Walmart: Santa Loves Us on Facebook

If Santa has been keeping up with his Newsfeed, he’s bound to notice the recent influx of holiday shoppers and wish-list-makers that are now following Walmart (NYSE:WMT) on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).

To be sure, Walmart has launched massive social media efforts to make this holiday gift-giving season a very busy one for Old Saint Nick (and, more importantly, for its thousands of U.S. retail stores). As a result of its push to increase the retailer’s digital presence, Walmart now has a staggering 23.5 million Facebook fans, the largest fan base in the United States, and wants to leverage that social popularity into higher holiday sales.

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Through its Facebook page – and the individual pages Walmart has painstakingly created for each and every one of its stores – the world’s largest retailer is able to reach out to, and interact with, its customer base like never before. Chief Marketing Officer Duncan Mac Naughton, who has praised the Facebook campaign, believes the social network will allow Walmart to revolutionize its marketing strategies and create an interactive — and profitable — holiday shopping season like none other.

“We’re going to provide value to our Facebook members with more than two billion impressions during the season,” Mac Naughton said last week. “That’s three times greater than last year. We’re going to align all of our social media against our marketing platforms so we have a consistent message no matter where you are, whether you’re on your digital phone, whether you’re in the store, or your home computer.”

Additionally, the Facebook pages allow Walmart to roll out fan-influenced promotions, which promise to engage shoppers and ultimately boost sales. One such program is the “Toy Land Tuesday” initiative, in which Walmart’s Facebook followers vote over the weekend on which featured toy they would most like to see discounted. Come Tuesday, prices on the toy with the most votes are slashed accordingly.

Walmart’s efforts to reach customers over Facebook have to be considered a smashing success thus far – and if the company realizes its vision, the benefits have only just begun.  Just a few months ago, the retailer touted 17 million fans. That number has since spiked some 6.5 million new likes in a rather short time, and as Facebook’s Director of Global Vertical Marketing Mike Fox said in a recent joint presentation with Walmart, there now “isn’t a single person in the U.S. who doesn’t have at least one friend who is connected to Walmart.”

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