Walmart’s social media success in Fresno, CA.


I dare to say that Fresno with it’s population near 500,000 is one of the largest communities in America. I define “community” as a populous that interacts with each other thus moving beyond the bounds of regional restrictions. Where this community interaction is visible in terms of social media is through the tremendous word-of-mouth (WOM) and collaboration shown during Walmart’s social good campaign “Help fight hunger in your community.” I’ll explain the strategy of the campaign and how Fresno is setting it’s self apart from the rest of the Nation.

Walmart’s Intentions

First, let’s set the stage by describing the creator of the situation: Walmart. Walmart’s brand lives in a market with divergent opinions. Either you’re a patron and you like the brand, or you’re “anti” Walmart and avoid the brand like the plague. There wasn’t a clear middle ground until this recent campaign. On January 5th, Walmart will award the top six communities with a donation to fight hunger. Donating $1 million to the community with the most support (Facebook “Likes”), and $100,000 each to the next five communities. (How it worked +)


Walmart spent $2.4 billion on advertising in 2010 which ultimately was unable to win over it’s naysayers. I would have loved to be in the meeting when this idea of this campaign was announced.
How I picture the meeting:

IDEA MAN: “Ok, Let’s take $1.5 million, less than a quarter of our daily advertising budget, make it a tax deduction and have communities share our goodwill with their entire community.”
BOSS: “I Like it”
IDEA MAN: “and… We’ll use Facebook “Likes” as a measurement and Facebook is FREE.”

Walmart uses Facebook because of the transparency between friends. This allows your network to see what your personal brand is associated with thus showing your approval or disapproval for people, brands, etc… Facebook also allows for more detailed messaging and is a better forum for dialogue.

Walmart’s campaign relies on:

A Strong Theme with Clear Goals
Fighting hunger and helping “your” community.
A Non-Profit Partner
Local food banks.
Connecting the Theme, Sponsor, and Non-Profit
Central hub on Website.
Holiday (season of giving)
Non-physical action contribution (Simple call-to-action)

Also, Personal Brand Affiliation, Network Engagement, Word of Mouth (Viral), and Community Collaboration.

Fresno, CA

A successful campaign motivates participation by asking supporters to “Like” and or share content. Fresno is doing just that. Local leaders are keeping people energized throughout the campaign by continuously posting in order to increase visual impressions to their network. Unity of purpose has helped streamline the coordination of the campaigns community diffusion. Fresno has a strong connection between the theme, sponsor, non-profit organizations fighting hunger, and Facebook which allows this campaign to better resonate with the public. Fresno is proving to be the most influential American city / community on Facebook or the city with most need.


Successful social cause campaigns, especially in a world of heavy social media chatter, require real imagination. Walmart is using cause marketing because it is dynamic. Implementing these elements has propelled this campaign into a movement. I’m very interested in seeing Walmart’s follow up once this cause campaign has ended. There is still work to be done. Evaluation of successes and failures is vital and so far this campaign has shown to be the most successful in California.
Have you come across an inspiring social good campaign in the course of this holiday season? Share the details in the comments section.

– @peterlang

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