4.8 Strategy Component Communication

Reading time: approx. 31 minutes

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

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

  • Basics: here you will learn the basics of the strategy component and the definition of the content as well as the basic interactions with other strategy components.
  • Usage: here you will learn the definition by means of an exemplary procedure (method).
  • Exercises: here you practice the definition 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 communication as a component of social media strategy.
  • be able to define the contents of the strategy component from the defined strategy and the contents of other strategy components.

Basics

Definition of the strategy component

In the potential-based strategy model for social media, the communication strategy component describes the formal and content-related design of communication in social media.

Content of the communication strategy component

The communication strategy component describes

  • the communication relationships – i.e. between which participants which type of communication relationships are to be established and maintained.
  • the way of communication
    • editorial: communication is initiated and carried out by the company in terms of content and takes place between the company and users. Primarily content is disseminated by the company, from which an individual public dialog with individual users can arise. Communication takes place primarily in a sender-receiver relationship. The trigger is the company as the sender. Building and maintaining reach is the structural task to enable this communication, in addition to disseminating content.
    • user-based: communication is initiated and carried out by users and takes place predominantly between users. Content is primarily created by users and shared with other users. Communication can be public or private. Communication takes place between peer participants, any of whom can start communication. Each of the participants is both a sender and a receiver. The networking of the participants is a central structural task for the operator so that this communication occurs.
  • the communication functions – i.e. which technical functions are to be used for communication.
  • the communication objectives – what effect is to be achieved with the communication.
  • the content of communication is dealt with in the strategy component Topics and Content.
  • where communication takes place is defined in the strategy component Channels.
  • how intensive communication should be (scope / intensity, depth in the topic).
  • in which style to communicate (e.g. language style. address)

So we take the contents of communication from the topics and contents of our subject areas according to their priorities.

Significance of the strategy component

strategic importance of the strategy component

The communication of a company – also in social media – has a wide variety of contents and demands resulting from the different functions of a company and from a wide variety of objectives.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine social media without communication. At the same time, social media has had a significant impact on interpersonal communication – like communication between people and companies.

Even in social media, the interests of the target groups are not identical with the communication interests of the company. If corporate communications deviate too far from target group interests, the company loses the attention of the target group and acceptance as a source. If our communication does not work, we will not be successful in social media in the long term.

The task of communication is to act as a guardian of the target group’s attention and the company’s interest, and to ensure the user’s continued attention through appropriate careful weighting of content (content strategy). Initially, this leads to more or less permanent conflicts of interest with individual interests from within the company. The art lies in designing content in such a way that it can successfully serve multiple goals. It is a permanent task of communication to ensure that the interests of the users (attention) do not become secondary. To ensure that this strategically relevant responsibility can be adequately fulfilled, it is advisable to define it clearly and to assign it to a responsible position with the appropriate competence.

practical significance of the strategy component

Communication in its organizational, content-related and communicative facets, media formats and its technical integration into channels and corporate processes has the status of an independent strategy component so that the communicative requirements and effects on other strategy components can be worked out more clearly and embedded in the daily work. For day-to-day work, this strategy component should also serve as a guideline for designing and reviewing communications.

We define in which form and in which formats our communication takes place and where, but also to what extent and in what bandwidth and with what objectives this communication takes place. This automatically creates intensive interactions and requirements on and with the strategy components

  • UserBenefit: the user benefit must be transported. This means that we have to make the user benefit clear in communication and, if necessary, provide it ourselves through communication (especially in the Audience usage format),
  • Corporate benefit: Corporate benefit results, for example, from knowledge, information and behavior that is initiated and produced through communication.
  • Content and themes: the themes of communication and their content define the markets and needs we address and are weighted by their social media affinity but above all by their priority.
  • Participation: user participation must be communicatively explained and kept active. This requires content as well as functions and organization.
  • Motivation: communication must be part of motivation, i.e. contribute to it and explain motivational structures and keep them active as well as attractive.
  • Channels: the channels are the place in which the communication is transported, i.e. in which its functions and contents also take place. We have to implement the requirement profile from communication through the performance potential of the channels. This profile is defined in the communication strategy component and implemented in the channels as a requirement.
  • Competition: competition sets the qualitative and quantitative benchmarks for communication. To achieve the leading competitive position in topics we must first become the leading source of information and communication.

Communication and social media usage formats

Communication is shaped not least by the decision on the social media usage formats used. If we use an audience, our communication looks different than if we use a community. The same applies to social networks or to combinations of different usage formats.

