3.4 Social media options User benefits

Learning objective: Understand and be able to derive the options for action for the user benefit.

Reading time: approx. 22 minutes

This section describes the basics of UserBenefit and how to work with it. As an action option, the UserBenefit includes all meaningful and possible UserBenefits for one or more topics. As part of the strategy definition, we then determine the user benefits for one or more strategies / strategy alternatives and record the user benefits of our final social media strategy in the strategy component of the same name.

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

Basics

The performance potential of the UserBenefit was described in the section Performance Potential UserBenefit. It is recommended to read this section again if you do not remember the content completely.

Derivation of the options for action

We derive options for action via the following areas and in this order:

  • Subject areas: with this we define in which markets / sub-areas of the markets we want to operate with social media.
  • UserBenefits: we hold the possible, meaningful UserBenefits for our subject areas.
  • Usage formats: we record which usage formats make sense for our subject areas.
  • Participation: we record which participation opportunities are useful in our subject areas.
  • Motivation: we hold the motivation methods and structures that are useful for our subject areas.

For the options for action in user benefits, usage formats, participation, and motivation, we are guided only by the topic areas. The aim of this approach is to obtain an overview of reasonable options for action in the subject areas. The compatibility of the options for action with each other is part of the strategy definition

Requirements for the quality of the user benefit

We need a strong and broad, relevant and clear user benefit so that our social media strategy is competitive in the market and achieves a broad impact. UserBenefits should be social, easily accessible, and quickly lead to or contribute to business benefits.

  • Strong UserBenefit: our UserBenefit is strong when it meets a strong interest / need of our users and is very competitive (compared to the UserBenefit of performance and attention competitors).
  • Broad UserBenefit: our UserBenefit is broadly represented among our users (target groups). So it appeals to the vast majority of our users.
  • Relevant UserBenefit: our UserBenefit must be relevant for the target group, i.e. very interesting for the social media users. If we do not cover our target group(s) with a single user benefit, we have to provide complementary benefits accordingly.
  • UserBenefit: the UserBenefit should already be able to be used quickly, easily and without unnecessary hurdles.
  • Clear UserBenefit: the UserBenefit must be easily and quickly recognizable for the user. If the user does not perceive the intended user benefit or does not perceive it sufficiently, our social media strategy will have significantly less success (perception task). If the user benefit is not immediately convincing, this is risky. A strong user benefit that only becomes apparent through closer examination is still a strong benefit, but not a clear one. This means that many or even most users will not really perceive the benefit that is actually relevant to them.
  • BusinessBenefit: the UserBenefit should clearly contribute to the BusinessBenefit. A longer process from user benefit to company benefit is rarely effective. The closer the user benefit is to the company performance, the easier it is to create a strong company benefit via the user benefit. Unfortunately, this is not always easy.
  • Social UserBenefit: the more a UserBenefit benefits from social networking, the stronger its market impact. Therefore, we should try to create a UserBenefit that grows with the sharing or that is linked to an additional UserBenefit from the sharing.

Sources of UserBenefits

The following are recommended as sources of user benefit

  • the interests and needs of the UserBenefits and their topics. If a user benefit does not correspond to the interests and needs of a social media user, the probability that we will gain his attention and support is low. Deriving the user benefit from the user’s interests therefore requires a sound knowledge of the interests of our users (target groups).
  • the topics of our business model and our corporate goals in which we want to establish a user benefit.

