summer, Ms. Oldani said.
At Golin, where Mr. Wion was VP-social media, he developed social-media strategies for other major marketers including Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and BP. He also consulted with clients on alternative uses for social media, including FDA-regulated pharmaceutical marketing. Prior to Golin, Mr. Wion was director-client technology at Smithbucklin Corp., where he advised clients in digital marketing, e-commerce and content development.