Regardless of which usage format we use in our social media strategy, we must be aware that we need to design communication both conceptually and technically. We need to be aware of the forms of communication we want to use within our usage format and what the technical requirements are. And of course we have to be able to implement these requirements (in our channels).

In the respective usage formats, communication naturally serves the purpose of the respective usage format, but also other components of the social media strategy – such as user benefit. In our day-to-day work, we must constantly ensure that our communication meets the respective requirements.

Problems: Although it may sound strange, too many companies still base their social media strategy not on the potential of social media for the company or the company’s goals but on the performance of the social media tool they want to use. In this case, according to what a preferred social media channel can do technically and conceptually for communication. In situations defined by the performance of channels, we are usually dealing with an unclear or superficial attempt at a strategy. Correcting this in the company requires quite a bit of information.

Community management as part of communication

We can conceive of community management as a part of communication and assign it to the strategy component communication or define it as an organizational unit outside of the social media strategy. If we include community management in the communications strategy component – e.g., because community management should also look after and safeguard user-generated content – we include the tasks and resources for community management in the communications strategy component in the content and resources accordingly.

Relevance of communication

“That must be of interest to our users,” is a consideration we certainly have more often than it applies. Relevance does not only mean that our users are basically interested in a topic, but unfortunately also that they are currently interested in this topic. Current means right now. The better we know our users and the better we can target them selectively, the more likely we are to reach them with relevant content at a relevant time.

But what if the user is interested in principle but is not currently a priority for our communication? Then our communication – whether it’s the content we provide, the dialogue we’d like to have, or communication with other users – should be able to pick up easily at a later time. This requires appropriate technical capabilities of the platform used. Otherwise, an active user with general interest quickly becomes a user who falls through the cracks.

UserBenefit of communication

Communication whose user benefit is not recognizable to the user lacks relevance. Relevance does not only mean that a user is basically interested in a topic. Relevance requires that we provide this user with an important, relevant benefit through our communication. This clearly secures the importance of our communication, our platform or our source of information.

Relevant UserBenefits result from the user’s interests, but do not necessarily correspond to the company’s services. The user benefit from social media is not identical with the benefit from our services. If we equate the user benefits in social media with the benefits from our services, our social media strategy is missing a success factor. Once we have found a convincing user benefit for our social media strategy, it is no less crucial to communicate this user benefit clearly. Communicative does not mean pushy, but it stands for a user benefit that is easy to recognize and, if possible, easy to use.

The user benefits of our social media strategy must be recognizable in our social media communication.  

Communication and motivation

In many cases, communication is the best and only way to motivate users to behave in a certain way. If we design the content of this communication, it is relatively easy to motivate social media users through the content of the communication. When communication is primarily between users, this approach inevitably fails. However, this is not necessarily the same as abandoning the motivation to communicate in usage formats in which users communicate directly with each other.

System-based messages are a means to motivate desired behavior through communication in these cases. For example, by informing users that other users in their network have received certain awards for a certain behavior.

User-based communication can also be used to motivate specific behavior. We all know Likes as an expression of positive feedback between users. These standardized forms of communication – especially when they are generally visible – have a decidedly motivating effect.

For our strategy and in particular the strategy component communication, the use of this additional motivation is a success factor that should not be underestimated.

Additionally, use system-based and sub-based communication formats to motivate desired user behavior where possible and appropriate.  

Communication and participation

Communication is a fundamental form of participation in social media. Even though users may be passive and rather reading on our social media presences, we need a well thought-out system that makes communication in the platform – with companies and other users – as easy and as attractive as possible for the users. Not offering users communication opportunities and occasions on their platform is a strategic mistake. A good communication concept starts with the easy recognition and usability of the communication functions and leads to a systematic offer of communication opportunities and occasions. This applies to all social media usage formats – including audiences.

A comprehensive communication concept is the basis for user participation and an important success factor for our social media strategy.  
Resources (type, for what)

The resources we have to devote to the communication component of the strategy depend heavily on the scope of the communication, the communication formats and the breadth of the communication. We are dealing with both a qualitative and a quantitative level when it comes to resources. The question of specific resource requirements can only be answered on the basis of defined communication formats and communication intensity.

When defining the required resources (competencies, personnel resources, budgets), we also consider the contents of the strategy components UserBenefits – in particular.

