Walmart’s Local Facebook Strategy Isn’t Working, Study Says

walmart-storefront-240Walmart’s launch of 3,500 Facebook Pages last year for its local stores has had “very low consumer impact,” and the pages aren’t as popular as the Facebook pages of competing small businesses in similar local areas.

Those are some of the findings from a new study by Recommend.ly, a social media tools/analytics company.

Walmart launched the “My Local Walmart” campaign last October, which involves a Facebook app that stores can use to communicate sales, specials and other updates with fans in the local area. But, according to the study, local stores haven’t been using their pages effectively (if at all), and shoppers aren’t warming to the idea of friending their loca store, either.

Recommend.ly studied about 2,800 of Walmart’s local Facebook pages and found the following:

Fan Count

Only four percent have more than 1,000 fans, while about 22 percent of other local business pages (in the same markets where Walmart has stores) have more than 1,000 fans. The distribution chart below shows that local business pages are more successful at attracting fans.

walmart-fan-count

Also, Walmart local pages as a group have about two million fans, which is about 10 percent of the 19.5 million fans that Walmart’s main corporate page has. Since the My Local Walmart program launched, Walmart’s main page has gained 10 million fans — five times as many as the local pages combined.

Conversation Score

Recommend.ly’s own “Conversation Score” metric also shows how poor the local pages have performed.

Walmart’s corporate page has a score of 66, with 19.5 million total fans and seven percent “active fans.” By comparison, only three of the 2,800 local pages had a score above 50 and about 54 percent had a score below 20.

Page Activity

As I understand it, the app that Walmart uses for this program allows for a combo of centralized posting (i.e., from Walmart HQ) and local store posting, but it’s unclear how much effort local stores and store managers are putting into the management of their pages.

While Walmart’s main page averages 4.42 posts per day, the local store pages only send 1.24 updates per day. This is one area where the Walmart pages are outdoing competing local businesses; they average only 0.92 posts per day.

But Walmart’s local stores aren’t good at responding to fans on Facebook. Recommend.ly found that 85 percent of them never responded at all to fans that engaged with them on Facebook.

Ultimately, the study seems to show that even Walmart isn’t immune from many of the same challenges that small businesses have with Facebook (or any social channels). While millions like and engage with the corporate Walmart page, far fewer are interested in doing the same with their local store.

A Walmart spokesperson told AdAge this week that the local pages are “still in their very early stages.”

(Stock image via trekandshoot / Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Facebook | Facebook: Pages | Facebook: Statistics | Features & Analysis | Social Media Marketing | Statistics: Social Media | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://www.afmarcom.com/ Angelique

    Here’s what’s really frustrating: Since the admins of Walmart’s local pages do such a bad job of customer relations, we don’t know if the pages’ poor performance is because of their mistakes, a lack of interest in following a local Walmart, or a lack of interest in following any local branch of a major chain. The people who would be most interested in this answer are other franchise owners, who want to know if a local page is worth their time and effort.

  • Pat Grady

    Socialize with my local Walmart, sounds like fun!

  • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

    People interested in shopping local are the least likely audience to friend Wal-mart. Many of us consider them the poster child for unethical business. Companies like them who squeeze every lemon dry are highly unlikely to dedicate any resources to actually using those local pages.

  • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

    Creating relationships with your customers and potential clients definitely works, but I strongly recommend using major networks to connect with them and then taking them to a domain under your control. Facebook’s continual changes break what small businesses pay to create and force them to constantly dedicate resources to a new learning curve. What really works is PERSONAL recommendations from people who love your products and services which occur when a business focuses on consistently providing exceptional service.

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