Social Media Genius: Walmart’s corporate response to a scathing article in the NY Times reveals the power of effective social media.

Walmart Blog long

A portion of Walmart’s blog response to Timothy Egan, a NY Times writer.

A recent New York Times article harshly criticized Walmart for paying low wages to their employees. David Tovar, the Vice President of Communications at Walmart chose to respond to these allegations by using their blog. By posting a red copy edit of the article, he effectively corrected several points that he believed were inaccurate. The point of this post isn’t to support either the NY Times nor Walmart. Instead, the focus is on the effective use of social media

While Tovar’s response is scathing, the use of their own blog to publicize a response avoids an all-out war of words. The secondary publicity of his response through news articles and blogs (such as this post and over 22,000 likes on Facebook) has allowed others to carry the message on their behalf. This type of coverage could not be achieved by purchasing a full-page newspaper ad.

I get tired of receiving daily emails from people telling me they can provide all my social media solutions. Social media is important. However, it supports strategy, it is not strategy. The simplicity of Walmart’s response demonstrates that they get this!

You can read the full Walmart blog post here.

Do Your Organizational Values Have Legs?

I love it when organizations have clearly defined values. I love it even more when you see those values exemplified in practice. However, the opposite also occurs!

A friend recently told me about a less-than-positive experience during her new employee orientation. She works as a nurse and was hired by a well-regarded hospital. Their orientation blended new staff from every department and role. boxed lunchIn this particular orientation, there was a new cohort of medical doctor interns. At the catered lunch, my friend took a lunch box from one of the two tables in the room. As she took the lunch, she was told that these lunches were only for the interns and that she needed to take her lunch from the other table. Attendees observed that the interns received a higher quality lunch and a clear hierarchy was silently established.

For an organization touting the values of respect, integrity and professionalism, there was a gap between what was stated and what was practiced. Shane Atchison purports that organizations which post their company values all over their walls have serious culture problems. In other words, a company’s values need to be lived, not talked about. While it is easy to point a finger, there are few of us who have not done the same thing over our lives.

Which value is the most difficult to practice in your organization? Where do you have opportunity to tighten the gap between what you preach and what you practice? If you don’t know, I’ll bet your employees do!