Walmart and Walter -The power of Social Media

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In 2014, Alex from Walmart became an instant celebrity when a lady tweeted a photo of him packing grocery in Walmart. Till date, nobody can tell you why and how he became a trending topic on twitter and was even covered on CNN news! 

A couple of days ago, Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota was trending on twitter for killing the Cecil the beloved lion. He has to close down his dental practice due to the many hate mails and death threats received. 

Both men are ordinary folks, and might live their entire lives as such if not for social media. 

While it seems that there is really no clear reason why people are retweeting Alex from Walmart, at the same time, there is actually no compelling reason for people to hate Walter Palmer as well (I dare to say that 70% of the people that retweet or share Walter Palmer news had never heard of Cecil the Beloved). 

The fact that both of them are trending topics highlights the power of social media and its ability to fully harness the power of herd mentality. 

This is because many social media platforms give credit to high engagement, so a post that has many likes and comments are seen by more people, multiplying the vitality of the post. 

And because of social inclusion (you want to be seen discussing the hottest topic), the more likes a post gets, it will be seen by more people and hence getting even more likes, thus expanding its reach. 

So what has it got to do with coffee or cafes? 

I noticed that most coffee companies and cafes in Singapore are trying their best to peddle their products and services on social media, spending on adverts and promotions. And many will agree that the “viral” effect that they expected is not there.

The reason is this: people consume content on social media. 

Think about your own user experience, do you flick on your Facebook looking for the latest coffee machine or reading the post that your friend just shared? 

The idea is to get readers to first know about you via your content (and that has to do with your positioning and your narrations), trust you for that domain you represent, then they will look for you when they need to purchase any product or service in that particular domain. 

Summary: Social media is very powerful but unfortunately people are not showing their readers what they themselves are reading! 

About the Author: 

Ebenezer Heng runs a community that reaches out to 0.5 million people daily (’s digital assets). Lectures in a Singapore Tertiary Institution and advises digital marketing for organisations such as Chinese Chamber of Commerce, National Sports Association, Constituencies. 

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