July 12, 2011, 2:15 PM

Walgreens passes 1 million Facebook fans and rewards its followers

The retailer offered a free photo book on Facebook last week to mark the milestone.

Nesli Karakus

Senior Editor, Research

Lead Photo

Walgreen Co.’s social media strategy has been making gains, as the drugstore chain recently passed the 1-million fan mark on Facebook and now has 1.12 million followers on the social network. To recognize the milestone, the company posted a coupon code on Facebook that customers could redeem for free 8.5 x 11-inch photo books July 8 to July 9. 

“We’ve embraced social media, and the consumer engagement we've generated shows the value of these tools for our customers and the many ways they interact with Walgreens,” says Sona Chawla, president of e-commerce, at Walgreens, No. 73 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “This is part of our commitment to 360-degree social media marketing. Through these social media tools, we’re able to extend valuable offers and effectively interact with our followers through a number of different online and mobile vehicles.”

Other supermarket and drugstore chains have the following number of Facebook fans:

  • CVS, No. 83 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide has 507,872 fans
  • Rite Aid has 100,478 fans
  • Safeway,  No. 102 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has 227,656 fans
  • Meijer, No. 319 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has 300,885 fans

Walgreens credits its strong Facebook presence not to a single initiative, but to an ongoing effort by the company to engage customers online, according to Walgreens.  One example the company cites is the Pharmacy Chat program launched in 2010 that allows registered customers to text with pharmacists around the clock.

Walgreens has also grown its presence on other social platforms. For example, the company has more than 58,000 followers on foursquare. Foursquare is a location-based mobile check-in service. In March, Walgreens ran a "Friends & Family Day" promotion that offered a 15% discount to customers who check in on the social network at most of its 7,700 stores.

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