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Asda parent Wal-Mart is back in the social networking game after various high-profile mishaps – this time with a sponsored Facebook group for students.

Reuters reports that the retailing giant is inviting college-goers to design their dorm rooms on its page, before recommending products that fit in with their decorating style.

Hoping to boost back-to-school sales, it has also cut prices of thousands of items in stores.

At the time of writing, the group has only 61 members, and it presumably wasn't cheap to sponsor.

Still, it seems to make more sense than Wal-Mart's previous social media and blog efforts, as well as the blind ad campaigns that have caused such controversy for Facebook and other social networks recently. 

Facebook says 40% of its 34m active users are in college, while a study by the US’ National Retail Federation shows average first-year college students spend over $1,000 on electronics and home furnishings.

"We realise that this is an audience that we need to be talking to, and that this is a channel we need to be on," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karen Burk.

Asda doesn't appear to have a Facebook presence yet.

Does every brand 'need' to be on Facebook? Probably not, truth be told...

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Published 9 August, 2007 by Richard Maven

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