Umang Shah has a unique position as the social media leader at Wal-Mart. His job is not to push marketing or earn new customers — he’s responsible for protecting and managing Wal-Mart’s reputation.

Shah says even though Wal-Mart is the biggest company in the world, not everyone knows about the company’s work in disaster relief, hunger relief and sustainability efforts. His job is to get that message out there. So how does he do it? With data.

Here are some key points from his presentation on SocialMedia.org‘s BlogWell conference in New York:

  • Data is better than your gut: Shah’s team posts content for each of Wal-Mart’s initiatives on multiple Twitter handles. At the end of each day, the posts that performed the best with retweets and engagement are automatically reposted onto their most visible Twitter handle — not just the posts they think will perform the best.
  • Your best influencers might not be the biggest online influencers: Wal-Mart uses data to identify the top 50 influencers on its content’s subject, not just the person with the most Twitter followers. Shah says that most “digital influencers” are just the loudest people online, and the loudest person is not necessarily the most influential.
  • No more free shots: In the past, Wal-Mart’s strategy for handling inaccurate information people posted about the brand was to ignore it. Now, as a part of proactively managing Wal-Mart’s reputation, the social media team works quickly to correct misinformation and engage with the person posting it.

If you like this presentation, see more great social media case studies like it live at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference June 19 in Chicago.

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