Strategic risks in the design of user benefits

The fundamental importance of user benefits for the success of the strategy is clear to us. Typical risks in the development of the user benefit are

  • Social media strategy without sufficient knowledge of the interests and motivation of our users: here it is very likely that this strategy falls significantly short of the possibilities and rather has a spongy quality (if we want to speak of quality here).
  • Lack of competitiveness of the UserBenefit: If the UserBenefit of our social media strategy is not competitive, we should not expect competitive success.
  • Unclear user benefit: the benefit of the social media offering for the user is not immediately apparent. We better not assume that users think much about your benefit from our social media offers. Either the benefit is immediately apparent or the user is gone.
  • Mee to – benefit: we offer – at least at first glance – nothing significantly better or more attractive than the user already knows.
  • Confusing benefits: we bundle user benefits, which can lead to a confusing and unclear picture. Let’s keep in mind that we don’t get infinite time or attention from the user to convey the benefits of our offer.
  • Wrong orientation of the UserBenefit: we obsessively orient ourselves to the company benefit and try to establish the UserBenefit as close to the company benefit / to products and services as possible without considering the interests of the users.
  • Partial UserBenefit: our UserBenefit corresponds to correspondingly pronounced interests only in a small part of our users (target groups).
  • Weak UserBenefit: our UserBenefit is built on weak interest from our users. Thus, the expected impact of our UserBenefit is low and our strategy weakest overall. This is easily the case if the user benefit is oriented to a company performance without high interest for the user (low interest products).
  • Distance between user benefit based on interests and business model cannot be bridged. In this case, the company has opted for a user benefit based on the interests of users who are, however, positioned far away from the topics of the company’s business model and the company does not succeed in bridging this distance in such a way that the established reach and relationships can be used successfully in economic terms.

Summary of the required user benefits from all topics

As a reminder, UserBenefit should be the pillar of our strategy, which through its benefit to the user makes this strategy and its offerings more or less indispensable to the user. No convincing social media success without convincing user benefits.

Goal and result: we summarize all required UserBenefits from the topic areas we are working on and get an overview of the UserBenefits we need to use to be successful in the respective topic areas. If we forego a required user benefit, we forego part of the success or part of a market.

As a reminder, the attractiveness of the user benefit for the user is crucial. The bait must taste good to the fish, not to the angler. And the company’s performance does not replace social media user benefits and should not be confused with each other, please. UserBenefit is also not an issue for actions and temporary benefits. UserBenefit is something that must be permanently there, immediately recognizable and also immediately convincing.

Problems and decisions: The following are a series of problems and required decisions with significant impact on the quality and success of the strategy:

  • Individuality of users and benefits: Benefits are evaluated from the individual perspective of the user and can also vary according to the situation. With the UserBenefit decision, we inevitably address different groups of users. How far this is sufficiently possible with a uniform user benefit can only be determined on the concrete case. The alternative to the “universal” UserBenefit is a set of UserBenefits. This consideration should always take place against the background of permanent feasibility and complexity. In addition, the interactions between user benefits and social media channels are often underestimated. A user benefit that sounds good but cannot be realized is just as unhelpful as a social media channel that does not enable a competitive user benefit.
  • User benefit and sales proximity: A user benefit close to the company’s performance or the costomer journey is particularly valuable. To conclude from this that the user benefit must necessarily be located there can be misleading. Where possible, we should leverage compelling user value in conjunction with business performance and customer journey, but where this is not present, an obsessive fixation on this proximity/connection leads to less attractive offerings and correspondingly less successful social media strategies.
  • Different UserBenefits for different subject areas: The more specifically we can address a market, the more competitive we can be. This consideration invites the use of different UserBenefits for different topics. Provided that this approach can also be realized in implementation, it can become a competitive advantage over less specifically operating companies. The fact that a “colorful palette” of UserBenefits does not lead to user irritation and that each UserBenefit must be individually perceived and convincing remains unquestioned.
  • User benefits and the performance potential of social media channels: Social media channels connect us and our offering with social media users. The performance of external social media channels is usually fixed and can greatly limit both the quality of the usage formats in the individual channel as well as the user benefits, motivation and participation. In this case, it is recommended to use external social media channels according to their performance potential and to supplement them with additional, own social media channels – with the corresponding performance. For example, by addressing users via external channels but offering benefits where possible. This is an inconvenient solution – for the company because of the effort and complexity, for the user because of a lack of convenience – but it is still better than abandoning an overall more powerful strategy. With some innovativeness, we can generate a more or less permanent competitive advantage from this disadvantage over competitors who are unable to do so because of their own capabilities and expertise in social media.
  • Competitiveness and copyability: Compet itive advantages that are easy to copy do not last very long. It therefore makes sense to consider the sustainability and permanence of possible competitive advantages through user benefits when considering user benefits because of their importance for the success of the strategy. If the competitive advantages from user benefits are not of structural quality, a shorter shelf life can be expected.
  • Cost factor UserBenefits: UserBenefits are cost factors. They must be created and maintained – whether in the form of content, through infrastructure, or a combination of both. They need to be checked “maintained” and adjusted to keep their traction. This requires not only the budgets for these tasks but also the appropriate expertise and attention by social media management. In many cases, companies are still entering the famous uncharted territory here.