Usage strategy component

Requirements for the content of the strategy element

The strategy component communication should at least define the following contents

  • UserBenefit – because we should sufficiently convey the user benefit of our social media strategy in our communication. Depending on which UserBenefit we use in our social media strategy, we must create the UserBenefit completely ourselves with the communication (Audience, Dialogs) or support the creation of the UserBenefit through other users with communication (Community, Networks). We define in this part of the strategy component how we perform this task functionally (i.e. with which functions) and content-wise (with which content and to what extent).
  • Target group interests: relevant target group interests that we can use for our market cultivation. We therefore define which relevant target group interests we address communicatively – for which purpose (attention, corporate benefit) via which topics.
  • communicative target group preferences in particular
    • media formats (text, image, video, audio),
    • Communication structure, roles and relationship of communicators
    • technical-organizational communication design (blog, forum, chat, realtime, time-shifted)
    • Communication style (address, form and closeness)
  • Communication mix: the mix of content for the various tasks and requirements from the company, from market development, competition design.
  • possible tasks and requirements from other strategy components
  • Interactions with other strategy components to be considered.
  • Goals of communication: qualitative goals – what we want to communicate – and quantitative goals – how many users we want to reach with our communication. Similarly, we define the goals for user-based communication (communication between users).
  • Resource requirements for the strategy component

The strategy component communication should also present or refer to the following contents

Communication structure

The communication structure is largely determined by the usage format used.

  • Audience: we communicate in a sender-receiver relationship, one2many, time-shifted, public. Interaction takes place via mostly commenting, sharing or liking.
  • Network: Users communicate with each other – one2one, realtime or time-shifted, public or private.
  • Community: Users communicate with each other, both one2one and one2many, time-shifted, real-time, public and private.

Depending on the focus of our social media offerings, we adapt the communication structure to the corresponding requirements. For all usage formats, the quality of the communication structure is a very important success factor. Deficiencies in this field are very critical for outreach/relationship activity.

In addition to usage formats, user benefits, motivation (method and structures), participation (method and structures) are relevant for the communication structure as “client”. Specific communication requirements can be expected from these strategy components.

Definition of the content of the strategy component communication

The contents of the strategy component are first defined in the cornerstones in the strategy definition process. After either the most important strategy variants for the decision have been worked out or the strategy has been basically decided, the details are compiled in the strategy component. Important source for the definition of the formal side of the communication are

  • the target groups of our social media strategy and their communication preferences.
  • the usage formats and their technical and organizational characteristics.

Target groups: Communication preferences Media formats and communication style

Usage format: communication type (sender-receiver, networking, realtime, time-shifted) Communication functions, etc.

In terms of content, we are guided primarily by the subject areas that must be covered by the communication (especially in the case of an audience) and by the communication intensity that must be provided in order to compete for attention.

In the case of communities, the quality and scope of the communication functions and their implementation in the available communication channels are again of particular importance.

UserBenefit: we define how we communicate the user benefit (formats, scope, style). We take the UserBenefit itself from the corresponding strategy component.

Corporate benefit: we define how we communicate the content for a desired corporate benefit (formats, scope, style). We take the corporate benefit itself from the corresponding strategy component.

Content and themes: we describe in the strategy component Content and themes the content and themes we use for social media to engage our markets, create business value and user value, and shape the competition. We summarize how we design these contents and topics in the media and integrate them into our overall communication in the strategy component Communication.

Competition: In the strategy component Competition, we describe the competitive situation and the measures with which we intend to shape the competitive situation. This strategy component (competition) may give rise to tasks for communication, which we list once from a formal point of view (communication formats) and from the point of view of the communication mix (what scope this content takes up in our communication) in the strategy component Communication.

Communication goals

The objectives in our strategy component take place at the level of

Communication formats: in which communication formats do we as a company need to build up and maintain which level of media capability.

Communication performance: what we want to achieve with the communication (with whom). This includes, for example, the communication of content, the maintenance and activity of ranges, and the networking and activity of social relationships among users (in the case of communities).

If we do not define quantitative as well as qualitative communication services, we are giving away an essential tool for the successful use of communication and for shaping competition.  

Communication mix: what communicative share do the contents from

  • Target group interests (the interests with the help of which we reach and maintain the attention of the target group and which are used only for the purpose of attention generation)
  • UserBenefit (content with which we communicate the UserBenefit)
  • CorporateBenefit (content with which we create – as direct as possible – corporate benefit)
  • Content and topics (content and topics that address the market, i.e. communicate needs and services in particular)

The benchmark for the communication mix is the communication performance of the competition (quantity and quality).

