Walmart’s Facebook Page Caters to Broad Fan Base

Nov 22, 2011 2:47 AM  By

Building online followers and driving online engagement is a valid goal for any retailer with a strong brand—one that can be correlated to brand awareness statistics and conversion events. And even though Facebook is a bit like the Wild West, Walmart is doing an effective job at building and managing its Facebook presence.

The official Walmart Facebook page has more than 10 million fans, and has been growing fans at a rate faster than most other brands too – 8% over the last 30 days. What makes Walmart presence on Facebook stand out though is the way that it engages with consumers.

Walmart typically posts something on Facebook twice a day, while most brands post every other day. What is even more striking though is that each Walmart post receive an average of 500 comments.

Why are fans interested in what Walmart’s is posting? First, the retailer posts about a host of topics, ranging from the availability of a new shopping app to one of its charitable affiliations. It’s a smart move for Walmart to provide a little something for everyone, leveraging its broad fan base.

Second, while slightly obvious, Walmart’s approach to pitching products in its posts is very effective. Walmart typically combine a product plug with a survey. “They’re back! Find the perfect card for any occasion starting at just $0.47. What kind of card do you like to give: sentimental or silly?” That is just one example.

The post that received the highest number of comments in recent weeks was the survey question, “It’s time for pumpkin pie! What’s the best part: the creamy filling or the buttery crust?” Walmart received more than 5,000 likes and 2,000 comments in a single day to that question.

Notice that the company didn’t ask readers if they were going to buy the filling for their pumpkin pie at Walmart, though it obviously hoped they would. And, Walmart didn’t tell readers the price of an already made pumpkin pie at store, though they are clearly sold there. Instead they asked a question in a way that was intended to trigger people’s memories and stir their taste buds.

Delving into why people would take the time to comment on these type questions could actually be the topic of an entire column, but the point here is that Walmart’s light touch appears to be successfully striking a chord with its fans.

In addition to frequent posts, Walmart keeps the brand conversation going by making new apps available to fans – at the time of this writing there were nine available. Need to find your nearest Walmart store? There’s an app for that. Need recipe ideas? Walmart has them. Just download the Meal Solution app for recipes and a complete shopping list.

Want to offer comments on the Walmart store you just visited? Go right ahead and use the Feedback app. Actually, an app like that can be key to successful brand engagement if moderated properly. It provides customers with a place to post their concerns.

And in the case of brand detractors, if you provide a place for them to vent, they are less likely to create their own “fan” page, which may not be to a brand’s liking.

Janice Smithers is senior media strategist for
Covario’s analytical insight services.