Facebook Fills the Social Prescription for Walgreens

Walgreens gets serious about social networking, surpassing 1 million fans on Facebook, and enhancing its presence on Foursquare, Twitter and YouTube.

Walgreens, the friendly neighborhood drugstore, has gone social.

Walgreens is tapping the social networking craze to promote its brand like never before. The venerable 110-year-old drugstore chain once known for its soda fountains and surgical dressings is now making a name for itself in social media. The company recently surpassed 1 million fans on Facebook and has also integrated its network of more than 7,700 drugstores through mobile platforms on Facebook Places and Foursquare.

Walgreens officials claim the company has become the chain drugstore retailer with the largest following on Foursquare, while developing a growing presence on other social communities, including Twitter and YouTube.

"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," said Sona Chawla, Walgreens' president of e-commerce, in a statement. "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."

In recognition of reaching 1 million Facebook "likes," Walgreens is offering a free photo book for all of its Facebook fans. The 8.5-by-11-inch linen photo book is free to Walgreens Facebook fans who get and use the promotional code by visiting the Walgreens Facebook page any time between 9 a.m. July 8 and midnight July 9. Shipping charges are not included.

Walgreens is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,733 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Walgreens serves nearly 6 million customers a day.