2.9 Social media performance potential Social media resources

This section looks at social media resources – that is, the resources that social media itself provides and that are available to an organization as additional resources on social media.

The section does not address the corporate resources required to use social media.

Learning Goal: To recognize the resources that companies can leverage in social media and be able to use them as part of their social media strategy.

Reading time: approx. 7 minutes

Exercises: Exercises are in the PDF of all exercises of this course. Download it from here.


Definition of social media resources

Social media resources are resources that can be used for a company and its activities through social media by the activity of social media users. Social media resources arise from the engagement and activity of social media users.

Importance of social media resources

The resources of a company define its possibilities or potential to be active in the market and competition. If the company’s resources change, so do these opportunities. Resources that the company can use in addition to its own resources allow it to have additional impact. This effect can create a competitive advantage for the company if the competition does not see these resources available, or the competition cannot use them to the same extent or to the same quality.

Social media resources are therefore the basis for a possible competitive advantage or a corresponding competitive disadvantage for the company – depending on how the company uses social media resources successfully or fails to do so.

Types of social media resources

Activities that justify social media resources

Social media resources are created by activities of social media users for the benefit of a company or a purpose. In the following we will learn about typical activities that act as resources and can be used.

  • Situation: Social media users share content within their reach.
  • Effect: This results in further dissemination of the content. The content is enhanced by sharing it on the user’s respective social network in the sense of a recommendation.
  • Resource: Reach, Attention
  • Prerequisite: the content must be sufficiently useful for the sharing user. The user must be motivated to share this content.
  • Situation: A social media user song content.
  • Effect: The user enhances the content with it. The content can thus – depending on the social media channel – generally or more easily reach the user’s personal social network and – depending on the social media channel – also be perceived more easily there. The content can spread better with it.
  • Resource: Reach, Attention
  • Prerequisite: the content must be sufficiently useful for the lying user and the user must be motivated to like this content.
  • Situation: a user comments on a content.
  • Impact: the user contributes another content to the existing content and thus attention, relevance and usefulness of the content.
  • Resource: Attention, Relevance, UserBenefit
  • Prerequisite: the content must be sufficiently relevant for the commenting user and the user must be motivated to comment on this content.

The above examples are standardized forms of engagement. This is about a commitment that goes beyond that. Social media users can engage once, regularly or permanently. The level of engagement naturally has an impact on the effect that this engagement has on the company.

  • Situation: a social media user engages with a company topic on social media in the company’s channel.
  • Impact: user engagement enhances content and channels and increases attractiveness, attention, relevance, reach, and user utility
  • Resource: Reach, UserBenefit, Relevance
  • Prerequisite: the topic must be relevant enough for the user to engage. At the same time, the user benefit and motivation must be sufficient to engage in the company’s social media channel.

A typical example of a more extensive social media user engagement is regular participation in a forum – perhaps even in an administrative role. .

The individual social media resources occur with significantly different frequency and also differ in their impact. Likes are commonplace and thus generate correspondingly less attention than comments and likewise less reach than sharing content.

Engagement beyond standardized, spontaneous involvement is rarer in its frequency and more pronounced in its impact because it represents an explicit decision to engage. Since these forms of participation are more individual and comprehensive, they require corresponding technical and conceptual prerequisites that are currently not available as standard in external social media channels.

More comprehensive forms of user participation can be found for example

  • in regular posts and content from users,
  • in regular participation in discussions or experiences in forums,
  • in the administration or moderation of posts in forums,
  • when answering questions from other users,
  • in the support of users in communities,
  • in the management of topics in communities or audiences.
Spontaneous or systematic participation

In addition to spontaneously used participation offerings, we should not underestimate the potential of systematic participation. If social media users engage regularly or even in an organized manner with a topic, an impact is possible that clearly exceeds the impact of the more usual forms in terms of its type and quality. The rule of thumb here is that the higher the level of participation and organization, the higher the impact in the market, but at the same time the number of users who participate decreases with the level of participation and organization.

