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Rob Petersen

10 lessons on Walmart’s social media strategy

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Walmart is the world’s largest public corporation, biggest private employer and largest retailer. It is still a family-owned business.

Walmart also has a big social media presence. Walmart has:

Why? What does Walmart know that the rest of us can learn?

Here are 10 lessons on Walmart’s social media strategy for every business.

  • START WITH A GOAL: Walmart’s goal for social media is to ensure that customers and potential customers understand that the discount store has the lowest prices in the industry and that Walmart’s mission is to help them save money so they can live better lives. That’s according to Chad Mitchell, Senior Director of Digital Communication. Because the company is often a target for controversial press, a second objective is to use social media to protect, defend and enhance Walmart’s reputation.
  • TRAIN EMPLOYEES: The company trains its employees on its mission. They encourage storytelling to solidify Walmart’s brand and the values its founder established more than 50 years ago.
  • ESTABLISH GUIDELINES: There are guidelines on engagement, location-based promotions for associates and “Walmart Moms” who post or publish.
  • HAVE A PURPOSE FOR EACH SOCIAL NETWORK: Walmart’s role for Twitter is to ask very basic questions of its users: “What’s happening?” By having a number of Twitter accounts, Walmart aims to provide information on Walmart’s major activities and initiatives – from sustainability to diversity, from healthier foods to charitable giving. Walmart uses Facebook to communicate specific values that are occurring every day at both the national level and in each of its 3,500-plus stores.
  • SEGMENT BY AUDIENCE INTERESTS: The company has Twitter handles with @WalmartHub being the “parent” handle that only Re-tweets the best performing content from the other handles, The other accounts feature the following topics:
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA NATIONALLY AND LOCALLY: On Facebook, the ambitious My Local Walmart program establishes individual Facebook fan pages for its 3,500-plus stores. It also involves a Facebook App that stores can use to communicate sales, specials, and other updates with fans in their local area. But local stores haven’t been using their pages that effectively. There is learning and improving that Walmart has to do, as does any business that use social media so broadly.
  • MAKE YOUR BLOG A COMMUNITY AND KEEP IT REAL: “Walmart Moms” started in the late 2000′s. They’ve always been real moms who are bloggers. Their role is simply to represent the voice of all moms, to tell and help others understand the daily challenge and triumphs of Moms. Participation in “Walmart Moms” is voluntary.


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About the Author:
Rob Petersen is President of BarnRaisers, an online marketing solutions company using social media, the power of community and the proven principles of relationship marketing. Rob was EVP/Chief Strategy Officer for Omnicom and has held leadership positions at FCB, Euro RSCG and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Rob has been recognized by the American Marketing Association for building billion dollar businesses multiple times. He has developed game changing consumer relationship platforms that have propelled brands from Abbott, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard and Pfizer to market leadership.
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