4.4 Strategy Component Usage Formats

Reading time: approx. 30 minutes

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

The section on the strategy component usage formats 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

  • Provide usage formats as part of the social media strategy.
  • be able to derive the contents of the strategy component from the defined strategy and the contents of other strategy components.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Basics

Definition of the strategy component usage formats

Usage formats are the conceptual-organizational form in which social media is used. We know Audience, Community and Social Network as usage formats. Usage formats can be combined.

Social media usage formats stand for certain types of social media usage – each associated with specific characteristics, an individual performance potential, and an individual competitive quality.

Content of the strategy component Usage formats

In the Usage Formats strategy component, we define the usage format(s) of our social media strategy, define what the structures of the usage format are, what the resulting requirements are for the content of other strategy components / the interactions with other strategy components, summarize assumptions and prerequisites on which the decision for this usage format is based, and formulate the resources we need to successfully implement the usage format.

The core objective of this strategy component is the realization of the use format. Accordingly, the resulting goals are also derived, which help determine the content of the other strategy components due to the effects of the selected usage format.

For example, reach: deciding on the usage format determines how we build reach for our social media strategy. Building reach for an audience works differently than building reach for a community.

Example content and topics: the content and topics are handled according to the usage format. When we use the Audience usage format for a topic area, we address that topic area by providing our Audience with content related to that topic area. If we use a community, we initiate the exchange between the users of the community on this topic. In a (thematic) social network, we initiate personal connections between users about this topic.

Example social media channels: the requirements for the performance of social media channels for our strategy results in large part from the requirements that must be met for the success of the usage format. In an audience, it must be possible to distribute the appropriate content to its recipients; in a community, users must be networked and an exchange must be enabled and promoted.

Importance of usage formats as a strategy component

Strategic importance of usage formats

The usage formats influence the possible outcome, the impact of our social media strategy and also the resources required. Thus, the decision on usage formats has a special formative effect on the strategy and its success. In addition, the usage format impacts other components of our strategy in several ways – be it channels, content and topics, user benefits, motivation and participation.

These effects and interactions become clearer when we explicitly define the usage formats as a strategy component in the strategy. At the same time, this makes the deficits and problems of a strategy in its development clearer. We thus avoid problems that we might otherwise only identify later in the market.

Practical benefits of the strategy component Usage formats

The strategy component specifies the goals for the individual social media usage formats for the day-to-day work in social media and makes clear the interaction / impact of these goals in the social media strategy. We can therefore easily identify the goals of a social media usage format at any time and check our activities in day-to-day business to see how far they meet these goals.

Derivation of the contents of the strategy component Usage formats

The practical derivation of the contents of the strategy component usage formats is dealt with in the strategy definition. In order to derive the usage formats of a social media strategy, it is necessary to know the performance potential of the individual usage formats. The performance potential of the individual usage formats is explained in the chapter Social Media Performance Potential under the respective usage formats.

The basis for deriving the usage formats is the suitability of the topics for the individual usage formats and the suitability of the usage formats for the user benefits. This means that the suitability of the usage formats for the respective topics and the suitability of the usage formats for the user benefits are the main criteria for determining the usage formats. This also defines the position of the usage formats within the strategy definition and strategy components.

Requirement for the content of the strategy component Usage formats

The strategy component usage formats should describe at least the following content:

  • Available usage formats (social media affinity)
  • Input from other strategy components and from social media affinity markets, competition, business model.
  • Strategic decision for a usage format / for usage formats
  • Objectives of the selected usage format(s)
  • Social media channels in which the usage format is to be implemented.
  • identifiable resource requirements from the selected usage format(s).

Usage

Initial situation

Let’s start with the information base. We know

  • the options for action we have for the topics in our strategy / strategy version.
  • the social media affinity of the individual topics / subject areas.
  • the priorities of the issues / topic areas for the company and further priorities / further focus for our strategy.
  • the competitive situation in the individual topics / subject areas.

