I love coming across a good case study or interview with brands helping to innovate the world of influencer marketing.

I was pleased when I got my edition of iblog magazine in the mail the other day and flipped to an interview with Kristin Hylek who manages influencer relations for McDonald’s.

The reason why this interview impressed me so much is because McDonald’s is doing what I advocate for the hardest when it comes to influencer marketing—embracing the network approach.

They do this through a portal site, Family Arches.

This site allows influencers and brand fans to opt-in to their network and have a place to go for all brand discussions and information.

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Step 1: Network Engagement

Family Arches is a community that connects influencers and advocates of McDonald’s together and gives them a place to communicate with each other and with the brand.

Just a few of the cool things they offer that you can do for your brand include:

  • Behind the scenes glimpses
  • Exclusive access to brand and VIP communities
  • Information before the rest of the world
  • Communicate about mutually beneficial relationships
  • Sharable resources and content

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Step 2: Human Interaction

Spring boarding from their Family Arches brand, McDonald’s works with their community to do as many in person interactions as possible.

The addition of in person meetings, events, etc. provide extreme brand lift because a more human, interactive layer is added to the relationship.

At blogger events, bloggers have conversations with likeminded individuals, get to put a face to a name for people they’ve been emailing with and have something to take pictures of and share with their own networks. Selfie time!

McDonald’s PR team tackles this by attending blogger conferences which fosters relationships with current influencers and creates new connections.

They also engage bloggers at a local level to promote local events.

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Step 3: Vet for Genuine Interest

Of course, with any brand, there are bloggers who love the brand and bloggers who mix with brand like oil and water.

Before vetting and adding an influencer or ambassador to their programs, McDonald’s researches their content and engagement. Do they show a true affinity for their brand? Do they interact with their own readers? Etc.

Over how far an influencer’s reach is, the genuine connection to the brand is crucial.

Step 4: Set Clear Expectations

Just like you want to know what your influencers want from you, they want guidelines from your brand. From campaign dates, to compensation to sharing media on both sides—decide and share your expectations right away.

Do you have an example of a brand fostering an engaged network? I’d love to hear your favorite examples!