Social media strategy competence explained in 9 areas

This article deals with strategy competence and here with the areas of competence that we should master in order to be able to develop a social media strategy. The areas of expertise are based on the potential-based strategy model, but are of a fundamental nature and therefore also relevant for other methods.

Reading time: appr. 17 minutes

General view of areas of expertise

  1. Social media performance potential for companies
  2. Business models
  3. Social media options
  4. Competition
  5. Company benefits
  6. General view
  7. Strategic competence – method and definition
  8. Resources
  9. Strategy implementation and management

Below you will find information, descriptions and explanations of the individual areas of expertise. In addition, I recommend the with the respective entries on social media strategy development.

Social media performance potential and strategic expertise

What is the social media performance potential for companies?

Social media can make a lasting contribution to the success of companies. We call this ability the social media performance potential for companies.

What is the social media performance potential for companies?

There is the general performance potential of social media for companies. This stands for the fundamental ability to support the company’s success. For example, through the effect of information, dialog, networking, or the audience, network and community usage formats. The corporate benefit from this performance potential arises, for example, through the acquisition of interested parties / new customers, the change in knowledge, attitudes and evaluation of corporate performance, the involvement of social media users in customer loyalty, etc. etc.

The individual performance potential of social media for a company stands for the ability of social media to support the success of this individual company. This is based on the support of the individual business model through social media. To this end, we develop the individual social media performance potential, which shows how social media can support the success of the business model.

Why is social media performance potential important for strategy development?

Without knowing the potential of social media for the success of a company, it is difficult to develop strategies through which social media can contribute to the company’s success.

Knowledge of the individual social media performance potential is therefore an indispensable element and a milestone in the development of social media strategies for companies. Strategic competence in social media therefore requires knowledge of the social media performance potential.

What must my strategy competence in social media performance potential include?

Based on the general social media performance potential, I must be able to derive the individual social media performance potential for the business model as a whole and, above all, for its individual areas and their topics on the basis of a company’s business model.

I must be able to determine the respective company benefits resulting from the individual social media performance potential, to define the priority of the topic and the respective company benefit and its social media affinity.

Business models and strategic expertise

Why is knowledge of business models important for strategy development?

Social media should contribute to a company’s success. The success of a company is determined by its business model. So if we want to contribute to the company’s success with social media, we need to know how we can support the success of the business model through social media. A basic knowledge of the business model is therefore essential for social media strategy competence.

What does knowledge of business models involve in social media strategy development?

In order to support business models through social media, we need to understand their components and recognize how we can support the success of these components through social media. Using Osterwalder & Pigneur’s business model as an example, we should recognize, for example, how we can strengthen and expand customer relationships through social media. Analogous to the example of customer relationships, we need to know the other components of the business model and the individual performance potential of social media.

What must my strategic competence in the business model include?

I have to analyze the business model as a whole and in its areas according to its topics, derive the possible business benefits and determine the priority of business benefits and topics as well as develop the social media affinity of the topics.

I must be able to develop and coordinate this content together with the managers responsible for the business model as a whole and for the areas of the business model. Part of my social media strategy expertise is understanding myself as a service provider and enabler.

Social media options and strategic expertise

What are the options for action?

Options for action in social media are possible, sensible options for the use of social media to support the business model. In the pbsm, we define the social media options for the individual topics of the business model.

In the pbsm, the options for action demonstrate how we can realize which benefits for a business model topic.

Warum ist die Kenntnis der Handlungsoptionen für die Strategieentwicklung wichtig?

In the pbsm, options for action in social media not only demonstrate the benefits of social media for a specific area, but also which services the social media strategy would have to provide in order to be able to deliver these benefits in the respective competitive situation.

In other words, the options for action demonstrate not only the potential benefits of social media but also the (structural) effort required to achieve them.

Using the pbsm’s social media options for action, we can identify and develop meaningful social media strategies.

What are the options for action in social media strategy development?

Options for action relate to topics (of the business model and include the potential business benefits for these topics, the priority of topics and business benefits, the social media affinity and the services required to be competitive within the topics.

What must my strategic competence in social media options include?

The strategic competence in this area consists of the definition of meaningful corporate benefits and the ability to shape the necessary competitiveness in the areas of user benefits, motivation, participation and usage formats.

Competition and strategy competence

What is competition in social media strategy?

In social media, we are faced with competition for attention from both performance competitors and pure attention seekers. We have to prevail in this competition against both groups of competitors. In other words, our strategy must be competitive against competitors with the same or similar services, as well as against competitors who are only competing for attention.

This is a complex competitive situation. At pbsm, we focus on the competitive situation in terms of business models. Competitors in these fields can be both attention and performance competitors. In principle, competition against pure attention competitors beyond the topics of the business model is not recommended, unless in an exceptional situation such as a lack of social media affinity of the topics of our business model.