We have the necessary strategic know how. In particular we know

  • the potential of social media as a gamechanger for business models as well as for competitive situations and are able to use and shape it.
  • the performance potential of social media as a whole and can tap into it practically.
  • the strategy components in the potential-based strategy model and their interaction and interdependencies and can design these strategy components to be compatible in terms of content.

Our social media expertiseenables us to

  • Identify the possible contents of the core strategy components (user benefits, usage formats, participation, motivation, and channels) and assess their performance potential in competitive situations.
  • practically design and implement this content and determine the requirements for competencies and resources.

Our market expertise – of the entire company – enables us to assess the expected / probable competitive reactions to the contents of our strategy.

In deriving the content of the individual strategy components, we take into account

  • the priorities / focus of the strategy / strategy version.
  • the requirements that result from the contents of strategy components for other strategy components,
  • the interactions between the contents of the individual strategy components.

If one of these conditions is not met, we can assume a problematic starting situation for the strategy definition, which not only makes the definition of the content more difficult but also leads to a higher qualitative risk for the strategy.

Content of the strategy component Usage formats

The strategy component usage formats should describe the following content:

  • Available (generally applicable) usage formats.
  • Suitability of the usage formats for the topics of the strategy.
  • Suitability of the usage formats for the user benefit(s) of the strategy.
  • Usage formats used (including social media affinity): we record which usage formats we use where (topic areas) and how (conception and implementation) and justify this decision.
  • Description of requirements from other strategy components.
  • Measures: we list the measures required for the selected usage formats. This includes, in particular, the implementation of the user benefits in the usage formats, any planned motivation systems and participation offerings as well as communication functions and, last but not least, the corporate benefits that we want to generate from the usage format.
  • Competition: we describe the competitive situation in which we operate and the competitive position we want to achieve in these usage formats.
  • Resource requirements: we note the identifiable resource requirements for the selected usage formats in the intended use
  • Objectives of the selected usage format(s): we record the objectives and performance of the selected usage formats in the market and competition as for the business model.
  • Social media channels in which the usage format is to be implemented. We also record here the requirements from the usage formats for the social media channels.
  • important interactions with other strategy components
  • Assumptions: we note assumptions on which our decision for the usage formats and their success is based. This also includes the assessment of competitive behavior.
  • Prerequisites: we hold indispensable prerequisites for the use of the usage formats.

Determination of the usage format(s)

Input for the derivation

We derive the usage format(s) of our social media strategy based on

  • Social media affinity market: from the analysis of the social media affinity of our markets, we know the possible usage formats for our markets and their topics.
  • Requirements / preferences Business model: from the analysis of the business model, we know the requirements / preferences for usage formats.
  • Competition: from the analysis of the competitive situation, we know the usage formats that are required for our strategy to be competitive.
  • Corporate objectives: corporate objectives relevant to social media and their consequences for the use of the usage formats.

from.

Work steps

The subsequent steps are:

Step 1: We record the subject areas for which we are looking for suitable usage formats. Source: Thematic areas of our social media strategy (5.1)

Step 2: we determine which usage formats are generally suitable for these topics. Source: Action options market (3.1)

Step 3:we decide which usage formats offer us the most opportunities in the market. The criterion for this is the advantages of the respective usage format in the market and competition. For this purpose, we use the input from the action options Market (3.1) and Competition (3.3). In our usage format, we should have a real chance of achieving a – preferably the – leading position in and with this usage format in the respective topic area.

Step 4: we decide which usage formats best suit our business objectives and our company. This decision is based on the company’s goals in a narrower sense as well as on the company’s opportunities and priorities.

Decisions
  • Selection of topics.
  • Evaluate the general suitability of the usage formats.
  • Opportunity Assessment of Usage Formats.
  • Selection of usage formats for our social media strategy
Involved

Social media management (implementation) in coordination of the results with those responsible for the market and business model. Because of the impact of the usage format on the content of the overall strategy, broad agreement on the decision to use one or more usage formats is recommended.

