Wal-Mart hasn’t had the best track record with social media. Their biggest problem is a lack of understanding of what social media is, believing it’s there to talk at customers and not with them. In the past, their experimentations with ‘The Hub‘ (a MySpace-based site, but lacking in social media) and the fraudulent Wal-marting Across America (where a couple, travelling across America and parking in Wal-Mart car parks, turned out to be part of a Wal-Mart campaign) have been a PR nightmare for the company. So this latest campaign has a lot riding on it.
The new campaign revolves around their new Facebook page deals app, . The concept behind the app is that a deal will be ‘unlocked’ every time the app received a designated number of ‘likes’.
Wal-Mart received 5,000 ‘likes’ in less than 24 hours, which led to a discount of 18% off a $500 plasma TV. This promotion is similar to promotions by sites like Groupon, who offer a cheap deal on meals, entertainment and products once the set level of people willing to buy it is reached.
The biggest difference is, Groupon offers deals from a variety of companies, while Wal-Mart is limited to its own products, making it more of a price promotion then a unique deal. They’re also slow to pick up on when a threshold is passed, meaning fans have to keep checking the page until the discount is finally released.
It’s an interesting concept, but one that still seems to lack much sociability. Wal-Mart still seem to be talking at their customers, with only a ‘like’ required as interaction.
Time will tell if this latest stab at social media will work.