Friday, November 2, 2007

Wal-Mart's Social Media Marketing Transgressions

When it comes to Social Media Marketing there are few failure examples to learn from. Mainly because it's so new but also because many failures get quietly swept under the rug. Unfortunately for Wal-Mart, their mistakes are in the limelight but that gives us the opportunity to learn from them. Here are some pitfalls they could have avoided:

False Transparency - They got caught red-handed for staging thier blog (Wal-Marting Across America) leaving their readers feeling cheated and lied to. The couple who was RVing across the US turned out to be a PR stunt.

Build it and They Will Come Mentality - Last summer Wal-Mart built their own social networking site for teens. Did they really think they could compete head-to-head with MySpace? With more than 3% of their traffic coming from MySpace at that time, why not optimize that relationship and go where the community already exists? Doh! After just 10-weeks the site was taken down...

Obsessed with Control
  • Their recent Facebook campaign is anything but open and genuine. If you're going to leverage a social media platform like Facebook you have to be willing to open the kimono. Instead they decided to keep a lock down on comments and disabled the forum feature leaving visitors irritated and upset.
  • They are now threatening their customers from posting Black Friday ad posts. Why would they go to such extremes - they should be rewarding people who want to talk about them - especially since it's not threatening to their business. Reward your customers for having a voice - don't reprimand them.
This realm of Marketing 2.0 is new for all of us and there will certainly be a trial-and-error period but I think these mistakes could have been avoided with a little research and education. I gotta give Wal-Mart credit for not giving up and at least one attempt has worked - reviews and ratings - let's just hope they can handle the negative reviews. It’s clear though that at this point, they’re not getting it. Marketing 2.0 is about enabling conversations and they don’t seem to be interested in that. Quite the opposite in fact. They’re still acting like it’s a different kind of radio.


Sharlotte said...

Your blog seems to be very interesting. Personally I like Walmart. I may find everything I need there. Much about Walmart one can find on Especially consumer reports on the quality of goods and services. The store is wonderful but the customer service is awful. And the problem can not be fixed in any way. No one listens to the voice of the consumers.

MSMITH20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MSMITH20 said...

What walmart did was unethical and will surely pay the price. Your article was informative and will teach readers the do's and don'ts of business.
Micheal Smith
Social Media Marketing

Denni Bonn said...

Hello. I find your blog very interesting. Since you have mentioned Walmart here I would like to tell that I do not find it that great as the others may. The thing is that the customer service is far from being perfect. I was going to return the purchase in two days after I bought it and the manager told me I could not do that. What is worse he did not give me the serious grounds for that. I was disappointed and went to this great site to post a complaint.

Michael said...

Hi there, very interesting this post, hope you can keep up the good work.
Thank you for the information.

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Alex Agase said...

I'll buy a glass of beer to that person from that forum who told me to visit your site. :)
Really worth to read the whole article. Hats off to Walmart.

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