4.10 Strategy Component Reach

The section on the strategy component reach is divided into the areas of

  • Basics: here you will learn the basics of the strategy component and the derivation of the content.
  • Interactions: here you will learn about common interactions of the strategy component reach with other strategy components.
  • Application: here you will learn the derivation by means of an exemplary procedure (method).
  • Exercises: here you practice the derivation on your own example(s). In the coaching package of the online course you will receive feedback, suggestions and criticism on your exercises.

The learning objective of the topic is to

  • Understanding reach as a component of social media strategy in pbsm.
  • be able to derive the contents of the strategy component from the defined strategy and the contents of other strategy components.

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


Definition of the Strategy Component Reach

Reach defines how many social media users can be reached directly by content. The reach can be selected from

  • its own reach in its own social media channels,
  • of its own reach in external social media channels or
  • a foreign reach in social media

exist. We distinguish in

  • nominal reach: the maximum number of social media users we could reach via a direct connection.
  • active reach: the number of social media users that can currently be reached via a direct connection.

Reach beyond this occurs when content is shared – that is, second-, third-, or further-level reach. This reach is dependent on the reaction of social media users and accordingly not calculable. In this way, an effect can be created that goes far beyond the company’s own reach. It is also said that content goes viral when social media users pass on content to a greater extent.

Reach as a strategy component

Reach is an essential element in a social media strategy. Without being able to fall back on your own reach or that of others, it will be difficult to achieve success in social media. Building and maintaining reach is thus an indispensable part of social media use / social media strategy and should therefore also be treated as an integral part of the strategy.

strategic importance of the strategy component reach

Three aspects describe the strategic importance of reach in social media:

  • Reach is a basic requirement for impact via social media.
  • reach in social media has the character of an infrastructure – in other words, it is of structural importance. This means that we have to build and maintain this infrastructure. This also includes a much less obvious character of the infrastructure. Reach is built for specific targets to specific groups. Reallocation of reach is possible to a correspondingly limited extent. So if we use a reach that was built for certain goals in certain topics / subject areas for other goals, this intention is usually not very promising.
  • Reach defines the possible degree / extent of success of social media strategy / use.

Since not every reach can be used for every purpose in social media and, if necessary, must be built up over the long term according to its goals, we should define reach as a central component of a social media strategy in a separate section. This also allows the manifold relationships to other strategy components – which are relevant to success – to be more clearly identified and shaped. Moreover, once again is clear,

  • what reach(es)
  • For which goals
  • in which topics / subject areas
  • in which channels

available to the company.

practical significance of the strategy component

As a strategy component, reach provides practical requirements for day-to-day work in social media. This includes in particular

  • Expansion: in terms of size, channels and topics / subject areas
  • Activation / maintenance: maintain existing reach(es) and their activity.
  • Change in structural form: other goals and topics / subject areas

Contents of the strategy component

Requirements for the content of the strategy component

The strategy component reach should include at least these points

  • The topics / subject areas for which we want to build reach.
  • the reach we need (markets).
  • the channels in which we want to build reach.
  • the methods and measures we use to build and actively maintain reach.
  • the targets for which we want to build reach.
  • the resources we need to build these reach.
  • the interactions we need to be aware of.
  • the assumptions and premises with which we work.
  • the risks associated with the content of this strategy component.

A quick overview of the existing reach, its activity, topics / subject areas and the goals for which this reach was built is recommended. Especially when new requirements for social media arise, it is then quick and easy to see whether these requirements can be easily met with the existing reach, or whether these new requirements also give rise to additional new requirements for reach to be built up.

Objectives for reach

Building reach should not be an end in itself. An “arbitrarily” built reach is not automatically suitable for every purpose. So there should be clear goals associated with building reach. Typical objecitves of a reach are for example

  • Change of attitude towards companies and products
  • Increase of a level of knowledge (use of products and services)
  • Customer loyalty
  • Generation of interested parties for products and services
  • Increasing the knowledge of the company (feedback, market insights)
  • etc.

If we build a reach for a specific purpose, we should not assume that this treach is suitable for other purposes in the same good way. Depending on the goal of the reach and the method of building the reach, we have gathered in this reach users with very specific expectations and demands. That these users might also be interested in other offers cannot be ruled out, but they are not automatically open to them to the same extent. This means that if we use reach in a different way, we may produce worse results and, in the worst case, irritate or even scare away the users of the reach.

