Strategy models in social media

Strategy models are models for the development of strategies. They map the complexity of the strategy and its development.

Strategy development is one of the tasks that rarely arise in day-to-day business. It is also not treated very comprehensively in training. As a newcomer to a relatively new function, strategy development in social media must be largely self-generated. Of course, there are also strategy models or frameworks in social media to facilitate the development of strategies. However, their quality varies greatly.

What are social media strategies and what are not

Strategies are often confused with measures. You can read how to distinguish strategies from action (packages) in this blog post.

Only talk about strategy if you can be sure that it really is strategy. And – even if it seems nitpicky and annoying – make sure that in meetings and the like there is a clear common definition of what is strategy – and what is not strategy. Otherwise you will end up in the limbo of strategy – where everyone wants to contribute something to the strategy without knowing what strategy actually is. By the way, the real hell for strategists starts when strategy decisions are made without a common understanding of what strategy is.

Benefits of strategy models

Strategy models map strategies and their development. At their best, they provide a procedure for developing strategies, map the relationships and processes that lead to a strategy, and guide the user through those processes.

What strategy models can do

Strategy models are methods and structures that should lead to valid strategies. Simply explained, they are a kind of recipe that shows the user how to work out a certain result – a strategy.

This highlights the benefits of strategy models. We receive

  • Structured processes for strategy development
  • a more or less concrete instruction manual for the individual processes
  • the security of not forgetting anything in terms of content

A good strategy model is therefore more likely to lead to a valid strategy than strategy development based on gut feeling.

Strategy models are no guarantee of success

Strategy models are instruction manuals and recommended procedures. The quality of the strategy that emerges is based – in addition to the quality of the strategy model – on the quality of information on which the strategy emerges and on the quality of the decisions that lead to a strategy.

The consequence of this:

  • we must be able to assess strategy models. If we choose an underperforming, inadequate or flawed strategy model, there is a high risk that the resulting strategy will have these weaknesses.
  • Strategy models do not prevent wrong or weak decisions: Strategies are based on decisions. Strategy models show us which decisions we should make, but they cannot take the decisions away from us. Each company operates in its individual environment and competition, with its individual goals and resources. The strategies – and the decisions required for them – must take this individual situation into account. Otherwise, they are not suitable for the company.
  • Strategy models do not ensure information quality: Strategy models show us what information we need or should have for our decisions. Good strategy models also explain how we arrive at this information. We must ensure the quality of this information ourselves when collecting it. The same applies to their interpretation.

Problematic strategy models

Strategy models are problematic when they

  • cannot lead us to a good, valid strategy, for example because they are incomplete. Strategy models are incomplete if they lack areas of strategy.
  • are not sufficiently clearly structured. If the structures of a strategy are not clearly defined in a strategy model, this strategy model does not help us well enough to develop a powerful strategy.
  • not guide us safely through processes. Especially if the content of the individual strategy processes is unclear.

Incomplete strategy models

Strategy models are incomplete if they lack areas of strategy or if structures of strategy are incomplete.

Missing areas of a strategy are for example

  • Competition: the company’s competitive situation in social media is not taken into account. Competitive responses are not considered in the strategy.
  • options of action: the company’s possible options of action for action for its specific situation are not clearly defined. No well-founded valid strategy can then be derived from this.
  • Corporate goals and priorities: individual corporate priorities and goals are not or insufficiently taken into account in the strategy. An unchanged status quo is assumed.

Evaluation of strategy models

In order to evaluate strategy models, we need criteria that should be met by strategy models and frameworks.

I refer to strategies as valid strategies, which are

  • build on the individual performance potential of social media for the company and the benefits of social media for the company that can be achieved as a result.
  • considered the individual needs, priorities and goals of the business model.
  • based on the possible courses options of action and the decision which of them will be used.
  • map the competitive situation and take it into account in the strategy definition.
  • take into account the resources of the company / feasibility of the strategy.

Strategy models that do not cover these areas do not lead to valid strategies.

Criteria for strategy models

The following are some criteria for evaluating strategy models.

Consider the strategy model you are using or want to use from this perspective and also check other, alternative strategy models for their suitability. The following are the most important criteria for strategy models.

