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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

December 13, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Social media buying power

I’ve always been fairly confident in my ability to convince people to agree with my ideas. In middle school, I could always sway people to play kickball rather than foursquare. And now, I can convince my roommates what the best gun to play with in Call of Duty 4: Black Ops is.

Several social media companies have “become a little bit Weiser” in their stance on how to harness the power of social networks. Getting a person to commit to something and to rely on them to bring in others through the use of social media is the core principle used by Groupon and LivingSocial.

Groupon’s business plan is built around negotiating discounts with local businesses — usually
between 50 and 90 percent off, proposing those deals online to people in the area, and then, once a certain number of people have signed up, each individual gets a voucher for the deal. It’s almost genius. By ensuring that local businesses have a set number of customers before the deal activates, there is a lower risk for businesses, which is an idea Groupon is relying on social networking to further.

Twitter, Facebook and e-mail are integrated into Groupon’s website to help spread the word about the latest deal. Groupon is like a pickup game of basketball. There’s obvious interest, but no one gets to play until there are enough players to make balanced teams.

LivingSocial brings another player to the group social marketing discount table. Three weeks ago, LivingSocial showed it can go toe-to-toe with Groupon — partly because of a previous investment by Amazon — by offering gift cards to Amazon.com for 50 percent off.

That is basically the equivalent of up-and-comer Skylar Grey — known for Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go” and Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor” — gaining name value by collaborating with an established industry titan like Lil’ Wayne.
But there is another company in the mix of this recipe for success — Google. A few weeks ago, Google apparently made Groupon a $6 billion offer, which was turned down. Google, sticking to their ‘If you can’t buy them, join them’ blueprint for profit, launched their own uniquely engineered service: Google Offers.

Since Google’s name value alone makes this service an instant competitor on the scene, it’s doubtful if Groupon — with its homegrown name credentials — didn’t anticipate Google’s move.

Considering these companies’ approach to social marketing on a local platform, it’s apparent they have outpaced my persuasive nature. But, if any company is looking for someone to coordinate a company kickball game, I should still be top consideration.

Andrew Weiser is a senior journalism major. E-mail him at aweiser1@ithaca.edu.