Reach building

The methods used to build reach have a direct impact on the quality of the reach and, as a consequence, on the success of the social media strategy as a whole.

If we build reach, for example, by giving benefits, through sweepstakes or special offers, this becomes a property of reach. This means that the users who are part of this reach have a corresponding expectation of this reach. Any other behavior would thus be a surprise and would not meet the users’ expectations.

The consequence of this is that we methodically build our reach according to the goals we associate with that reach.

Methods for building reach: we need a UserBenefit that convinces users to become part of the reach. The UserBenefit can consist of content – own or third-party / user generated. The motivation to do so can be intrinsic or extrinsic and the UserBenefit can arise from participation or be enhanced by participation.

Definition of quantitatively required reach

How much reach we need depends not least on the respective competitive position. In order for us to have an impact, we fundamentally need reach. If the impact we want to achieve is a clearly defined one, this impact sets the framework from which the size as well as the quality of the reach we need to build and maintain is derived. Here are some explanatory examples

  • If we want to be perceived, we have to be among the leading providers in the respective topics. So in a digital competition we in social media have to aim for a top position – better the top position among the providers of social media offers in the respective topic. I.e. we have to achieve at least the same reach as the / the best competitor.
  • if we want to achieve certain effects, such as reaching prospective customers in a market, we have to use the same approach here.
  • when it comes to impacting your own customer groups, covering your own customer group is certainly a good approach, but it’s too short-sighted in the long run. Our customers are open to everyone on social media, including the competition. If we focus our social media reach only on reaching our own customers, we limit the impact of social media and forgo success.

At the risk of sounding scary or daunting, we need to be more competitive in social media than in any other competition. Therefore, an active, functioning reach on the level of one or the leading provider in social media on the respective topic is not replaceable or even dispensable.

For us, this can mean that we can quickly be overwhelmed with achieving the leading competitive position in all topics, at least in the entire breadth of our topics. Since resignation is not a valid solution, use the possible social media resources from user engagement in attractive participation opportunities on the one hand and act strategically by realizing your goals step by step on the other. Even the largest staircase can be climbed step by step.


This topic addresses the interactions between the reach strategy component and the other strategy components. Please note that there can also be interactions between more than 2 strategy components.

The strategy component reach generally has a particularly pronounced impact on

  • Competition: reach helps determine how competitive our social media strategy is.
  • UserBenefit: user benefit is important for building and maintaining reach. We check to what extent our UserBenefits contribute to building the required reach.
  • Content and topics: reach is built with through content and topics. We check to what extent the selected content and topics contribute to building reach and, if necessary, provide appropriate guidelines.
  • Channels: reach needs to be built in the social media channels that we and our target audiences want to use. These can be own and external channels. channels works or adjust our channels accordingly.
  • Resources: we need to ensure our reach is permanent. We are therefore examining whether we have the necessary resources available for this in the long term.
The general interactions of reach with other strategy components.
Reach – CorporateBenefit

The interactions between reach and corporate benefit shape the leverage of our corporate benefit. The greater the reach we achieve, the greater the business benefit can be in social media. Reach is not only the reach that we achieve directly, but also the reach that results from the participation of users, e.g. through recommendations.

Interactions between reach and usage formats

Building reach refers not only to channels but also to usage formats. In other words – we build reach in a specific usage format (in specific channels).

Interactions reach – target groups

Building reach generally refers to building qualified reach, i.e. a reach of users who can be counted among our markets / target groups. We should therefore not put this qualitative aspect on the back burner when it comes to building up reach, and should gear our reach-building measures strictly to the interests and user benefits of our target groups. Otherwise, we end up with a reach that cannot contribute to our company’s success in the desired way.

Interactions UserBenefit – reach

The UserBenefit also determines how attractive our social media offer / strategy is for our target groups. The development of a – relevant – reach depends strongly on the attractiveness of the user benefit (for our target groups).

Interactions reach – Contents and Topics

Content and topics designed accordingly have a significant impact on building reach and activating reach. This requires that the topics are focused on these tasks (structure, activity).

Interactions reach – Competition

Reach defines the leverage in competition. In other words, we need a correspondingly large and lasting reach in order to be able to establish and maintain a desired competitive position in the long term.

Interactions reach – motivation

Motivation is the basis for commitment. If we can engage our users with our social media offering, we can both build and actively maintain reach this way.