  • Benefits (of the strategy for the company) Strategies can benefit the entire company or individual functional areas. For social media, it makes sense to first identify the potential benefits of social media for the entire company and then focus on supporting individual areas if necessary. A strategy model should take the performance potential of social media for the individual company as a starting point for deciding on the benefits and the entire strategy development. If we don’t take into account the full potential performance of social media, it leads to an unintentionally limited strategy. Unlike a deliberately focused strategy, this is problematic.
  • Precision (of the strategy model) this is about how precise the strategy model is designed as a tool. How selectively can a single market or area of a single market be addressed. Can I focus here in terms of content, or do I have to be rather crude in terms of breadth. Depending on how precisely my strategy model depicts the benefit, market and competitive situation, a strategy can be developed and designed more effectively and precisely.
  • Impact / performance potential of social media: the impact approach of a strategy model describes how this strategy model achieves (what effect) in social media. This requires a basic definition of how social media can achieve an impact for companies (the toolbox, so to speak) and a process for deciding which impact to achieve in which area. Depending on how precisely these impact methods are mapped in the strategy model – and are part of the strategy – the more effective and impactful the strategy can be developed.
  • Competition: if the strategy model ignores the competitive situation, an essential component of the strategy model and, as a consequence, of the strategy developed on the basis of this model is missing. There are few areas as competitive as social media. Developing strategies for social media without taking into account the competitive situation both structurally and in detail is unrealistic and unjustifiable. Strategies that ignore their competitive situation have a higher risk of failure. Strategy model can consider the competitive situation “globally” (for the whole content range of the strategy) or “granularly” (for the individual areas / topics of the strategy). The more precise a strategy model works, the more precise the strategy based on it can be. This increases the probability of success of the strategy, its effectiveness and has a positive impact on resource consumption. Another criterion in the competitive situation / competitive quality of strategy models is the consideration of competitive reactions. If the strategy model supports the consideration of possible competitive reactions to one’s own strategy, this model is significantly more powerful and enables strategies with a higher competitive quality than strategy models that do not consider this point.
  • options of action: options of action action show us which different options for action the company has to realize a desired benefit for a market or a part of it in a defined competitive situation in social media. Strategy models that make clear a company’s options of action in social media – for the possible benefits of social media for markets – provide a higher quality of information for strategy definition, therefore enable better decisions and thus more powerful strategies than strategy models that do not.
  • Strategy components: Strategies are decisions that lead to a certain behavior and corresponding measures. In order for strategies to be successful, they should contain all components that are necessary to achieve the desired goals. For social media, strategy models should therefore not only define the goal but also describe the way to achieve it. Specifically, the strategy model should define the impact it seeks to achieve and the mode of action by which the impact will be achieved.

A minimum set of strategy components in this sense are

  • The topics and issues to be addressed by the strategy.
  • the social media usage formats with the help of which the impact in social media is achieved.
  • the User benefit that results from the strategy.
  • the corporate benefit generated by the strategy
  • the social media channels to be used for User benefit, company benefits and usage formats.
  • the reach required to realize the business benefit to the desired extent.
  • the resources required for the strategy.

This set can be supplemented with other strategy components – such as goals, target groups, assumptions and prerequisites.

Strategy definition

The strategy definition in the narrower sense describes which decisions are made and considers the consequences and effects of these decisions. In the strategy definition, the contents of the strategy are formulated.

  • Strategy definition: information base options of action, competition, social media affinity, campaign-oriented, structure-oriented, content marketing as a strategy or more broadly positioned.
  • Competition: current situation, options of action Strategy
  • Strategy versions, only one strategy
  • Strategy evaluation / review strategy draft according to criteria

Functional integration

A social media strategy model that focuses only on social media / marketing communications is significantly less integrated than a strategy model that integrates all areas of the company affected by social media into the social media strategy development. Few integrated strategy models lead to siloed strategies and siloed behaviors; integrated strategy models secure more of the benefits of social media for the company overall and break away from the orientation of functional silos within the company.

Integration into day-to-day business

Social media strategies must arrive in day-to-day business in order to be implemented. Strategy models that support this integration into day-to-day business through their structure are more helpful for companies than strategy models that do not achieve this point.

The integration of strategies into social media day-to-day business can be ensured in strategy models, for example, through the fixed integration of measures in the individual strategy components. This is also where the KPIs for the various measures find their place.

Overview Social Media Strategy Models

Recommendations for action

  • Review and compare the performance and breadth of a strategy model before using it.
  • Review the performance of the strategy model of their current strategy. Strategies based on a less powerful strategy model are generally also less powerful. Customize your strategy using the most powerful strategy model for your situation and goals.
Strategy models - social media strategies with the pbsm strategy model.

Questions about strategy in social media

No blog post can answer all the questions on a topic. Especially not one as complex as strategy.

So if you have any questions about the topic, just contact me. You can reach me

Individual posts about social media strategy