4.2 Strategy Component UserBenefits: Basics

Reading time: approx. 18 minutes

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

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

  • Basics: here you will learn the basics of the strategy component and the derivation of the content.
  • 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

  • Understand UserBenefit as a component of social media strategy.
  • be able to derive the contents of the strategy component from the defined strategy and the contents of other strategy components.

Basics

UserBenefit runs through the entire strategy development process because it is a central component of strategy development.

At the level of social media performance potential, we have dealt with user benefits and their sources; at the level of social media options for action, user benefits and their impact play an important formative role; and in the definition of social media strategy, they are central.

The strategy component UserBenefit maps this meaning and carries the UserBenefit and its contents into the daily work.

Definition of the strategy component

UserBenefit in the potential-based strategy model for social media is the benefit provided to the user from and through the social media strategy. Always make sure that the user benefit is not confused or mixed up with the benefit from products and services or the company benefit.

Types of UserBenefits

The type of user benefit has broad implications for the content as well as the success of the strategy. The respective UserBenefit can – and often will – consist of a combination of different utility gardens.

Basically, we distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic user benefits.

  • Monetary, economic benefit – extrinsic: The social media user has an economic benefit as a result of the social media strategy. For example, through perks that others do not receive. If the focus is on economic benefit, a sender-recipient relationship is usually sufficient. One Audience is already enough for this.
  • Status and ego – intrinsic: The benefit of the social media user is recognition, a status and a confirmation of one’s ego. This can be done through public recognition, public prominence, or confirmation of special status. This is based on a more or less elitist claim. On the one hand, this reduces the range, on the other hand, it can serve as an incentive for many. Think of forms of competition on an athletic or spiritual level and the recognition earned therein. In order to sufficiently satisfy status and ego as user benefits, a comprehensive form of self-presentation and the clearest possible forms of recognition by other social media users are mandatory. It is in the nature of things that this corresponds more to the usage format of a community and a network than an audience. So, when we think about user benefits that can be attributed to the category of status and ego, let’s keep in mind that we need the usage format of community. In an Audience we will hardly be able to build on this effect.
  • Community and belonging: it is human nature that we like to feel we belong to a community. We are, after all, social beings. The desire to belong to a group is individual, as is the question of which group a user wants to feel part of. In this UserBenefit, especially the visibility of recognition and feedback is essential for success. The community is indispensable here as a usage format.
  • Competence, empowerment – intrinsic: The social media strategy empowers users to do something that would otherwise have been more difficult or impossible for them to do. In a community or individually, the social media user acquires skills – whether technical, scientific, economic or practical. Imagine a company producing equipment for the home gardening enthusiast and the social media benefit is in the know how provided by companies as well as other gardening enthusiasts. In principle, all usage formats are possible for this UserBenefit, whereby each specific UserBenefit that particularly benefits from community speaks in favor of the community format.
  • Self-actualizationintrinsic: The social media strategy facilitates or enables a form of self-actualization. For example, in the form of a framework or platform where the individual can realize himself in which he receives an audience or support for his goal or in which he can collaborate with others for a common goal. Both audience and community formats are possible here, depending on the specific user benefit.
  • Individual benefit: The benefit for the social media user is limited to one person. I.e. the individual benefit does not grow or change in which others also apply this benefit. Individual benefits do not require mandatory networking with other social media users. So if the benefit is content, an audience is sufficient. If contact, collaboration, or feedback from other social media users is required, an audience tends not to be able to provide this.
  • Collective benefit: The benefit is designed for a group or community. Participation in the community – in some form – is a prerequisite for benefit. The real benefit comes from collaborative behavior. This user benefit requires an appropriately designed community.

Significance UserBenefit as a Strategy Component

Strategic importance of user benefits

The UserBenefit is the success engine of our social media strategy, because it ensures that users are interested in our strategy and its content and, if designed accordingly, become active in it. It is therefore a key success factor of a social media strategy.

The UserBenefit ensures and shapes the attractiveness of a social media offering for the user and competes with the UserBenefit of performance and attention competitors

If there is no convincing and competitive user benefit, our social media strategy is unlikely to be successful.

Since UserBenefit has a direct impact on other strategy components, we treat it as a strategy component as well. Not least in order to be able to recognize and shape the mutual influence with other contents of our strategy more clearly.

Strategic insights for the userBenefits of our strategy

The options for action for the UserBenefits show which possible and meaningful UserBenefits we can use for our social media strategy and what the competitive situation looks like for this / these UserBenefits.

This allows us to identify potential strengths and weaknesses of our social media strategy in advance – before we go to market with it – and shape our strategy accordingly. Strategy development based on weak user benefits is not recommended.

If we are unable to deploy a more attractive user benefit than our competitors, we must try to compensate for this with other strategy components that have a high impact on the success of the strategy. The strategy components motivation and participation are recommended for this purpose.

