Good piece in Computerworld after Wal-Mart getting toasted for its Facebook play. Interesting to see marketers get slammed as they make the first move into tight communities with their own mores and social customs. Second Life I’ve gone on about in the past, but I can see how a wise college student, accustomed to having Facebook to him or herself for the past couple years, would react to an invasion by any company looking to peddle transactions. I think the appropriate entry point is not through a new application — roommates coordinating purchases — but a simple listening post. In our case, campus tech support perhaps.
“Jeremiah Owyang, a blogger who writes about Web strategies and who is also director of corporate media strategy at PodTech.net, blogged that Wal-Mart shouldn’t give up the effort even though he expects that the “battering of the [Wal-Mart] brand” on Facebook will probably continue. He recommends that Wal-Mart start discussion group forums to try to “segment the conversations about going back to school and even consider keeping folks on topic. Continue to allow critics (you can’t stop it anyway) but try to use the forums as a guide to a discussion about school.”
He commends Wal-Mart for being “bold” enough to continuing to try social networking efforts despite previous failures, and for not abandoning the Facebook site despite the criticism from users.
“I highly recommend that Wal-Mart consider trying a community strategy using a transparent and authentic blog or video blog series that addresses the very brand issues that they are getting slammed on,” he wrote. “I took a look online for a ‘Wal-Mart blog’ and didn’t see any from the company. It’s going to be very difficult to try a community marketing strategy with eCommerce hooks without first addressing the brand detractors.”