Process result
  • Preferred social media usage formats of our strategy for the individual topic areas of our strategy (strategy definition phase).
  • Content of the strategy component Usage formats (defined strategy / strategy version).
Use of the result
  • Basis for the derivation of strategies
  • Evaluation Strategy option / strategy alternative
  • Examination of interactions within the strategy
  • Requirements for social media channels
Sources
  • Social media options for action Market and competition
  • Thematic areas of our social media strategy

Competition and competitive situation

In the section Competition and Competitive Situation, we describe the competition we enter with our usage formats and how we intend to shape this competition. In other words, we examine how competitive we are with our intended usage formats in the current competitive situation and describe our options for shaping competition via the usage formats to our advantage.

Input

We know competition (attention and performance) and the competitive situation we are entering (or in which we already find ourselves) with our usage formats from the analysis of the competitive situation in the subject areas and our options for action for the usage formats.

Work steps

Step 1 Structural competitive advantages from usage format(s): We answer whether our usage format is fundamentally more powerful than that of the competition, equally competitive or less competitive in the system comparison of usage formats. This test does not apply if only one usage format is possible in a market/competitive situation.

As a reminder, we treat equal usage formats as fundamentally equally competitive. Different competitiveness thus results from the use of different usage formats in competition (attention and performance competition) or from significantly different implementation of the same usage format.

Significance: competitive advantages based on the usage format are structural in nature. In the case of structural competitive advantages, a competitor uses a more powerful usage format than other competitors. Structural competitive advantages from different usage formats are difficult to offset.

Example: If a provider uses a community and all other providers use audiences, the provider with the community has a structural competitive advantage in that in an – active – community the users themselves contribute to the success of the usage format. A different user benefit is created in the community than in an audience. This other user benefit cannot be created in an audience. If users contribute sufficiently to success in the community and the user benefits from the community are attractive to users, providers with audiences must live with a permanent competitive disadvantage or adapt their usage format to this situation and become active with a community themselves, if this is still feasible in the market.

Result: on the basis of the overview of the usage formats in the competition, we recognize whether we can build up competitive advantages purely via the intended usage format(s). Competitive advantages across different usage formats are sustainable in nature.

Step 2 Competitive advantages from the individual design of usage format(s): in this step, we examine whether we can build up competitive advantages through the individual design of the selected usage formats.

Explanation of individual design: by individual design we mean how we design the usage format conceptually and technically. So it’s about conceptual design including design and usability and the technical functions, but not about the content that takes place in the usage format.

  • To this end, we examine which weaknesses are discernible in the implementation of the respective usage format of our competitors and whether we can use these weaknesses in our implementation to our advantage.
  • At the same time, we examine how sustainable possible competitive advantages from individual weaknesses in implementation by competitors are.

Result: on the basis of the overview of the implementation of the usage formats and the recognizable weaknesses of competitors, we recognize whether and where we can build up competitive advantages via the implementation of the usage format and how sustainable / lasting these competitive advantages are.

Step 3 Competitive advantages from the individual application of usage format(s): in this step we check whether we can build up competitive advantages via the individual application of the selected usage formats. We are in the same usage formats.

  • Audience: We are able to generate competitive advantages over other providers purely through the quality or quantity of content and the resulting user benefits.
  • Community: we are able to generate a user benefit through the community of users, which gives us a competitive advantage over other providers.

Explanation individual application: individual application stands for the content usage of the format. It is not about the way platforms or functions are designed but about their practical use.

Examples of individual design and individual application
  • in an audience, we enable users to rate and recommend posts via corresponding functions = individual design of the audience: what we do or enable.
  • in an audience, we focus on content that offers users a concrete, immediately recognizable benefit = individual application; how we do or enable something.
Result

Summary Result and findings: we recognize whether, how and to what extent we can build competitive advantages via the usage formats and shape the competition in our favor.

Decisions

No decisions are to be made in the analysis of competition and the competitive situation itself. We check how a possible decision for a certain usage format would affect the competition. The result, in turn, can influence decisions about usage formats such as other content in the social media strategy design.

Involved

Social Media Management

Use of the result
  • Basis for the strategy definition
Sources
  • Options for action Utilization formats / subject areas
  • Competitive analyses Subject areas

Goals Strategy component Usage formats

In this part of the strategy component, we record the goals which market position we can and want to achieve in the selected usage formats in direct competition – with the other (same and different) usage formats within the selected topic areas.