Processes of the design of user benefits

The process of defining/designing the user benefit runs according to these steps:

  1. User interests
  2. Effect of the user benefit on the users (especially for reach, attractiveness, motivation, participation)
  3. Competitive quality
  4. Feasibility
  5. CorporateBenefits

UserInterests and UserBenefits

The design of the UserBenefit is primarily based on the interests and motivation of the users. This is as self-evident as it is indispensable. should be based on user interests (target groups) that enable our reach. In other words, we take great care to address user interests that are also sufficiently powerful across the board.

Problems and solutions

  • What do we do when user interests that are obvious for our company have a low priority and attractiveness for the users? Then we are faced with the question of whether to enter a tough race with our own “flagging racehorse” or whether we would rather use a more attractive interest that is positioned a little further away from our corporate services. So we have to decide whether we want to compete with a weaker user benefit that is closer to the company or with a more attractive user benefit that is further away from the company.
  • What if all attractive user benefits are already occupied? If we don’t find attractive and unoccupied user benefits, the question is which competitor we can push out of the competition in social media. To do this, the competition must have weaknesses – in user benefits or in other crucial strategy components – that it cannot quickly remedy. If this is not the case, we either have an attrition competition that we must be able to pass with relative certainty, or we try to solve this problem by a “workaround” at the subject level. In other words, we try to avoid this competition as far as possible by focusing on other topics. This presupposes that this “workaround” is possible in terms of content – both in terms of suitable subject areas and the competitive situation in these subject areas.

Effect of the user benefit on the users

Our UserBenefit must be sufficiently attractive to achieve a desired effect. This means that our user benefit is alsoinfluenced by the effect we want to achieve with the users. If we want users to participate actively and as permanently as possible, the requirement for the user benefit that this must provide is different from that for a pure perception of content over a short attention span. This means that we need to be specific about the impact we want our social media strategy to have.

Problems and solutions

  • UserBenefits with low broad impact: we can use several UserBenefits in one strategy, but we have to be careful that this is not at the expense of clarity and recognizability. Otherwise, the choice of another UserUse is recommended.
  • UserBenefit with low attractiveness: a UserBenefit with low attractiveness is less likely to achieve the desired effect. We can try to supplement the UserBenefit, for example, with additional incentives if no alternative with higher attractiveness presents itself.
  • Change in desired effect required: the UserBenefit is designed to achieve a specific effect – for example, attention – and is intended to achieve another effect in the future for which it was not intended and is not suitable or only suitable to a very limited extent. In this case, it is to be expected that the additional effect will be rather small. The situation is similar to building up reach for a defined effect, which can also be redirected in a very limited way. The extent to which the effect can be extended can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Competitive quality of the user benefit

The competitive quality of a UserPurpose describes how powerful the UserPurpose is in its competitive situation. The criterion for this is the effect that can be expected from the user benefit.

  • a competitive advantage from the UserBenefit: the UserBenefit enables temporary or longer-term competitive advantages over the UserBenefits of competitors.
  • of competitive parity through the user benefit: with this user benefit, the company draws level with the existing competition.
  • of a competitive disadvantage with this UserBenefit. UserBenefit is not competitive with the competition.

