Social Media Strategy in simple words

There is a lot of information on the subject of strategy and, not least, social media strategy online and in print. Unfortunately, there is a lot of content that is not entirely recommendable.

Therefore, at the beginning, we will point out what is definitely not a strategy and what does not lead to a strategy.

When you search for the relevant queries, Google will happily give the following answer to the question of how to develop a social media strategy.

What is wrong with this recommendation in terms of content?

This recommendation is a guide for developing a measure for distributing content, not a guide for developing a strategy.

Because strategy describes how a company wants to use a certain potential with its resources and in its competitive situation. This recommendation describes how a measure for distributing content is derived.

However, social media strategy is not a measure for distributing content. Since this “confusion” still occurs in specialist books today, here are a few lines to simply explain the topic of social media strategy / strategy development.

Social media strategy easy to understand

Social Media Strategy


A social media strategy is a company’s decision on how it uses social media and what benefits it wants to realize from social media.

Components of a social media strategy

  • A social media strategy defines what benefits we want to achieve from social media for our business model and in what way.
  • Our social media strategy sets out the goals for implementing the strategy in its individual components.

Why a social media strategy for the business model?

Social media affects the success of the entire company. Therefore, a social media strategy should be geared towards the success of the entire company – and not individual functions. Social media strategies that support the success of a company’s business model are much more useful and valuable for the company.

The basis of the strategy

A social media strategy is based on

  • the performance potential of social media for the company
  • the company’s individual business model
  • the competition the company faces in social media
  • the company resources that the company uses for this strategy.

The content

A social media strategy consists of

  • the focus of the strategy and its goals
  • the goals, content/measures and the resource requirements for the individual strategy components.

Practical tip: Using social media without a strategy is an unconscious or conscious decision to forego many of the possible advantages of social media.

As this decision was probably made unconsciously and without knowledge of the consequences, it is the responsibility of the people responsible for social media to provide well-founded information about this problem and to propose solutions. For this purpose, strategic competence for social media is recommended, which enables this topic to be communicated on an equal footing.

What a social media strategy is based on

Social media performance potential


Social media performance potential represents the possibilities of achieving a desired effect with the help of social media.

Social media performance potential consists of the impact methods (i.e. the methods with which an effect is achieved) and the formats in which these methods are used (usage formats)

Effective methods

The methods with which we achieve an effect in social media

  • Information,
  • Dialogue,
  • Networking,
  • Cooperation.
  • Usage formats

The organizational and technical formats in which social media is used:

  • Audience,
  • Community,
  • Network and
  • their combinations.

Why is social media performance potential required as a component in the social media strategy

Only if we know which tools we have in social media and how they can/should be used can we achieve the success that is possible in social media.

If social media performance potential is missing as a component in the social media strategy

If we do not take the full social media performance potential of social media into account when developing the strategy, we will most likely not be able to achieve the full possible success in social media.

Application: In order to be able to assess and use social media performance potential, you need a sound knowledge of the impact and usage formats in social media, particularly their competitive and performance quality.

Company business model

Definition of business model: A business model describes the basic principle according to which an organization creates, conveys and captures value. (Business Model Generation, Osterwalder & Pigneur). The business model therefore shows how the company’s success is created.

Note: every existing company has a business model.

Why a company’s business model is required in social media strategy development.

Every company has an individual business model. The benefits of social media are just as individual. Social media should contribute to the company’s success – i.e. to the success of the business model. In order to recognize the overall possible benefits of social media for a company, we must determine what benefits social media can bring to its business model.

If we only consider the benefits that social media can provide for individual parts of the business model or individual functional areas, we only recognize and realize part of the possible contribution of social media to the company’s success.

If the business model of a company is not taken into account in the development of social media strategies.

If the business model is missing in the development of social media strategies, we lack a view of the overall possible contribution of social media to the company’s success.

Social media strategies without this perspective become less effective and contribute less to the company’s success – regardless of how successful they are in their limited approach.


The competition component includes the competitive situation in social media in strategy development. It describes the competition in which a strategy must be successful.

Why competition in social media is necessary in social media strategy development.