Input

Competitive situation in the subject areas

Work steps

Analysis of the options for action in the subject areas and the respective competitive situations.

Decisions

Realizability of the leading competitive position in the respective subject areas with the selected usage formats – permanently and across all usage formats.

Involved

Social Media Management

Result

Assessing the suitability of the selected usage formats within the relevant subject areas to establish a sustainable leading competitive position.

Use of the result

Review of the decision on the selected usage formats if a leading competitive position is thus questionable.

Sources

Options for action in the subject areas and competitive situation

Measures for the usage format(s)

Input

We derive the measures required for the usage format in terms of content from the type of usage format as well as from its competitive situation and the goals we want to realize with the usage format.

We divide the measures into measures for setting up the usage format and measures for operating the usage format. In this way, we separate the measures into one-off measures and measures to be implemented on a regular or permanent basis.

Work steps

We distinguish the measures according to their affiliation (structure, operation). Within this affiliation

Work step 1 – Ensure social media competence for the usage format:

Each social media usage format requires specific competencies for building and operating the usage format. This specific competence therefore includes the ability to design and implement a specific usage format according to the requirements of the company and the management competence for this usage format in the implementation. Once the usage format or formats of our strategy have been determined, we check which competencies are already available for this and which still need to be supplemented.

Understand competence as more than just knowing the basics. Practical experience both in the development and realization of social media offerings and platforms with the corresponding usage format as well as concrete management experience with the respective usage format are strongly recommended.

Work step 2 Measures for setting up the usage format:

Concept: we need a well thought-out concept for our social media offer based on the respective usage offer, which corresponds to the user benefit, the company benefit as well as the requirements of the competition and includes the intended content from motivation and participation.

Platform: we need clear requirements for the social media platform on which our social media offering can be successfully deployed with the selected usage format. This includes at least a rough specification of the functions, processes and relationships that can be performed by the platforms.

Management: we define the management structure for the operation of the usage format and its platform, with the functions of management and the competences and resources required for it. In the functions we also pay attention to an information and control system via KPIs to ensure success in the market.

Maintenance: we define the measures to ensure performance and timeliness, which concern both the technical-conceptual side and the coverage and relationships in the usage format.

Work step 3 – Measures for the operation of the usage format:

Platform management: Here we note measures that concern the management of the platform. So the technical side and the further development of the platform on conceptual and technical functions. These are, for example, the maintenance and updating of functions, the development of new or supplementary functions. Depending on whether we are dealing with a manageable audience or a diverse community, this scope of work can be very manageable or very comprehensive. When taking these measures, it makes sense to think about the resources and the necessary competencies that result from these requirements.

User management (community management, audience management): It is well known that communities require efficient user and community management. But audiences should also be managed appropriately. While in Community the focus is on keeping users active and providing them with a community that is useful for their purposes, in Audience the focus is on the user value we create through content. The basic performance – ensuring a high level of user benefit – differs primarily due to the peculiarities of the usage formats. The management of community and audiences inevitably differs as well.

Here, too, an early look at the necessary resources and competencies is advisable. First, because we need to designate the necessary resources for the strategy for its approval, and second, because we need to secure the necessary resources in a timely manner.

Content management: Managing content for an audience is not the same as managing the audience. Content management includes the conceptual support of the content framework – i.e. from which topics content is developed, as well as the production of this content and the management of its impact. Fortunately, the effort required for content is increasingly less underestimated in companies because it is growing significantly. Even if we already have experience in estimating the resources required for content needs, we should also derive our assumptions about resource needs from the perspective of content originality. It is relatively inexpensive to use interchangeable content and correspondingly much more costly to produce originals that fulfill a clearly defined user benefit and enable competitive advantages via this approach. So make sure that before defining possible resources, the requirements for the quantity and quality of the content are clear first and enable a competitive advantage.

Activity and timeliness (outreach and community): we define outreach activity and timeliness requirements (for both community and audience) in outreach goals and measures.

