The Great Walmart-Facebook Conspiracy

Walmart has started grooming a massive Facebook presence lately.  In stores, they’ve been urging customers to “Like your local Walmart on Facebook.”  Interesting.  It seems that, among big-box mega-mart retailers, Walmart is late to the game!

But this looks like a game that Walmart is prepared to win.  Here’s the key difference between Walmart’s Facebook strategy and, say, Target’s Facebook strategy.

Walmart is (professionally) maintaining a presence for every individual store.

All of the other big-boxes are not reaching down into individual communities to aggressively engage their markets.

This is impressive.  Here’s how I think they’re doing it.

Here’s the conspiracy: Walmart “community pages” are pushing out updates from an app called “My Local Walmart.”  “My Local Walmart” is an in-house app Walmart is using to auto-push updates to thousands of Facebook pages a day.  The content is run-of-the-mill tame promotional garbage, but that ROTMTPG is genuinely more effective when they have connected users on the local level, rather than the national level.

And it appears to be working.  The engaged users on my Walmart’s community page are talking to Walmart, airing their grievances, and getting responses.  They already have over 2000 Likes.

For Walmart, this seems like a huge achievement.  They’ve launched social media in a big, more-personal way than other brands, but they’ve still been able to maintain control of the situation.

… more as this develops.

#challenge: Write an API

If you manage a set of code, take some time today to improve your flexibility by replacing a certain set of code with an API.

Common characteristics of an API

  • A logical group of functions surrounding a task or set of data.
  • A reusable system that is easy to document, and a joy to use.
  • Easier bug fixes.  Fix it once, and it’s fixed everywhere.

You might have a set of tasks or functions on a website, or in a program that could really benefit from reduced code duplication. Things like…

  • Email systems.  Do you send emails a lot?  Reduce the work involved in sending emails, by writing a nice email API. $email->setSubject("Hello!"); $email->setMessage($message); $email->setRecipient($to); $email->send();
  • Formatting systems. If you have structured semantic data, waste less time formatting it by creating a slick formatting engine.  Array goes in; formatted data comes out. $formatting->printUserList($users);
  • Logging API.  Create a simple system for you to write entries to a log file.  Rather than complicated stacks of code, use a simple function call like $debug->log("There was a problem")