Interactions reach – participation

We are examining which opportunities for user participation are possible for building reach and in what form we have taken these opportunities into account in our strategy – in the strategy component Participation. The active and possibly also systematic participation of social media users supports the attractiveness and activity of a social media offering and thus also supports the build-up and activity of reach.

Interactions reach – communication

We look at the communication component of the strategy to see how it can contribute to reach (build and activity), both through content and through the formats and style of communication. The interactions between reach and communication are not as clearly tangible as those between content and reach, but appropriate communication with target audiences is a foundation for reach building and activity. If our target groups feel that they are being addressed in the wrong way, their willingness to make recommendations and to engage in activities is reduced.

Interactions reach – Channels

Reach takes place in channels and aims to enable impact in sufficient measure and in desired form. We should examine which channels from the perspectives

  • Target groups (channel preferences)
  • Motivation (ways of spontaneous and systematic motivation),
  • Participation (opportunities for involvement)
  • Contents and topics (content suitability)
  • Usage format (functional suitability)

are sufficiently suitable for reach building.

Interactions reach – resources

We are looking at resources to see if we can permanently secure the resource needs to create and maintain reach. That is, whether we already have or can procure the appropriate human, organizational, and professional resources to ensure reach.

Practice shows that this aspect is often underestimated. It is questionable, for example, whether know-how can be safeguarded in the long term if this know-how is held by just one person.

Interactions reach – Targets

Our reach has goals of its own to fulfill and also impacts the goals of other strategy components – such as channels, usage formats, target audiences. If our reach doesn’t work as expected, we’ll run into problems with the UserBenefit goals but also with other goals. This interaction certainly contributes to the fact that we pay appropriate attention to the strategy component reach as a scaling element for the success of our social media strategy.

Resources (type, for what)

To build reach, we need a tangible user benefit for potential reach participants and the resources to establish communication with users or at least reach them with our content. The resources required for this generally consist of content and the budgets/resources to generate this content and budgets to initially distribute this content.

Usage of the Strategy Component Reach

Content of the strategy component

The strategy component reach should include at least these points

  • The topics / subject areas for which we want to build reach and their description.
  • the measures we use to build up reach and keep it active.
  • the channels in which we want to build reach.
  • The goals for which we want to build reach and for which we want to use reach.
  • The benchmark for quantitative reach orientation (who we need to reach / exceed).
  • the user benefits we associate with reach.
  • the resources we need to build these reach.
  • The social media resources we can and do use for reach.
  • the interactions we need to be aware of.
  • the assumptions on which our targets and measures are based.
  • the conditions on which the measures are based.
  • the risks arising from the contents of the strategy component.

Derivation of the contents

  • Goals: we define the reach goals for the social media strategy especially for topics / themes and channels. Targets for reach are derived from the amount of impact we want to achieve(quantitative targets) and, for example, the behavior or change we want to effect in that reach and the competitive situation we want to compete in(quantitative reach). Reach targets should always refer to active reaches, i.e., reaches that are actively used.
  • Topics and subject areas: we define the topics and subject areas for which we want to build reach. We take this content from the strategy component Topics and Subject Areas. This, in turn, is fed by the company’s business model as well as its corporate objectives, i.e. ultimately the markets and needs as well as the company’s performance.
  • Methods and measures for reach building and activation: we define which methods we will use to build and keep active the reach for the individual topics and subject areas as well as their channels.
  • Channels: we define in which social media channels we build the reach for the individual topics and subject areas. To do this, define what reach we want to build in the respective channels.
  • Resources: we estimate the resource requirements for building reach based on the defined methods and measures.
  • Interactions: When deriving the content of strategy components, we pay attention to the interactions between the individual strategy components and pay special attention here to the particularly pronounced interactions mentioned above.
  • Assumptions: we list the assumptions for the objectives and measures in the strategy inventory.
  • Prerequisites: we list the prerequisites required for the strategy component reach.
  • Risks: we note the identifiable risks associated with the content of this strategy component. A typical risk lies in the method and measures used to build reach. If this is done through content and topics that are different from subsequent use, reach activity is at risk. If we focus only on building reach and neglect to keep that reach active, the risk of inactivity in our reach increases. If we have built a reach for heterogeneous user groups, the risk is high that our reach will quickly become inactive, depending on how the relative relevance for the individual groups decreases.