Organizational structure and processes Management: it is recommended to define the main processes of each usage format and their procedures. This facilitates the assessment of resource requirements for management services. Think here also about the information systems for the state of the usage format (i.e. how the audience or community is being used by its users and how this contributes to the company’s success).

Decisions
  • the usage format(s) used
  • Performance profile of the usage formats used (conceptual-technical)
Involved
  • Social Media Management
  • Possibly IT area or IT service provider
Result

Overview of the most important measures for the operation of the built usage format in his/her platforms.

Use of the result

Relevant to assessing the need for resources and competencies and overall effort from the strategy.

Resource requirements of the usage format(s)

Input

We work out the resource requirements from our usage formats from the measures required to implement them – i.e., to set up and operate the respective usage formats.

Work steps

We define which resource requirements arise from the selected usage format(s). To do this, we structure the possible resource requirements and derive the respective demand based on the specific usage format.

  • technical requirements: Web platform and programming, technical connection to external platforms and company processes, and the technical requirements from the management of the platforms. For Audiences, this is the platform for content distribution. When using our own blog, we then find the resources we need to design, set up and maintain the blog here. In the case of a community, this is analogously the platform on which the community takes place, i.e. the software, the technical basis and the resources for operating the platform. It is recommended to think about resources for maintenance and further development. Platforms must continue to develop in order to remain competitive.
  • conceptual requirements: Here we need resources for the development of design, content and functions of the usage format, as well as for the connection of the platform(s) used to other platforms and company processes. To ensure that the platform(s) and the respective usage format remain competitive, resources for their further development must also be considered here. For example, a regular review for competitiveness and performance is recommended. In addition to the conceptual requirements of the platform(s) of the actual usage format, we should consider the conceptual requirements for the management of platforms and usage formats.
  • Personnel requirements: Competencies and resources for development, construction and management of the usage format, user management.
  • Financial resources: technical infrastructure, staff skills and resources, budgets for outreach and content.

Note: successful management of platforms and usage formats requires an informative foundation and the design capabilities that build on it. We need a system that shows us how “healthy” our audience or community is and we need tools that allow us to actively manage the development of our usage formats and their platforms. Both are associated not only with a need for human resources but also with a need for conceptual and technical services. As already mentioned, it must be remembered that these two requirements are not unique. As with operating a fleet of vehicles, we should not neglect the need for regular maintenance, care and renewal.

Decisions

The decisions for the resource requirements from the measures result from the planned measures. That is, once we have decided on certain measures, we define the foreseeable resource requirements of those measures. If the resource requirements of these measures are significantly above a feasible limit, we must examine which measures and results we can do without without jeopardizing the quality of the strategy as a whole.

Involved
  • Social Media Management
  • affected functional areas (about the requirements, e.g. IT area, about the measures and their effects, e.g. sales and customer service).
Result

Projected resource requirements from the measures for the usage format(s).

Use of the result

Relevant to the viability of the usage format, the viability of the strategy, and the acquisition of the necessary resources for the strategy.

Assumptions Strategy component Usage formats

Input

The contents of the strategy component are subject to more or less comprehensive assumptions, which we should recognize and record so that we can identify problems from misjudgements or changes in good time.

Work steps

To do this, we examine in which areas of the strategy component we consciously or less consciously make assumptions.

  • Measures for building the platform
  • Measures for the operation of the usage format in the platforms
  • Resource requirements for building platforms and operating the usage format, both in terms of quality and the need for specific skills.
Involved
  • Social Media Management
  • functional areas affected
Result

Overview of assumptions underlying the content of the strategy component.

Use of the result

Information and regular review for changes.

Requirements Strategy component Usage formats

Input

Here we note prerequisites that must be in place for the content of the strategy component to be realized.

Work steps

Prerequisites are conditions that must be present, or are present, and that we assume will continue to exist. Prerequisites may be created by us or by third parties. The essential criterion is their impact on the success of the strategy component. To do this, we examine in which areas of the strategy component we consciously or less consciously assume prerequisites.