Competitive quality results from direct comparison with the user benefits employed by attention and performance competitors. Competitive quality is therefore not a fixed quantity but subject to change. Competitive advantages can be offset by competition. The competitive quality of a user benefit is therefore also variable in its duration. We therefore consider whether the competitive quality of user utility is structural and longer-term in nature or can be reduced in the short term.

Problems and solutions

  • UserBenefit with low competitive quality (equal or disadvantage): Improve UserBenefit where feasible or partially offset by competitive quality of other strategy components. It should be noted that a deficit in the competitive quality of user benefits in a strategy can only be compensated to a limited extent by the competitive quality of other strategy components. A permanent improvement of the user benefit is more recommendable.
  • UserBenefit with short-term competitive quality. Here, the UserBenefit can be compensated by the competition in the short term – for example, by adopting this UserBenefit. Here, an upgrade of the UserBenefit is recommended, which is difficult to comprehend by the competition.

Support of the company benefit

A UserBenefit can support the CompanyBenefit directly – in a causal relationship – or indirectly – via further processes based on the social media impact achieved.

Only when we succeed in doing justice to the preceding levels of user interests, user impact, and competitive effect can we additionally attempt to position the user benefits close to the company services. This means keeping the step from user benefit to company benefit from the social media strategy as small as possible. However, that the user benefit corresponds to the company benefit is usually wishful thinking. We are much better advised to focus on the interests of the users (target groups) and to pay attention to a strong user benefit (in competition) than to focus on a less strong user benefit.

Feasibility of the user benefit

At this point, we know what specific user benefits our social media strategy should offer our users. In order for this user benefit to exist, we will have to implement a number of measures. The realizability of a UserBenefit depends on the specific measures that create that UserBenefit.

Problems and solutions

  • The implementation of a user benefit in external social media channels can be problematic if they do not offer the necessary functions. As a solution, abandoning the user benefit in this channel and providing the user benefit outside the channel or abandoning the channel altogether are possible.
  • If a desired user benefit cannot be realized with the available corporate resources and if the corporate resources cannot be expanded, we can still check whether this user benefit can be realized with the help of social media resources – i.e., through the participation of social media users in the creation of the benefit.

Application

We define the user benefits we want to create with our social media strategy and describe how we realize these user benefits. The aim is to create a user benefit that gives our strategy a competitive edge and reduces potential competitive risks in this strategy component. Sources are the findings from the Market and Competition modules.

Work steps for deriving the contents

From the topics that define our market, we define one or more UserBenefits according to the requirements for the content of the strategy component under “UserBenefits of the company” and check these UserBenefit(s) for

  1. Relevance and attractiveness (for our target groups)
  2. Coverage (of our target groups)
  3. Usage format (which is suitable for the user benefit)
  4. Competitive quality (compared to user benefits of the competition)
  5. Corporate impact (support of business model / corporate functions)
  6. Realizability of the company benefit

Explanation of the individual steps:

Step 1: Relevance and attractiveness

We check in 2 steps how relevant and attractive our planned user benefits are for our social media users.

  • Step 1 deals with the relevance of the benefit. We test this relevance based on the interests and motivations of our social media users. Does our UserBenefit meet an important interest or motivation of our social media users? Assessing this requires in-depth knowledge of the interests of our social media users / target groups. Existing studies from marketing/market research or appropriately structured personas help here.
  • Step 2 checks how far the user benefit and or the interest behind it is part of the social communication. In other words, how far and how pronounced this benefit and the interest behind it is present in social media. If we have an interest that is not present in social media, the question arises whether this interest is relevant as a basis for the user benefit of a social media.

Note: If the user benefit has no or only a very weak connection to the interests of the target groups, this is a hard knock-out criterion. criterion. Under no circumstances should we try to apply a user benefit in the market that is not of interest, no matter how many internal reasons there are for doing so.