Practical use of the strategy component

In addition to the strategic importance of the strategy component in strategy development, the user benefit has the same importance for day-to-day work in social media. It should serve us as an aid and yardstick in our daily work by checking all activities for their user benefits – in accordance with the user benefits defined in the strategy. Let’s not underestimate the danger of slipping into a more or less pronounced arbitrariness with our social media activities by primarily orienting ourselves to daily news. This comes at the expense of the effectiveness of our strategy and social media success. The following tips should be considered when developing the user value of your social media strategy:

  • the UserBenefit can vary from topic to topic or even differ fundamentally. This is not least due to the fact that user benefits stand in the context of the respective subject area. This can lead to working with more than one user benefit. This enables us to offer a more attractive range of products and services and – temporarily – set ourselves apart from the competition.
  • In a topic that is about a service, a UserBenefit may be different than in a topic that is about a need, want, or problem.
  • we can use different UserPurposes in parallel if necessary.
  • Different competitors may deploy different UserBenefits, especially if their desired business Benefit differs and they position their UserBenefit close to the business Benefit.
  • UserBenefit can include a social compente in which the benefit can be shared with other users or the benefit can increase through other users. Socially based user benefits can establish a network effect or be used to spread and strengthen relationships.

Requirements for the UserBenefit strategy component

Contents of the strategy component

The UserBenefit strategy component of the company defines the following content:

  • Definition: we describe the intended user benefit(s) of our social media strategy, i.e. what benefit, what impact, by what means will be delivered.
  • Measures: we describe with which measures the user benefit is created.
  • Resources: we describe the identifiable resource requirements for the UserBenefit – in particular the technical, financial and human resources that are prerequisites for the UserBenefit.
  • Sizes and KPIs: we define the target sizes and the KPIs for the strategy component (e.g. coverage of the target group by UserBenefit, Utilization, Impact CompanyBenefit).
  • Target group relevance: we describe the target group relevance of the user benefit and its attractiveness for the respective target groups. To do this, we define which key interests and needs our user benefits address.
  • Competitive effect: we describe the competitiveness of the UserBenefit – both in relation to performance and attention competitors, i.e. whether we can bring about competitive advantages, a leading market position, a tie with existing competition or merely a weaker position in competition through the UserBenefit in the respective topic area(s).
  • Usage format: we describe the usage formats that are required or suitable for the user benefit.
  • Interactions: we describe critical interactions with other strategy components that negatively impact user benefits and solutions.
  • BusinessBenefit: we describe how the UserBenefit contributes to the BusinessBenefit. Whether this is the case directly – i.e. the user benefit has a causal effect on the company benefit – or whether this is more of an indirect nature, in which the user benefit builds up a basis that subsequently has a positive effect on the company benefit via further processes.
  • Assumptions: we describe assumptions on which the UserBenefit is based. This mainly concerns assumptions about the effect of user benefits in the target groups and in the competition.
  • Prerequisites: we describe prerequisite on which the UserBenefit is based. This includes above all technical, personnel and conceptual requirements.
  • Goals: we describe the qualitative and quantitative goals of the UserBenefit and the goals to be achieved with the UserBenefit. This applies above all to the extent and intensity with which our user benefits are accepted by users and their impact on the competition. User benefit goals can range from generating attention to systematic participation.
  • Resources: we describe the identifiable set of resources required for the UserBenefit, in particular the technical, financial, and human resources that are prerequisites for the UserBenefit.
  • Risks: we describe identifiable risks that arise / can arise from the defined user benefits.

Requirements for the quality of the strategy component UserBenefits

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 the strategy component UserBenefits

In principle, we take the content of the UserBenefit strategy component from two sources.

  • Interests and needs of usersBenefits: If a UserBenefit does not match the interests and needs of a social media user, the likelihood of gaining their attention and support is low. Deriving the user benefit from the user’s interests therefore requires in-depth knowledge of the interests of our users (target groups).
  • Competitive situation: if our UserBenefit is not competitive, there is little chance that we will be sufficiently successful in the competition – even if the UserBenefit meets the interests and needs of the users.

Strategic risks in the design of the strategy component

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 service without high interest for the user (low interest products).

Processes for the definition / 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 also influenced 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. We determine the competitive performance / competitive quality of the user benefit at the level of the topics of the social media strategy. 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.

Strategic note: when we determine the competitive quality of a UserBenefit at the topic level, we also recognize with which UserBenefit we can be how successful (through this UserBenefit) in which topic / in which topic area. We therefore identify possible weaknesses in our strategy before we go to market with it. Problem solving: we can try to compensate for these weaknesses either by adjusting the user benefits or by compensating strengths in other strategy components.

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.

Platform benefits and user benefits

External social media platforms create their own user benefits for the users of their platform. For the sake of simplicity, we call this user benefit of the platform the platform benefit. For the users of the platform, this user benefit is the decisive reason why they use this platform.

For companies that use an external social media platform, the platform benefit is relevant because it defines not least the expectations that the user has of the social media platform. The user benefit employed by a company that uses this platform for its own purposes is thus in competition with the platform benefit of the social media platform. When choosing the user benefit of the company in the external social media platform, we should take this competition into account and keep in mind

  • that our user benefit should hardly be identical or largely congruent with the platform benefit of the external social media platform. If this were the case, the user would have less incentive to engage with the social media offering.
  • that our user benefit is compatible with the platform benefit. A UserBenefit that is not compatible with the platform is not useful, because the users on the platform have chosen it based on their UserBenefit.
  • that our UserBenefit has an autonomy that is so attractive to the user of the platform that he engages on our social media offer.

If we operate on external platforms, a large number of other social media providers are active there with their respective user benefits. The user benefits of our offering must also be able to hold their own in this competitive environment. If this is not the case – due to competition and the possible user benefits for us – the environment of the external platform can more than compensate for the advantage of the existing users.

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.