Last year Walmart announced plans to focus its efforts on local market engagement via social media. A year has passed since Walmart unveiled the ambitious ‘My Local Walmart’ Facebook campaign, and it’s save to say things haven’t exactly gone to plan.

Social Analytics company Recommend.ly found that around 2,800 Walmart stores across America have their own dedicated Facebook page, however only 100 (less than 4%) of those pages have more than 1,000 fans. Worse still is that over 85% of of local-store pages didn’t respond to a single comment.

By contrast, Walmart’s main brand Page responds to 22% of fan comments, while of its 21 million fans, 7% are ‘active’. It has also racked up over 10 million ‘likes’ since the launch of the ‘My Local Walmart’ campaign, and now has a total fan-base of 21 million and rising. Recommend.ly cites that the majority of this success can be attributed to one key element – fan engagement.

Venkata Ramana, CEO of Recommend.ly suspects that the main issue with this campaign is that the majority of Walmart stores do not have the social media skills required to manage a Facebook page. She states, “Essentially, the content they are using on the local pages does not resonate with local fans.”

Ramana continued:

“their number of fans is really small, and also we are finding, unlike the main page, that comments back from Walmart that address fan inquiries are really low.”

Another key mistake for Walmart was that each local page simply pulled in content (such as daily deals) from the main brand page. This kind of centralised content strategy is simply ineffective for a local marketing campaign.

Having the ability to respond to local news and events gives marketers a bridge to connect the brand with local communities. By churning out the same content through multiple channels, Walmart stores offer little incentive to ‘like’ or engage with them.

Based on Venata Ramana’s analysis, one has to question whether Walmart had the resources to cope with the demands of this campaign. It’s all good and well creating multiple Facebook pages, but without the manpower to manage them, they’re all but useless.

In a previous blog post I talked about the value of interacting with fans for ‘Facebook Marketing Success’ – it seems that Walmart could learn a thing or two by reading this.