Result: we have identified one or better several well-suited UserBenefits with convincing relevance and attractiveness.

Step 2: Cover

In this step we check which of our possible UserBenefits from step 1 has sufficient coverage of the planned UserBenefits within our target groups. In other words, what proportion of our social media users / target groups we will reach with our planned user benefits. To do this, we check which needs and interests the user benefits address and to what extent these needs and interests exist in our target groups. This content is either available in marketing (target group knowledge) or must be collected.

Note: if we reach only a small part of the target group with a suitable user benefit, this is also a form of relevance problem. We can try to address the missing part of the target group by a complementary UserBenefit or we choose another UserBenefit with a more acceptable coverage.

Result: We have one or more user benefits that are convincing in terms of relevance, attractiveness and coverage.

Step 3: Usage format

We check which social media usage format best serves our intended user benefit. To do this, we analyze whether the user benefits best from an audience, a community or the usage format network.

We check which social media usage format best serves our user benefits from step 2. To do this, we analyze whether the user benefits best from an audience, a community or the usage format network.

  • An audience is suitable if the user benefit consists primarily of content in sender-receiver format.
  • Network is recommended if the user benefit consists of content that is relevant for personal friend circles or professional networks.
  • Community is preferable if the user benefit consists primarily in a social context such as the experience and knowledge of others (user generated content) or community is a prerequisite for the user benefit (recognition, status).

Of course, we can basically combine usage formats or supplement them in individual services, always provided that we can afford these possibilities from a conceptual, technical, personnel and quantity and quality point of view.

Result: we have the right usage formats for one or more user benefits that are convincing in terms of relevance, attractiveness and coverage.

Step 4: Competitive quality

We compare our planned UserBenefits with the UserBenefits of our competitors. Equivalence of user benefits will contribute significantly less to the success of our social media strategy / social media use than a recognizably more attractive user benefit. Remember that user value is the “flagship” and the key success factor of your strategy.

We compare our UserBenefits from step 3 with the UserBenefits of our competitors and check whether we can compete with the UserBenefits of our competitors.

  • Competitive advantages over the user benefits of the competition can be expected.
  • have an equivalence of user benefit with the offers of the competition. will contribute significantly less to the success of our social media strategy / social media use than a recognizably more attractive user benefit. Remember that user value is the “flagship” and the key success factor of your strategy.
  • have a user benefit with lower competitive quality.

Problems and solutions

  • Equivalence in competition: If our UserBenefit is at most equivalent to the UserBenefit of our competition, it is advisable to think again about the UserBenefit of our strategy.
  • Lower competitive quality: a startup with a UserBenefit with lower competitive quality is difficult to compensate for within the strategy, even via strengths in other strategy components. A more competitive UserBenefit is a much better alternative.

Result: we have identified one or more user benefits and the usage formats suitable for them, which are convincing in terms of relevance, attractiveness, coverage and competitive quality.

Step 5: BusinessBenefits

Here we check how our UserBenefit(s) from Step 4 affects the CompanyBenefit, i.e., what benefit the company derives directly or indirectly from this UserBenefit. We check whether – and how – the user benefit

  • Contributes directly to a desired business benefit
  • indirectly supports a desired business benefit.

If the intended UserBenefit is not positively related to a CompanyBenefit, this UserBenefit is not necessarily immediately obsolete. If it opens up and secures the market for us in the form of social media users, it still fulfills an important purpose – namely to enable the success of our strategy. Nevertheless, a lack of reference i. This is a disadvantage in the sense of a causality of the user benefit to a concrete company benefit, because in this case we have to build a larger bridge from the user benefit to the company benefit. D. h. We should also pay attention to ensuring that the path from user benefit to company benefit is not too long and complicated. If we still have several equivalent user benefits to choose from, a higher direct relationship to the company benefit is a decision criterion.

