I’m the first to admit that I have a track record of bashing Walmart’s previous social media efforts on this blog, but I’d like to take a few minutes to give my review on Walmart’s latest social media effort, the checkoutblog.com.
Even though I visited the site with low expectations, I was shocked to find out that it seems that Walmart has wised up to some of the basic social media rules (at least some of them).
Here’s a recap of why I think this blog just might work:
The blog uses Walmart’s internal resources. Using a blog team of 9 Wal-mart “higher level” product buyers, the blog covers the following categories of Gadgets, Gaming, Lawn & Garden, Movies, and Sustainability. The blog is basically for these employees to start a discussion on new products and create hype over products sold or released at Wal-Mart. Since finding internal resources for blogging is always difficult, this group approach will ensure the blog will be updated and maintained on an ongoing basis.
The blog recognizes the rules of social media. In the “about” section, Scobel’s Corporate Webblog Manefesto is noted. Additionally, the blog has added a very reasonable and open blog comment policy (considering what Wal-mart faces in negative blog reactions). Basically the policy notes posts are clean, on topic, and only first comments from a user have to be approved.
The blog has personality. Reading the author bios of the checkoutblog further confirmed that it is written by real people with interesting personalities. While corporate branding is wrapped around the site, the employees are the main focus. This is a smart move for Wal-mart in battling negative perceptions. After all, it is easier to hate a corporation than to hate a group of employees that are just doing their job.