Interact Marketing Questions Wal-Mart’s $300 Million Investment in Social Media Company

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Retailers eager to roll out social media marketing campaigns will save time and resources by engaging online specialists with proven expertise in reaching customers, according to two leading industry executives with the firm Interact Marketing. This holds especially true for small to mid-sized companies that don’t have enough investment capital on hand to build a dedicated infrastructure of their own. Even large retailers can reap cost benefits and boost sales by outsourcing their social media outreach efforts.

Retailers eager to roll out social media marketing campaigns will save time and resources by engaging online specialists with proven expertise in reaching customers, according to two leading industry executives with the firm Interact Marketing. This holds especially true for small to mid-sized companies that don’t have enough investment capital on hand to build a dedicated infrastructure of their own. Even large retailers can reap cost benefits and boost sales by outsourcing their social media outreach efforts.

“By now most retailers realize social media isn’t a passing fad,” said Joseph Beccalori, co-founder and chief operating officer, Interact Marketing. “But many remain uncertain about how to capitalize on the major shift taking place in buying and selling behavior. I can tell them it doesn’t require a large financial commitment like retail leader Wal-Mart just made.”

Consumer research confirms social media has become an increasingly common form of communication for everything from casual contacts to essential business transactions. Forrester Research estimates that one out of five adults ages 18 to 24 spend a fifth of their online time at social media sites. Among the total population, a third visit social networking sites at least once each month.

In response to the trend, according to The New York Times, Wal-Mart announced it was buying social media technology platform Kosmix to augment its online presence. The $300 million acquisition signals the mega-retailer intends to connect with customers in evolving new ways.

Some store chains have tried to tap the ecommerce potential of social networking sites but they need to do more to stay competitive, noted Chris Rosica, Interact Marketing’s president and co-founder and president of the Rosica PR Agency. “Based on the latest findings from Forrester and other researchers, it’s not enough to direct consumers to a Facebook page showing a few images and a shopping cart,” he said. “What’s needed is a comprehensive and intelligent program that engages consumers through multiple online channels.”

Beccalori added it doesn’t take hundreds of millions of dollars to have an effective online presence. “There are tools available for free, or low cost on the Internet – similar or identical to Kosmix, and TweetBeat – that provide a very deep view of social buzz measurement for a brand. Why spend so much for the technology instead of using the data to build a better marketing plan?”

A Forrester report released this spring concluded Facebook has yielded only modest returns for retailers, even for chains with loyal followers.

Interact Marketing provides a full range of online services including search engine optimization, online reputation management and social media engagement. Learn how to leverage the power of social media to grow business by contacting…

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Debbie Gotthardt

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