SOCIAL SMACKDOWN: McDonald’s vs. Burger King #smlondon

It’s Social Smackdown time once again and we’re hosting the BATTLE OF THE BURGERS…or more specifically, a battle of how the burgers use social media.

Both McDonalds and Burger King are very established brands with a big history. The feud runs deep, so today I’m going to take a look at which brand is winning on social.

The battle so far:

As two fast food brands founded in the 50s, there was bound to be a little competition between them. Before we begin the Smackdown, let’s take a look at the previous competition between the two burger brands.

Firstly, there was adverts…

Burger King going in on McDonalds in a print ad (source).

Secondly, responses to hackings:

A more recent addition to the BK-McD’s journey happened earlier this year, when Burger King created a micro-site that was home to an open letter addressed to their biggest competition, McDonald’s.

Burger King proposed that the two burger joints set aside their differences for one day (Peace One Day) to create a truly epic burger all in aid of charity.




This led to various advert designs:


…as well as clever social updates:


This was McDonald’s response to the McWhopper proposal, and what a boring one at that. People have criticised McDonald’s for their response, calling it ‘pride over peace’. The coming together of the two brands would have raised a monumental amount of money, so it’s a shame McDonald’s couldn’t embrace the partnership.

However, now we have a bit of insight into the two brands competitive history, it’s time to jump right in and let the Smackdown commence.

ROUND ONE: The Facebook Fight:

In round one, we check out which brand is better on Facebook…DING DING DING!

McDonalds kicks off….

Profile: I’ve decided to take a look at McDonald’s main (and aimed at the USA) Facebook page, instead of one of the smaller umbrella pages. First of all, the page has an incredible 59,005,904 likes. That’s a crazy number. It’s also interesting to note that 43 of my own Facebook friends like the page too – so it shows the scale and number of people liking the brand. Their profile picture is simple and recognisable, with the classic golden arches that McDonald’s are known for. The cover photo is what looks like three friends eating McDonald’s burgers together. I think this header image is a bit strange as their heads have been cut off (people like seeing faces in brand photos) and I do think this could be improved a bit. It’s also great to see the jobs tab displayed at the top of their page too.

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Content: McDonald’s post very regularly on their Facebook account and it’s always either video content or images (what we like to see!).

By just glancing through their posts, I really like the content they are putting out. All the content is very relevant and on-trend, which makes it very sharable on a platform like Facebook. For instance, the post below uses very current language which people would share, since McDonald’s breakfasts are such a big hit! They use lots of video content which shows they know their stuff (videos from brands receive a much higher reach than regular posts from brands.)

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Staying with the idea of relevant and sharable content, they included this post about an employee whose photo went viral earlier this month. McDonald’s made sure to honour the employee on their Facebook page, which is a nice gesture.

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It’s also great to see McDonald’s jumping on trends such as #NationalCheeseburgerDay!

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Overall, I really like the content McDonald’s are posting on Facebook. It’s all very contemporary and fun, and works with the nature of the brand.

Engagement: I was not expecting anything special when it came to the engagement on the Mcdonald’s company page. However, I was pleasantly surprised!

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I was expecting a very corporate and serious tone to come from them, but as you can see in the screenshot above, they inject humour and personality into their conversations.

I think it’s really important for brands to tweet like humans, so that fans of the brand know they have a human support or can get customer service from an actual human being, rather than just being passed around by a bad corporate customer service robot.

Next up, Burger King!

Profile: Burger King’s Facebook page has a mere 7,380,955 Likes compared to the crazy number that McDonald’s have earned. But does this mean the content they post is lower quality? On first look, the Burger King page looks okay. They have the famous logo as the cover photo, and an image of their new special edition halloween burger as the header. It would be good to include a bit more context in the header image, such as a title or a hashtag.

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As previously mentioned, Burger King asked McDonald’s to partner with them to raise money for Peace Day 2015, but McDonald’s declined. However the collaborations continued with other lesser known burger chains, and it’s great to see Burger King posting an album with photos of the event.

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Like McDonald’s, Burger King post images with funny, contemporary captions that younger people can relate to. In the post below they include a very high quality image with a funny caption, which makes it a good piece of content.

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Another thing I’ve noticed about Burger King is that they post ‘food porn’ style images on Facebook. I think this works really well for food brands as it makes people start craving the particular food they’re looking at, in this case a burger from Burger King. I’m surprised that McDonald’s don’t do this more on Facebook!

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Engagement: In contrast to McDonald’s excellent engagement on Facebook, Burger King seem to be doing the exact opposite. They never respond to comments on their posts, and tend to ignore any of the complaints or queries that come in.

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Despite there being lots of opportunity to create conversation, Burger King ignore them and stay silent on their Facebook.