Why is knowledge of the competition important for strategy development?

Competition is an indispensable element in a social media strategy. On the one hand, it sets the standards that a strategy must meet in order to be competitive, but at the same time it also shapes the competitive situation in which we define our strategy.

In social media strategy development, we cannot act without taking the competitive situation into account. We are in an intense competition for attention. Without taking the competition into account, we are almost certainly not competitive. This means that strategies that are developed without taking the competitive situation into account are in all probability uncompetitive, i.e. obsolete and useless.

What must my strategic competence in competition include?

Strategic competence at the level of competition must include the ability to identify the competition in a well-founded manner and then define the services that will ensure that your own strategy is competitive in the respective areas. In addition, it should be possible to integrate the reactions and options of the competition into your own competitive strategy. In other words, we should be able to take the competition’s options into account when designing our strategy.

Business benefits and strategic competence

What is a business benefit?

The business benefit is the specific benefit that the company can derive from social media for its business model or for a topic of the business model. This can be of a structural nature, such as the benefit from a certain usage format or the benefit from a certain user behavior – from attitudes to active engagement.

Why is business value important for strategy development?

A strategy that does not contribute to the success of the company is simply a waste of company resources. The contribution of a social media strategy to the company’s success is in the form of the respective company benefit. This is the method by which we create impact in social media for the benefit of the company’s success.

Social media strategies that are not geared towards clearly defined business benefits generate their benefits by chance. Strategies without specific business benefits contribute to the company’s success in an unplanned and random way and are therefore the opposite of strategies.

What does the company benefit from in strategy development?

The business benefit of a strategy includes the field in which this business benefit is generated. In pbsm, these are the topics, subject areas or modules of the business model. The corporate benefit is clearly defined in its format – i.e. the form in which it is provided. These are, for example, the usage format in which it is provided and the methods and strategy components with which it is provided.

In addition, the business benefit of a social media strategy also includes the causal chain that turns a business benefit in social media into a contribution to the company’s success / success of the business model. In other words, the corporate benefit also describes how this benefit from social media is turned into corporate success. For example, how interested parties become customers, or how existing customers become active customers for the company.

What does my strategic competence have to cover in terms of corporate benefits?

The strategic competence in the area of business benefits consists of defining the potential business benefits and determining the requirements that must be met for these benefits to materialize. In addition, it is necessary to be able to integrate this business benefit into company processes in such a way that it makes a significant contribution to the company’s success. The integration of the strategy and the integration of the results of the social media strategy in the form of business benefits into the existing business processes is no less fundamental and important a component of strategic competence than the definition of business benefits and the creation of its prerequisites.

General view and strategy competence

What is general view in strategy development?

A general view in strategy development stands for as a whole situation awareness. This means that the social media strategist must be aware of his business model, his options for action, his competitive situation, the elements of his strategy, his resources for the strategy, the content of the strategy or strategy version and its assumptions and prerequisites and take them into account in his considerations and decisions. In addition, the interactions within the contents of the strategy are also part of the required general view.

Why is a general view important for strategy development?

No sound strategy development without a general view. This is actually self-evident but a challenge in practice. If we lack a general view, we miss opportunities from social media and overlook risks. This can quickly lead to strategies that don’t work or to strategies that can only tap into part of the potential success.

What does my strategic competence have to achieve in the strategic general view?

Firstly, we must know and be able to evaluate the above-mentioned elements, then assess their interaction and also be able to assess the impact of changes to individual elements and content. Assessing the impact of elements and changes is a benchmark for strategic competence.

Methodological competence and strategic competence

What is methodological competence and what is strategy definition competence?

Methodological competence is the ability to make use of a method. This can be quite easy if it is a simple method in a less complex environment. But it can also be a real challenge if it is a more extensive method in a complex topic and a multi-layered environment. As in the development of social media strategies in a larger company with a large number of topics, a complex business model and very multi-layered departmental interests that all need to be taken into account. And if, as is to be expected in such a situation, the competition is extremely fierce, methodological competence in implementation poses great challenges.

The competence of strategy definition consists of the competence for strategic decisions and the ability to derive a clear and focused strategy from a diverse bouquet of different options, which does not overtax the company in terms of management, understanding or resources.

  • Methodological competence therefore means doing things in a certain way and in a certain order, i.e. monitoring how the strategy is developed.
  • Strategic competence here means making certain decisions, i.e. determining what is done in a strategy and what is not.

While we can claim a relatively high level of decision-making authority in terms of methodological competence, not least because we should have the best command of the method, the decision-making authority for strategy definition – i.e. where it comes to deciding which options to use and which not to use – lies with the company management. Social media management / strategists should avoid making decisions about the extent to which social media contributes to the company’s success on their own responsibility. This is not their responsibility. Their job is to make suggestions. This is why working with strategy versions is a typical characteristic of pbsm. In this way, different possibilities and different priorities in the company can be taken into account and a competitive social media strategy can be ensured.

