Distinguishing types of social strategies

Piskorski 8 sets up the second half of A Social Strategy. The first chapters set up various social solutions, and the last chapters address the combination of social solutions with economic realities. Those interested in marketing will want to read the whole section. All of us, however, will look at two examples this week. We will read Chapter 9 (Zynga) for Wednesday and Chapter 12 (Nike) for Friday.

Today’s chapter establishes two approaches for companies who want to make money using social platforms.

  • The first is a digital strategy, in which an organization tries to build relationships online as though followers were their friends. Piskorski suggests that these are more complex because you have to match unmet economic and social goals of customers.
  • The second is a social strategy, in which an organization focuses on connecting consumers to each other, later linking customers’ actions to profitability. The social goal is inherent in this type of strategy, which makes for fewer moving parts.

Within social strategies, there are two major choices. A social strategy can be differentiated or low-cost. Make sure you understand these two types because it’s the basis for choosing the cases that make up the rest of this week’s readings. Zynga is a low-cost friend solution; Nike is a differentiated friend solution.

Piskorski didn’t make up the two options under the social strategy umbrella. Cost and differentiation have been the options for competitive advantage on which business schools have focused for decades.

It’s interesting to note that most of the social platforms we use started entirely as social solutions. It makes sense that it takes organizations a lot of work and thinking about how to make money on social platforms. That’s not what they were designed to do. We’ll watch some early scenes from The Social Network today and think about the early vision for the site and compare it to how Facebook makes its money.

Public service announcement: Tomorrow is Election Day. If you’re a registered voter in Taylor County, you can vote at any of the city’s polling places 7 a.m.-7 p.m. The nearest to campus are Hillcrest Church of Christ and the Whitten Inn at Ambler and I-20. The ballot includes races for U.S. Senate and House, governor, lieutenant governor, state Supreme Court justices, and a number of local races. The ballot and polling places are available on the Taylor County Elections site, and I encourage you to do a little research tonight and be an informed voter tomorrow.


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