  • Measures for building the platform: if we build our usage formats on a technical platform, a typical prerequisite is that we assume that this platform will be available in the required form for the foreseeable future.
  • Measures for the operation of the usage format in the platforms
  • Resource requirements for building platforms and operating the usage format, both in terms of quality and the need for specific skills. a typical prerequisite is that we can permanently maintain the resources required for operations in terms of volume and quality. This is relevant because the loss of certain competencies can quickly be compensated only after a longer period of time. During this time, a basis for the success of the usage format is missing, or this success can be jeopardized. So if a key competency is only present in one person in the company, its availability can be a prerequisite for success.
  • Suitability of usage formats for subject areas: our assessment of the suitability of usage formats for certain subject areas can be based on established facts or more on assumptions and / or an actual situation. In the latter two cases, we consciously or unconsciously assume that the assumptions are true and do not change.
Decisions

Determine what conditions you should keep in mind to avoid being surprised by changes.

Involved

Social Media Management

Result

Check or warning list

Use of the result

Regularly review prerequisites for changes.

Insights for strategy development

  • General findings: the priorities of the topic areas provide guidance for our strategy development. We can identify possible weaknesses in our own strategy or in the competition from the current processing / social media activities. We make sure that our social media strategy is based on the topics that are crucial in the market and in competition.
  • Market – business model: If social media topics that are relevant to one of our markets do not exist in our business model, we are dealing with a conscious or unconscious deficit. We should examine whether we want to include the topic areas not yet addressed in the business model in our social media strategy – and in the market cultivation in the business model. If we are dealing with high-priority issues, there is an urgent need for action.
  • Business model – competition: If topics for social media that are used by the competition are missing from our business model module, we should check whether we have deliberately avoided these topic areas and whether we want to leave these fields – and the markets behind them – to the competition in social media. If we are dealing with high-priority issues, there is an urgent need for action.
  • Market – Competition: If a market topic area is not being addressed by our competitors even though these competitors are active in this market, these competitors are not using social media for this market. This may be a conscious decision or an unconscious relinquishment, or the subject area may be to be addressed later. We have found at least one starting point in the competition, which we are looking at more closely and checking whether we are interested in this topic area in social media. If we are dealing with topics of higher priority, the chance to generate a competitive advantage – of a temporary or longer-term nature – is all the more interesting.

Benefits for strategy development

  • At the same time, we use the usage formats to define the part of the social media performance format that we want to use in our strategy.
  • We also define the types of business benefits we want to achieve.
  • At the same time, we also use the topic areas to define our competitive design.
  • The usage formats result in concrete effects on the content of other strategy components, in particular social media channels, communication, corporate benefits.

practical hints

Usage formats are highly relevant to the playing field and content of our social media strategy. From them come requirements for most of the other strategy components. The quality of our decisions is critical to success. The usage formats

The quality of the information base on which we define our usage formats is correspondingly significant. If our information base shows weaknesses, this results in a much higher risk for our social media strategy. At the same time, the decision on usage formats is a structural decision and thus cannot be corrected in the short term. This is one of the reasons why it is important that all involved and affected areas of the company support this decision. Accordingly, it is highly advisable to incorporate the company’s collective knowledge into these decisions and to document it accordingly.

Interactions of the strategy component Usage formats

The chosen usage format has an impact on other strategy components as each usage format represents a certain scope of social media services. Therefore, the strategy component usage format has a defining role within the social media strategy components (and should therefore be defined early on).

Reach and usage formats

Building reach can be more costly or time-consuming in the respective usage formats, and securing the activity of an existing reach is also influenced by the usage format. Overall, the interactions between reach and usage formats are not as intensive as, for example, between usage formats and channels.

Target groups and usage formats

There are interactions between target groups and usage formats, especially if the target groups explicitly have special preferences for individual usage formats. However, this is rather the exception. As a rule, the preferences of target groups for usage formats tend to be influenced by the interests and topics of the target groups.

Channels and usage formats

Channels and usage formats therefore interact particularly intensively because not all (external) social media channels are suitable for all usage formats. We are quickly faced with the question here of which strategy component we give priority to in a conflict between indispensable external platform (such as Facebook can be) and the usage format community (which still cannot be sufficiently realized in Facebook).

