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A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media Hardcover – May 25, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


  • Axiom Business Book Awards: GOLD Medal in the Social Networking category

Winner of the 2015 Gold Medal in Networking, Axiom Business Book Awards

"Piskorski's thought-provoking and well-researched title is ground-breaking and should be required reading for those in business, and business faculty and students."--Lucy Heckman, Library Journal (starred review)

"For companies that are struggling to measure social media, Piskorski offers a different way of looking at the problem, and his three tests--the social utility test, the social solution test and the business value test--provide a way to check if a project is working."--Maija Palmer, Financial Times

"Whoever thinks using social media successfully (i.e., making money from it) is easy needs to think again. So do people who think it's all one big fad or that creating a successful social media campaign is just blind luck. And that's where Mikolaj Jan Piskorski and his book A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media come in."--Catherine Ramsdell, PopMatters

"A highly informative and insightful analysis of web-based social platforms that should command the attention of sociologists, psychologists and lay readers as well as bottom-line businessmen and women."--Glenn C. Altschuler, Psychology Today

"Thanks to Mikolaj Jan Piskorski and his new book, companies now have a clear strategic framework for figuring out how to tap into their power."--Theodore Kinney, Strategy + Business

"The author's research offers new insights into the reasons for the explosion of social media."--Choice

"The beauty of this book is that it is not only informative to scholars, but also applicable for business practitioners."--Yongsheng Wang, International Social Science Review

From the Inside Flap

"A Social Strategy is a remarkable book--perhaps the first truly comprehensive examination of one of the transformative phenomena of our time: the emergence of the social web. Broad in reach and appeal, it will interest readers who want to think about web-based social platforms in a new light and gain new insights about social media."--Toby Stuart, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

"Piskorski accessed Silicon Valley's storied social media firms and has returned with the keys to the kingdom for understanding what makes 'social web strategies' the real killer app behind social media. Anyone who wants to enhance the user experience must read this book."--Brian Uzzi, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

"Rich in analysis and information, A Social Strategy provides a timely and very insightful view about why some social media platforms succeed and others fail--and why some digital marketing strategies do better than others. The book's arguments are supported by an impressive array of quantitative and qualitative evidence and its ideas have the potential to become central to understanding social media."--Martin Gargiulo, INSEAD Asia

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691153396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691153391
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Camargo on June 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was interested in this book because I wanted to see how the author analyzed why many companies talk about social media presence yet very few of them get any economic benefit from their strategies. As a marketer, I was tired of hearing how Facebook likes and impressions were an example of a successful campaign, only to be disappointed when demanding data to prove that these results correlated with lower customer acquisition costs or revenue increases. I'm glad this book explains why I'm not alone. There are countless books on the power of social media, but very few explain how to profit from its use and, more importantly, how to use it as a competitive advantage.

The first part of the book describes the different types of social platforms and how each one of them meets different social needs. I found the concept of social failure extremely powerful to consider when analyzing and developing social platforms that create solutions for such failures, This part is a good read for those who believe that buying Facebook and.or Twitter ads will lead to increases in sales, only to struggle to show the economic benefits of such activities. As tempting as it was to skip to the part that talked about social strategies, I recommend to those who get the book to not do so in order to truly understand how social solutions work and why the ones the author mentions are successful in their own way. This section also distinguishes between a digital strategy and a social strategy, a key difference that very few grasp and can lead to disappointing results.

The second part of the book then analyzes different social strategies that meet different customer needs and, more importantly, how are firms extracting an economic benefit from their social products.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert R on June 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Amazing read. We all use social media on a daily basis, but there are few companies that have truly figured out how to use it effectively to grow and sustain their business. So often companies employ a digital strategy that broadcasts a message or campaign, but they do not engage the consumer in an effective way.

This book takes on the emerging and complex world of social networks, and explains not only their origin and benefits to the consumer, but how companies can use social networks to their benefit. Piskorski's use of case studies not only shows how to effectively go beyond a digital strategy to create a truly social strategy, but it does so in a specific, tangible way.

This is a perfect book for any general manager or marketer who is interested in using digital to drive their business.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Perry Hewitt on June 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This groundbreaking book connects social strategy directly to business benefit, and serves up a roadmap applicable to the enterprise from the C-suite to the customer service practitioners. Drawing on large, proprietary data sets, Piskorski's research isolates and makes accessible the corporate social strategies proven to deliver competitive advantage. His social strategy principles have validated and improved our work on social outreach and engagement at Harvard, particularly in developing new approaches to alumni. From new theory to concrete case studies with brands like Nike and American Express, Piskorski's book examines a still-emerging discipline, and shapes how these new behaviors can inform a persuasive and actionable plan for the enterprise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alistair Davidson on June 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I recently reviewed this book for a forthcoming issue of Strategy and Leadership magazine, where I am a contributing editor, and did an interview with the author about the book. To date most people writing about social networks have not looked at how to make money from social networks nor have they proposed an underlying framework for understanding the economics of social networks for companies and customers. Basing his work upon transaction economics (Williamson, Coase), the author provides a framework for understanding how social networks can remedy different types of market failure, and in doing so create new sources of value for companies and customers, and enable transactions that might otherwise not occur for social or economic reasons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kenyon Han on July 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book for anyone curious about the current rise of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Rather than just providing a history lesson about these companies, the book examines what each platform serves to accomplish and gets into the specifics of what each does and why each has succeeded or failed. Interestingly, it grounds the analysis by drawing on sociology. You won't have to be a technologist to understand and appreciate these lessons. It's refreshing to analyze these platforms from the perspective of basic human interactions and social needs. As the book argues, these needs are nothing new, it's just that these platforms are now able to fulfill them in new or better ways thanks to technology.

While it covers a lot with a lot of good data analysis and models, the book does a great job of developing frameworks to illustrate and summarize these concepts. The case studies are very interesting, ranging from typical tech companies like Twitter and LinkedIn to more traditional ones like American Express and Nike. It's a good mix of industries and strategies implemented. These case studies are good examples of how some have integrated certain strategies into their core businesses that might not be so obvious to appreciate. Reading this book is highly encouraged for anyone looking to work at a social networking company or those hoping to leverage these platforms into their businesses.
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