The example of Wikipedia shows how a relatively small number of social media users offer a social media service that is used millions of times a day and drastically influences the market for conventional encyclopedias.

Social media resources and business model

The individual significance of social media resources for your company is revealed – beyond the examination of individual company activities – in particular through

  • the analysis of the benefits that the company can achieve through these resources for the individual modules of the business model.
  • The market and competitive impact the company can achieve using social media resources.

For the analysis of the business model, we use the contents of the modules Customer Segments, Value Propositions, Customer Relationships and Channels to examine which types and forms of user participation can achieve a sense or a benefit for users and companies.

For the assessment of the market and competitive impact, we may be able to draw on analogous situations from our own company, our own industries or comparable situations.

Social media resources and strategy definition

Social media resources are only available to us if users engage accordingly. In the development of social media strategies, the use of social media resources is therefore an aspect that is rarely given sufficient consideration. Mostly because we can’t build safely from these resources.

However, if we forgo considering the potential social media resources for our company, we forgo a potential competitive advantage. Above all, however, we act in the sense of a self-fulfilling prophecy. We refrain from using social media resources and thus the corresponding participation offerings, and accordingly cannot use social media resources for our company. Let’s not overestimate the risk that users will not accept well-founded participation offers. It is significantly less than doing without it yourself.

My recommendation: Consistently integrate usable social media resources into the strategy definition, but don’t assume their success from the start.



Whether and to what extent social media resources are available to a company depends on both the company and its issues.

Prerequisite topics: for social media users to engage with a topic, it must interest users. That is, we need a broad match of user interests and topics. The user’s interest in the subject must be sufficient to motivate him to engage. The user benefit from engagement should be based on the user’s own interest in the topic, but can also be supported and encouraged by forms of motivation (e.g., in the form of self-promotion about the topic and engagement with it).

Company prerequisites: company acceptance is another prerequisite for social media engagement for a topic on a company channel or platform.

Prerequisite social media channels: the social media channels used for the topic or subject area must also enable the desired forms of engagement. If there are no opportunities for the user to get involved, it is hardly surprising if users – even if they are interested in the topic – do not get involved: if the technical requirements are not met, involvement does not take place.

Where we only offer our users the traditional forms of engagement in our social media channels, it’s not surprising if we don’t receive engagement beyond that.

In the performance potentials Participation and Motivation or the corresponding strategy components of the same name, you will work out the possible social media resources and the part of them that you will apply in your social media strategy.

Identify available social media resources

For our social media strategy development, knowledge of available social media resources is not irrelevant, as the company’s resources determine what it can achieve in social media. Social media resources therefore expand our available scope of action accordingly. If we are able to use them, we can avoid a competitive disadvantage against the competition (for attention) and possibly establish a competitive advantage.

As we have recognized, the availability of social media resources depends on

  • the topics
  • the acceptance of the company
  • the performance potential of the social media channels used




The exercises are primarily for self-control. I.e. you perform the described exercise and thereby recognize to what extent you can apply the learned contents yourself and where you may need to reread and rework. You solve open questions

  • in which you review the material of the section (basics, applications).
  • check the FAQ for answers,
  • use the forum for open questions.
  • if the previous sources do not contain an answer – ask the lecturer (eMail)
  • use the Individual Lecturer Consultation (only participants with coaching package).

Industry suggestions for further exercises

  • Media: apply the exercise to Gruner + Jahr’s CouchStyle project ( https://www.couchstyle.de) or ZEIT (zeit.de).
  • FMCG – Brand companies: Nike, Barilla, Paulaner
  • Retailers / chain stores: Douglas Cosmetic, dm-markt or Lidl
  • b2b: Würth, Liebherr (cranes)

Exercise own company

Define which social media resources your company could use for your business model in general.

Describe the potential impact of social media resources on your company's business model for its customer segments, value propositions, channels, and customer relationships.

Describe the possible impact of the social media resources on the company's competitive situation.