  • In social media, we find ourselves in a particularly comprehensive competitive environment – the competition for attention and participation.
  • Strategies must be able to assert themselves in their specific competitive environment in order to be successful. No strategy is successful that is not also competitive.
  • Every strategy must therefore be designed for its specific competitive situation so that it has a chance of success.

If competition in social media is not taken into account in social media strategy development.

Social media strategies that were developed without taking their competitive situation into account inevitably lack competitiveness. The success of non-competitive strategies is more than unlikely.


Resources are the means required to implement a strategy. Strategy is the economy of resources is a well-known definition of strategy.

Why resources are required in social media strategy development

  • Resources determine which strategies are possible for a company.
  • Strategies that are developed without considering the required resources are not strategies but at best unrealistic considerations.
  • The best strategy is pointless if the company cannot implement it.

If resources are not taken into account in social media strategy development.

If we develop a strategy without considering the necessary resources, we are not being realistic. Either we do not pay attention to whether the company can even implement this strategy, or we move our considerations within a framework in which the resources are readily available at all times.

In the first case, we act unrealistically and waste resources, in the second case, we probably act with too little focus on opportunities, so that the strategy hardly brings new impulses and developments.

The process of developing a social media strategy

  1. The participants and tasks are determined: all functional areas of the business model that are to be supported by social media are integrated into the strategy development with their tasks.
  2. Social media performance potential for companies: the social media performance potential defined in the potential-based strategy model is the basis for strategy development.
  3. Benefits from the social media performance potential for the business model: the social media performance potential is used to determine the possible benefits of social media for the individual business model.
  4. Definition of options for action: the options for action for realizing the respective benefits from social media are determined by the competitive situation and the priority of the benefit.
  5. Definition and evaluation of the strategy alternatives: the sensible strategy alternatives are derived from the preferred options for action and evaluated.
  6. Strategy decision: the company management decides which version of the strategy will be implemented.

Even though the strategy development here is also divided into 6 steps, one should not underestimate the qualitative and quantitative demands behind serious strategy development.

What to do if a social media strategy is missing components

The problem of improving existing strategies with structural deficits.

Strategies are the result of situations and the decisions based on them.

If situations change, the decisions no longer fit and the strategy based on these situations and decisions is outdated. Unfortunately, strategies are difficult to improve. Instead, it is better to consistently understand change and build on a strategy that takes this change and, if possible, the development behind it into account.

What to do in this case

Check the existing social media strategy to see whether it has taken all the important components of a strategy into account.

If this is not the case, develop a strategy that is based on a complete foundation.

Compare the content of the two strategies and you will see how great the need for adjustment is in the measures being implemented.

Communicate the problem, have the new strategy approved and adapt measures accordingly.

If a company does not have a social media strategy

Companies that use social media without an appropriate strategy miss out on a greater contribution of social media to company success, use social media less economically and much less competitively.

You now know why this is the case and can communicate it. Remember:

It is not a problem to question a procedure that you have practiced yourself if the situation has changed. It is a problem not to react to new findings and to ignore improvements because you have previously used social media differently.

It is a sign of competence to address problems yourself before others do. It is even smarter to be able to present the solution. That is what makes good managers.

Turn the problem into an opportunity and demonstrate competence in doing so.

Social media strategy competence

Anyone who wants to seriously develop a social media strategy needs a sound social media strategy competence that is

  • based on a social media performance potential defined for strategy development.
  • knows a company’s business model sufficiently to be able to support it with social media performance potential
  • can analyze and shape the competitive situation in social media at a strategic level.
  • can determine which company resources and social media resources are required for a strategy.

Training problem strategy

The bad news: The POST model and its variants are often taught in the training of social media managers. As explained here, this is not sufficient for serious strategy development. Social media managers are therefore in a difficult situation: they represent an approach that deprives their company of valuable benefits for the success of the business model and at the same time find themselves in a situation where they have to achieve economic success with inadequate and uncompetitive strategies.

The good news: This strategy deficit can be made up for. Here you will find a free online course that covers the content of serious strategy development.

However, depending on your previous knowledge, a certain amount of commitment is required to work through the course successfully.

Further information on strategy and social media

You can get further informations on strategy from my posts on LinkedIn. Follow me or connect.

Other resources on strategy

To the strategy course

Here you can find further information about the pbsm.strategy course.

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