July 2, 2013 News & Events

The Director of Social Strategy for Walmart Corporate Affairs tells CIO his top five secrets to social media success.  Read the article on CIO.com here

When Walmart Corporate Affairs set out to improve and grow their relationship with their customers and stakeholders through social media, the company brought in Umang Shah. As Director of Social Strategy for Walmart Corporate Affairs department, Shah is responsible for managing and promoting the reputation of the world’s largest retailer through social channels.

Shah tells CIO.com, ” ‘We knew we had to have a Twitter page and knew we should be on Facebook, but what about Instagram and Flickr? We had individual presences but we didn’t really have a strategy about why we were there and what we were trying to accomplish.’ ”

Driven by the mission to protect, manage and improve Walmart’s reputation, Shah developed a strategy that uses the power of social media to give the company a direct voice to the people. The strategy Shah implemented deeply integrates real-time data to inform Walmart’s content, engagement and distribution. He believes that success on social means the company needs to be guided by data that enables them to participate in the conversations matter most; to engage with customers and stakeholders; and help deliver on the company’s operational goals. Doing this at scale is no easy task.

Shah developed a structure on Twitter that mirrored their corporate initiatives, creating handles for @walmartgreen, @walmarthealthy, @walmartgiving, @walmartaction, @walmartnewsroom. Each was staffed by the appropriate groups. They created @walmarthub as a channel that would provide collective information from each category to those that wanted it.

Operating with the mantra of delivering the right content, to the right audience, Shah brought on SocialFlow to succeed on all three fronts.

CIO writes, “After developing a number of new Twitter communities, Shah and his team worked to better understand the people who were joining them by using the social media marketing tool SocialFlow.

‘We wanted to find out who was there talking about what and whether people cared about certain topics,’ Shah says. ‘You might have had a hard time convincing me that people wanted to talk about sustainability and corporate responsibility, but they did. We tried to understand and profile them: What do they talk about? How active are they?’ “

SocialFlow enabled Shah and his team to run tests and optimize the content to ensure that they were getting maximum return and engagement from every piece of content they published.

For the first three months of the new strategy, Shah intentionally focused on building engagement through earned content. During that time, SocialFlow helped Walmart’s corporate Twitter content achieve high levels of audience growth and engagement. Armed with SocialFlow’s performance data, the company spent the next three months boosting their earned success with an informed paid strategy that built on areas where they achieved success and amended content strategies that had room for improvement.

Overall, Walmart’s corporate handles have seen increased engagement on Twitter by over 1,200%. With access to real-time data, Walmart team has rapidly scaled its ability to respond to customers and stakeholders. Response time has decreased from an average of two days to hours and usually within 10-15 minutes. Further, the Shah and his team have been able to identify, research, strategize, and respond to over 100 different unique critical situations in real-time.

As Shah told CIO, ” ‘Everything we do is about data, which is why it’s so important in building out a good strategy. It lets us collect information and gain insights that we haven’t been able to do before.’ “

Written by SocialFlow Marketing