With more than 1.5 million employees, McDonald’s is one of the largest employers in the world. That number alone is incredible — but when you factor in that these employees are spread across 119 countries, you really begin to scratch the surface of how challenging it would be to communicate across all of these languages and cultures.

But that’s just what McDonald’s is doing every day, and social media is playing a big part in that. In his recent BlogWell presentation, Joe Curry shared the details behind the company’s global “Voice of McDonald’s” challenge, an “American Idol”-like contest that relies heavily on social media to discover and promote the most talented employees. (read more…)

While you might not want to “friend” Mark Zuckerberg’s character after seeing the “The Social Network,” there is no denying that the film gives you a window into the zeal of the entrepreneur and teaches lessons about business practices and entrepreneurship, particularly “what not to do.”

Much of the film centers on the controversy over the ownership of the idea of “The Facebook,” Zuckerberg’s supposed treatment of friends and colleagues, and his general demeanor on his path to becoming a billionaire. Yet, there is something to be said for the fact that Facebook is a tremendous success story. Facebook’s high valuation is the result of a brilliant idea that was driven to succeed by a hardworking crew of passionate believers willing to invest the time, energy, and money to make a concept a reality.

After seeing a sneak preview of the movie, I came away with these takeaways for entrepreneurs:

  • A brilliant idea is just that … until you put it into action.
  • (read more…)

Blue cardiogram

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Is your company’s social-media marketing focused on maintaining customer loyalty or winning over new customers?

  • Quantity — we use social media to get new customers — 14.63%
  • Quality — we focus efforts on boosting customer retention — 23.58%
  • Both — we keep a good balance between numbers and loyalty — 61.79%

At a recent conference, I listened to business author Jim Collins talk about how companies need to embrace “a culture of ‘and’” to survive. Great companies, he says, reject the false choice between innovation and staying true to the core values. These companies know that to endure, they have to find new ways to interpret and execute their mission.

Of course, we all know it isn’t that easy. I’m sure many companies would love to choose “and” — but at the end of the day, they don’t know how to hold on to both goals. (read more…)

This post is by SmartBrief’s James daSilva.

Social-media is about sharing, connections and finding new opportunities through a wider web of knowledge, contacts and content. But what makes great content? If we can’t recognize and create great content, or listen to what our audiences respond to, how can we truly master social media?

First, we have to disregard the alluring anomalies — those YouTube videos of cats, Hitler’s pop-culture rants and other Internet memes. Those are one-offs, strokes of luck that rarely offer us guidance on establishing a content presence and reputation.

Great content is more often focused, concise and consistent, and the best content gives people a takeaway that they want to tell others about. Right now, you might be thinking, “I know all this.” But are you sure you’re practicing these tenets?

Let’s step back and look at an old-school device: the police blotter. Many newspapers have de-emphasized it, yet these short crime-related items are consistently among the most read, most talked-about stories in print and online. (read more…)

Tyra Banks says she is on a mission to empower women. At Monday’s IAB MIXX conference in New York City, Banks spoke at a keynote panel with IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg and Demand Media’s Joanne Bradford about her newest venture with her company, Bankable Media, to empower women by creating the content that they are asking for in the here and now.

Banks says she wants to create a platform where women can learn about and discuss the fashion and beauty issues they are already discussing online. Banks is partnering with Demand Media to cull content topics from real women searching and chatting online, in the hope of engaging women and empowering them by providing the type of content they seek. (read more…)