If we decide on the channel, the external channel defines an essential component and success factor of our social media strategy.

If we prefer a usage format that is not provided by external platforms, we have to connect the external platform (which we do not want to/can not do without) to the platform with the required usage format. This in both technical and conceptual terms. This requires the competence for appropriate technical solutions and the interfaces of the external platform (in the example Facebook).

Communication and usage formats

Usage formats have a formative influence on the nature of communication.

  • In Audiences, we are dealing with sender-receiver communication. Communication among users is marginal. The communication part of the sender (company) is not individual.
  • In the network, we are primarily dealing with an individual exchange between users.
  • In communities, the focus is on communication between users. The company has the task of enabling, facilitating and motivating this communication.

Topics and content and usage formats

Of the strategy component themes and content, there are stronger interactions via the source of the content. If user-generated content is to be possible or is the primary source of content, this has clear requirements for the usage formats.

User benefits and usage formats

UserBenefits may require or prefer a particular usage format.

If the user benefit is primarily based on content provided by the company, an audience is sufficient. If the user benefit is based on content provided by other users (user-generated content), this leads to different requirements for the usage format. If networking and communication between users is an essential part of the user benefit, the community usage format is required.

Motivation and usage formats

Motivation must be technically possible. Be it in the form of individual communication, be it in the form of awards that have to be publicized or be it in the form of software or user-based motivation systems. These requirements must be met by the usage format (and the corresponding channel).

Participation and usage formats

Participation can have an influence on the usage formats, especially if the participation of the users consists of networking and exchange among each other (usage format community).

Competition and usage formats

Usage formats stand for a specific performance potential – also in the competition of social media offerings. Therefore, the selected usage format automatically results in an influence on the competitiveness of the strategy and thus also on the strategy component competition. The competitive situation, in turn, may require the use of certain usage formats to be competitive / more competitive.

An example of this is the combination of Audience and Community where Audience would be sufficient in principle. The integration of user generated content – and the function of a community for users who produce content – can create a competitive advantage over a pure audience.

Resources and usage formats

The resource requirements of user formats differ on a technical level, in terms of conceptual requirements and in terms of the qualitative and quantitative demands on social media know-how. There are major differences in management between audiences and communities, for example. If you design and operate a perfect audience, you can easily fail with a community, as the requirements are completely different here.

Goals and usage formats

The installation and operation of a usage format represents a structural goal, and their activity represents a permanent goal.

Objectives of the strategy component Usage formats

The decision on usage formats results from the social media affinity of the markets (what is possible overall in terms of social media usage formats), from the competitive situation and the market objectives, and from the decision on the support of the business model by social media.

From the resulting tasks for

  • The support of the business model by social media through the chosen usage formats
  • the design of the competitive situation in the chosen formats of use
  • the use of the usage formats for market development (market goals, growth)

we derive goals within the framework of our social media strategy.

Risks of the strategy component Usage formats

We pay attention to risks from the following areas in the usage formats

  • Resources I: the loss of key competencies for a utilization format is inherent in low staffing levels. A new appointment after several months of interim solutions can result in considerable collateral damage. Therefore, it is helpful to prepare for this risk by having / building up key competencies several times.
  • Resources II: In the Audience usage format in particular, we operate in a media environment with constantly increasing demands on the quality and quantity of content. These requirements quickly lead to a neglect of quality and to the more or less conscious abandonment of unique content with a high benefit. This makes us arbitrary and less relevant as a source.
  • Competitive advertising performance: if we have chosen a usage format that can generally be surpassed by another in terms of effect, but which is not currently available on the market, we run the permanent risk that this competitive situation can change structurally to our disadvantage as soon as more powerful usage formats/combinations are used by the competition.

Work templates – examples

Usage formats work template – Measures and resources

In this worksheet, we create an overview of the usage formats used, the measures to implement them, and the resources required. The worksheet is intended to and can only serve as an overview. We keep more detailed descriptions on separate pages for the respective contents.


