Victoria’s Secret more likable than Walmart — on Facebook

Walmart (s WMT) reigns supreme in a lot of ways — the discount retailer takes in more revenue than any other publicly traded corporation in the world, and is the largest private sector employer in the United States. But there is at least one arena in which Walmart is an also-ran: Facebook.

When it comes to the social networking crowd, sex apparently sells. Victoria’s Secret (s LTD) ended June as the top retailer on Facebook with more than 14.3 million fans, according to the latest data from e-commerce software provider ChannelAdvisor. ChannelAdvisor’s Facebook Commerce Index (FBCI) is a monthly report that tracks and analyzes how the top retailers and brands are doing on Facebook by fan count. Adidas Originals and Victoria’s Secret Pink take the second and third spots on the FBCI, respectively.

But it isn’t just photos of supermodels in lingerie that have helped Victoria’s Secret snag two of the top three spots on the Facebook fan rankings. According to ChannelAdvisor, Victoria’s Secret has adopted a savvy social networking strategy that incentivizes users to click the “Like” button by offering rewards such as discounts and first access to new collections. The company has also customized its Facebook landing page to show links to Victoria’s Secret social media sites and mobile apps, rather than the typical Facebook Wall.

But Walmart is gaining on the competition: The retailer gained 13 percent more fans during the month of June to move from sixth place to fourth place on the FBCI. This may be because Walmart has upped its social media strategy by adding giveaways and contests to its Facebook site, going beyond “the typical wall posts [and] surveys,” ChannelAdvisor reports. For instance, this month Walmart is conducting a promotion for Disney Pixar’s Cars 2 movie by giving away free movie tickets and other prizes via its Facebook page hourly.

Overall, it seems that some of the most successful brick-and-mortar retailers have officially come around to realizing that social media has a rightful place in their marketing strategies. Here are a couple key graphs from ChannelAdvisor’s Facebook Commerce Index for June 2011:

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