Why are methodological competence and strategy definition important for strategy development?

If we do not have a clean method for social media strategy development or do not implement it consistently, the result – the social media strategy – is very likely to be more error-prone than would be the case if we had implemented the method properly.

If we do without a consistent strategy definition in the form of decisions for and against possible courses of action, this leads to a strategy of arbitrariness in which we accept all options because they exist. Strategies of this kind are rarely crowned with success but are complicated and time-consuming.

What expertise do I need for methods and strategy definition?

  • In addition to a sound knowledge of the method, competence in the method requires above all a clear compass in its implementation so that we do not stray from the path and the corresponding communicative quality to enforce this path in the implementation and in contact with other areas.
  • Competence in defining strategy requires the courage to set priorities and to decide against options that are possible and desired by others. Even if the decision on strategy is not the strategist’s responsibility, decisions are made on the basis of strategy versions and recommendations.

Resources and strategy expertise

What do resources mean for strategy?

Resources are what we use to implement strategies. This is one of the reasons why strategy is also referred to as the economy of means (resources). Resources are also an ungrateful and challenging topic in strategy development.

Why is the topic of resources important for strategy development?

The challenge of strategies is very often not to recognize the opportunities and options, but to realize them with the available resources.

Limited resources are therefore an effective means of forcing us to be strategically disciplined and to focus on what is necessary. Or to put it another way: scarce resources prevent us from rushing after every opportunity and getting bogged down. Focused strategies are generally less complicated and more effective and therefore have a higher chance of success.

Furthermore, it makes little sense to develop strategies that are clearly not feasible for a company.

What do resources in strategy development include?

We take both qualitative and quantitative resources into account when developing our strategy. This is particularly relevant in social media, at least at present, as an example illustrates. If a company has the social media expertise to operate an audience, the ability to build and use communities is not just a question of budget. If the right expertise is not secured at the same time, failure is inevitable.

We therefore need both the ability to recognize which resources we need in terms of quality and quantity and the ability to estimate how long it will take to build up and deploy the appropriate resources.

However, this problem must not tempt us to think in terms of strategies exclusively for existing resources. That would be fatal.

What does my strategic competence have to include when it comes to resources?

Strategy competence should include the assessment of resource requirements for possible strategies and strategy versions as well as the assessment of existing resources and their suitability and, if necessary, adaptation for strategy drafts.

Strategy implementation and management

What is strategy implementation and strategy management?

Strategies must not only be developed but also implemented. Depending on the scope and infrastructure of the strategy, its introduction is a major project in itself.

Strategy management is an ongoing task that ensures that the strategy is implemented as intended in the long term and that its results are incorporated into the respective company processes.

Why are strategy implementation and strategy management important for strategy development?

Strategic competence is incomplete without the competence to implement and manage a strategy. Very few market successes result from the adoption of a strategy. Without adequate implementation, even the best strategy will fail and without permanent management, the strategy runs the risk of ending up as a flash in the pan.

What do strategy implementation and strategy management consist of?

Strategy implementation can be a challenge as a whole. For example, if the company requires new specialist skills or complex social media infrastructures have to be set up. If the implementation of a strategy is not given the necessary attention, it will fail before it can even become effective.

A less recognized part of strategic competence is the ability to manage the strategy so that it remains current and effective. Social media strategies are in a dynamic environment. This is synonymous with a dynamic need for adaptation and, sooner or later, a successor strategy.

  • Strategy management therefore includes the introduction of the strategy and its support and safeguarding in day-to-day business, including its adaptation and the development of follow-up strategies.
  • Strategy management also includes the transition of corporate benefits from social media to corporate processes and, not unimportantly, securing the transition and measuring the results of the strategy with the corresponding KPIs.

What must my strategy competence in strategy management include?

Strategy management is primarily a management competence that includes social media, including the respective social media infrastructure and the necessary specialist skills. In other words, we need to understand and be able to ensure that we understand both social media and the technology we use.

Strategy management is also responsible for the transition of corporate benefits from social media into corporate processes. Strategy management should therefore be able to ensure this transition both qualitatively and quantitatively.

More information on strategy and social media

can be found in the social media strategy blog on this website. I particularly recommend these articles

Strategy Blog

Individual posts about social media strategy

External resources on the topic of strategy

To the strategy course

For your questions

Strategy is an extensive and complex field. This also applies to social media.

If you have any questions about social media strategy, I will try to answer them as best I can. Ask your questions via email or via LinkedIn.

If you want to delve into the topic as a whole and take your social media strategy skills to a new level, I recommend my course on social media strategy development with the pbsm.


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