Work Template Usage Formats Competitive Situation

This overview shows the competitive situation in important topics with a focus on usage formats. The benefit of this overview is to better illustrate the competitive situation in the usage formats and to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the competition. Customize also this overview in presentation and format to your needs.


Work Template Usage Formats Performance Potentials and Competitive Targets

This worksheet is designed to help us determine the usage formats for our own strategy. Sir present for the themes / topics the competition objectives, the possible formats of use and the competitive situation.


Usage Format Work Template – Requirements of and for Other Strategy Components

Here we note the requirements from our strategy component to other strategy components and the requirements from other strategy components to the strategy component usage formats. When we have created a strategy version to the point where it can be reviewed, we use this overview to check the extent to which the requirements of other strategy components are met by the content of the Usage Formats strategy component.


Working template usage formats – assumptions and requirements

Work Template Usage Formats – Interactions

Outlining and resolving problematic interactions with other strategy components is relevant to content evaluation and strategy quality assurance. Strategy components that do not fit together perfectly make the success of the strategy more difficult. Therefore – look for possible problems yourself before the market shows them to us and solve them in advance before the success of the strategy is endangered.


Exercises

You will find the exercises linked in the section header under “Materials”.

Exercise Strategy Component Usage Formats - Example of Own Company.

Describe the usage format(s) of your company's existing social media strategy. Pay attention to whether these are pure usage formats or combined usage formats.

Describe the usage formats that would be alternatively possible and useful for your company. (This is based on the suitability of the usage formats for the company's topics).

Describe the performance potential of the usage format of the existing social media strategy for your business model based on the strengths and weaknesses of the usage format.

Performance Competitor Exercise

Select a performance competitor of your company for the exercise.

  • Visit the competitor's social media presences.
  • Define the usage formats of the brand's social media strategy. Pay attention to whether these are pure usage formats or combined usage formats. Combined usage formats involve multiple usage formats within a social media presence.
  • Describe why you think each usage format was used.
  • Define a usage format or combination of usage formats that provides a structural competition advantage over the performance competitor's usage format.
Exercise usage formats b2b

Decide on a b2b company of your choice.

  • Visit the company's social media presences.
  • Define the usage formats of the brand's social media strategy. Pay attention to whether these are pure usage formats or combined usage formats. Combined usage formats involve multiple usage formats within a social media presence.
  • Describe why you think each usage format was used.
  • Describe a usage format or combination of usage formats that provides a structural competition advantage over the company's usage format.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Exercise.

Decide on an FMCG company from your own choice.

  • Visit the company's social media presences.
  • Define the usage formats of the brand's social media strategy. Pay attention to whether they are pure usage formats or combined usage formats. Combined usage formats involve multiple usage formats within a social media presence.
  • Describe why you think each usage format was used.
  • Describe a usage format or combination of usage formats that provides a structural competition advantage over the company's usage format.
Retail Exercise

Select a retail company - either of your choice or from the suggestions (Douglas Cosmetic, dm-markt or Lidl).

  • Visit the company's social media presences.
  • Define the usage formats of the brand's social media strategy. Pay attention to whether these are pure usage formats or combined usage formats. Combined usage formats involve multiple usage formats within a social media presence.
  • Describe why you think each usage format was used.
  • Describe a usage format or combination of usage formats that provides a structural competition advantage over the retailer's usage format.
Brand exercise

Select a brand of your choice or one from the suggested exercises (SEAT, Bosch Professional power tools (blue line), PUMA Sport, and Streetwear).

  • Visit the brand's social media presences.
  • Define the usage formats of the brand's social media strategy. Pay attention to whether these are pure usage formats or combined usage formats. Combined usage formats involve multiple usage formats within a social media presence.
  • Describe why you think the particular usage format was used and justify whether you would choose the same usage format or an alternative.

 

Media exercise
  • Visit the social media presences of a media company of your choice.
  • Define the usage formats of the media company's social media strategy. Pay attention to whether these are pure usage formats or combined usage formats. Combined usage formats involve multiple usage formats within a social media presence.
  • Describe why you think the particular usage format was used.
  • Evaluate the implementation of the usage format.