Result: we have identified one or more user benefits and the usage formats suitable for them, which are convincing in terms of relevance, attractiveness, coverage and competitive quality and contribute – directly or indirectly – to the company benefit.

Problems and solutions

  • No completely convincing user benefit remains across the individual work steps:

Goals Strategy component

The general task of the strategy component is to define a suitable user benefit as a task for implementing the strategy in day-to-day business.

We measure the quantitative and qualitative implementation of the UserBenefit via the KPIs from the practical use of the UserBenefit by the users. For example, in the form of dissemination or active use of the offered user benefit related to the reach

Decisions

Deciding on the user benefits of our social media strategy is part of defining the strategy. It is mentioned here to show the strategy component UserBenefit also from the point of view of determining the content.

  • Defining the or UserBenefit for our social media strategy.

Basis for decision-making

The most important basis for decision-making is the overview of the user benefits of the topic areas of our social media strategy that are suitable and useful, already exist / are used in these topic areas or are not yet available and open.

Involved

  • Social Media Responsible
  • Market Responsible
  • Person responsible for customer relations

Involving market managers and those responsible for customer relations in this decision makes sense in principle because the choice of the user benefits

  • has a far-reaching influence on the success of the social media strategy.
  • affects the customer relationship.
  • has an impact on market results – especially if the user benefit is more closely related to the company’s performance, for example by directly supporting its use or sales.
Practice note

The priority of UserBenefit is to create value for the user and should not be altered by other interests – such as sales opportunities. An unconvincing user benefit that is primarily designed for a sales advantage will do more harm than good in the long run.

Measures of the UserBenefit strategy component

We have now comprehensively defined and tested the user benefits we want to deliver with our social media strategy. The next step is to define the measures that create this user benefit.

The types of user benefits are described in the Fundamentals. Now it is a matter of determining the measures that can ensure a selected user benefit. Since we know the type of benefit with the UserBenefit, we can derive the required usage format and the social media impact (type and scope) from it.

When determining the usage format, we are dealing with both the suitability for the user benefit and the competitive situation of the user benefit. In other words – we should not only pay attention to which usage format is sufficient to ensure a user benefit, but also which competitive effect the individual usage format has. For example, if both an Audience and a Community can be considered as a usage format, the Community enables a much higher competitive impact, but also corresponding resources.

Practice Notes

Problems in the implementation of the user benefit are more often based on the selected socia media channels and their performance potential. Remember that user value is central to the success of the strategy. Adjust the use of social media channels as appropriate.
Be careful not to confuse user benefits with business benefits. A positive context of UserBenefit exists, for example, when the UserBenefit benefits from the company’s performance. An obligatory link – user usage only with simultaneous use of the company service – is counterproductive.

Process result

At the end of this process, we have one or more user benefits that match the possibilities of social media and the company as far as possible, do justice to the competitive situation, and support the business model as much as possible.

Example of a working template for the action options UserBenefits for a topic area.

With this working template you have an overview of the UserBenefits that make sense for a topic area and their quality.

By summarizing all possible UserBenefits for all topics of your strategy, you gain an overview of the range of UserBenefits for your strategy and the quality of the individual UserBenefits for your users, your company and last but not least the competitive quality of the individual UserBenefits.

This provides a helpful overview of the potential content of one of the most important strategy components for strategy development.

Use of the result

  • Strategy definition (via the strategy component UserBenefit)
  • Examination of interactions within the strategy
  • Strategy evaluation – especially competitiveness of the strategy.

UserBenefit action options exercise

  • Define 3 different possible UserBenefits for 2 topics of your company.
  • Describe the competitive quality of the UserBenefits - i.e. the competitiveness of your UserBenefits in the competition within the topics.
  • Describe the requirements from the UserBenefits for the social media channels in which the UserBenefits are to be used.
  • Describe the requirements that a UserBenefit must fulfill in order to achieve a network effect.