They do reply to some messages, but are not consistent with their responses.

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Winner of round two: McDonalds!

ROUND TWO! The Twitter Tussle:

Welcome to round two! Let’s take a look at McDonald’s and Burger King on Twitter….who’s best? Let’s find out.

McDonald’s first…

Once again, McDonald’s have a simple but clean blue and yellow logo as their profile picture. I’m finally glad they decided to include a but of food porn on social, as their header photo looks both simple but tasty! They have an impressive 3 million followers and are also follow a large number of people.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 16.08.03Content: It’s great to see McDonald’s using some features of Twitter to their advantage, such as the tweet below which includes a GIF.

Images such as the one below are funny and work well at real-time events that people are following on Twitter, so including some McDonald’s food is definitely a great idea.

They also jump in on days that are relevant to McDonald’s, such as #NationalCheeseburgerDay.

Overall I quite like McDonald’s choice of content on Twitter, although I feel like it could be slightly more interesting.

Engagement: McDonald’s have a very large number of tweets, which shows they spend time responding to their mentions.

One of my favourite things to look for in a brand is when they respond to tweets that may not actually @ them, but still mention the brand. I was happy to see McDonald’s doing this, which shows they have a great knowledge of how their brand is being spoken about on social. I also like that they use smiley faces (I’m a sucker for smiley faces!)

They respond to hundreds of people a day and the team are doing a great job at personalising each response.

Impressive stuff McDonald’s!

Next up, Burger King!

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Profile: Burger King have a similar look on Twitter than they do on Facebook. Once again they have their logo as their display photo and an image of the limited edition halloween burger as their header image. Once again I would like if their was more context on the header image like a hashtag or a title, but overall it all looks good, despite the logo in their DP being quite low quality.

Content: Just one quick look through Burger King’s Twitter feed tells me that I’m going to LOVE the content they post. They’re incredibly funny – there’s no heavy selling or boring corporate stuff, it’s all sharable and very relatable for their target audience.

I also like that they use lots of Twitter’s features to push content, such as the native Twitter video below, which works really well and looks really nice on their timeline.

I’m actually really surprised at their Twitter content, compared to their Facebook page. It’s rather like reading tweets from a funny friend or acquaintance rather than a brand – exactly how it should be done!

Engagement: Burger King engage with their followers and mentions in the same style as their regular tweets. They use lots of emojis which keeps the brand contemporary and ‘down with the kids’, if you will.

I’ve also noticed that much like McDonald’s, they respond to tweets that mention them that they’re not tagged in – which means they are doing a great job at keeping a thorough eye on their appearance online.

Winner of round one: Burger King!

ROUND THREE! The Insta-punch:

It’s the third and final round, and here we’re going to be delving into the brands Instagram accounts. Who’s rocking it? Let’s find out…

Have McDonalds got it on Insta?

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McDonald’s have a whopping 922K followers on Instagram! They only follow 55 users and have posted 248 images onto the platform.

Their profile is a pleasure to scroll through, as all the images follow a similar theme of block colours with simple shapes and layouts. Again they post about relevant days and topics, and are currently focusing on the countdown to their all-day breakfast menu.

A selection of my favourite posts:

Who needs #hashtags when you have #hashbrowns?

A post shared by McDonald's (@mcdonalds) on

Just catchin’ some rays.😎☀️#Sunshine

A post shared by McDonald's (@mcdonalds) on

Masterfully crafted. #WorldFamousFries

A post shared by McDonald's (@mcdonalds) on

…and how do Burger King do?

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Burger King noticeably focus on the ‘food-porn’ side of Instagram. They have 471K followers and have posted 464 photos on the platform. The first thing that struck me about  their page is that there are 4 images that all pretty much look the same, advertising the new halloween burger special (the black burger in the screenshot above).

The Instagram lacks the creativity and looks that the McDonald’s page provides, but does focus on the food porn side of it – which Instagram goes mad for. So although it may not look as impressive as the McDonalds’s Instagram, they have cottoned on to the fact that Instagram is where the foodies hang out.

A few of my favourite posts:

This picture of breakfast is making you want breakfast, probably.

A post shared by Burger King (@burgerking) on

Hot as fire. #FieryChickenFries

A post shared by Burger King (@burgerking) on

Chillin' this summer like…

A post shared by Burger King (@burgerking) on

Winner of round three: McDonalds!

Overall winner of the Social Smackdown:

The winner is….McDonald’s! I love McDonald’s quirky content and contemporary style. Burger King impressed me with their Twitter presence, but McDonald’s stole the show with their Instagram account! Congrats, Macs!

Who do you think should win? Tweet us @SocialMediaLond with your answer!