Quality assurance of social media communication: The individual contents must be in line with the communication mix so that they have an individual effect and secure attention for the company as a source of content and communication. I.e. it is the task of those responsible for the strategic component of communication (in social media) to ensure that the individual content

  1. correspond to the target group interests
  2. provide a UserBenefit (compatible with the defined UserBenefit of the strategy)
  3. are geared to a defined corporate benefit
  4. include a positive competitive effect for the company.

Items 1 and 2 are essential, items 3 and 4 can vary, i.e. a content can be focused on a business benefit, or instead aim for a competitive impact.

Quality assurance in practice: it is advisable to define the content requirements for social media so clearly that they can be understood and implemented by all areas in the company. The task of social media management should not be to constantly check and correct all content, but to empower all employees who use content for social media to the extent that they can meet these requirements.

Communication functions and channels

Communication functions and channels are defined from the requirements from the communication structure. We need to ensure the communication functions that are required for from the communication structure and the goals of our strategy. Problems can arise from the use of external social media channels if the necessary communication functions cannot be realized to the required extent. In these cases, separation of functions and channels is a possible solution.

Communication style

The communication style is based on the ideas of the target groups, but should also take into account the corporate culture. This means that, in order to remain credible both internally and externally, we have to find a compromise between the two requirements that meets both the wishes of the target groups and the framework of our corporate culture.

Definition of the contents

UserBenefits and Social Media Communication

The user benefits that we create with our social media strategy must be communicated and often explained. We also make sure that the communication of the UserBenefit is simple and that the UserBenefit is communicated with an appropriate motivation.

We take the UserBenefit itself from the strategy component UserBenefit.

Here it is a question of checking the formal design of the user benefit. This test thus includes the questions of whether the user benefit

  • is visually representable, i.e. can be communicated simply via graphics, images, video, for example,
  • can be communicated in plain text format,
  • is so complex that a pure sender-receiver constellation would be problematic.

In addition, we have to answer the question of how far the user benefit itself should be communicated. So

  • to what extent and
  • with which contents

the user benefit should be part of the company’s social media communication.

Target group interests and social media communication

We list the target audience interests that we can use for our social media communications. In other words, interests that are suitable for reaching the market, building and actively maintaining reach, and contributing to a business benefit. In doing so, we keep in mind that when we choose the target group interests that we use, we primarily look at how well they are suited for reaching the market and building reach. Target group interests can be aligned with company benefits, but automatically contribute to company benefits via the development of a market and the building of reach.

Target groups and communication preferences

Here we record the communication and information preferences of our target groups. By communication and information preferences we mean the preference for certain communication and information formats, i.e.

  • Text, image / graphic, video, audio
  • Blog, Messenger, Social Networks, Communities / Forums

We take the target groups from the strategy component Target Groups. We take the communication preferences of the target groups from their previous communication behavior, which we define from

  • own market and communication knowledge
  • Studies and market analyses
  • Social media monitoring

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Communication mix

We define the share / scope of social media communication content of individual tasks and sources from the company. The goal is to design a communication mix that is relevant and interesting for the recipients (target groups), i.e. that largely corresponds to their interests.

Corporate benefit and communication mix: We note which corporate benefit we support with our communication – with which content. We obtain the corporate benefit – and the content suitable for it – from the corporate benefit strategy component.

Competition and communication mix: we note which communication / content we can use to achieve a desired competitive effect. We draw the content from the strategy component Competition.

Interactions

We work out the concrete interactions based on the contents of the individual strategy components. To do this, we need at least a preliminary communication strategy component – in the form of target groups and communication preferences.

Goals of the strategy component

Defining the formal framework of our communication with our target groups is the primary goal of the strategy component. The benefit of this goal is the use of communication appropriate to the target group.

We ensure the measurability of the goal through a simple checklist for our daily communication, in which we define the formal cornerstones that must be observed / given for communication with our target groups.

We define these key points from the communication preferences, i.e.

  • Communication formats
  • Communication style

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Communication, corporate benefits and competition: in this strategy component, we primarily deal with the formal requirements for communication. We address the goals we pursue with communication at the level of corporate benefit and competition in these two strategy components. However, when asking about the resources required, we must take into account the qualitative and quantitative requirements from these two strategy components.

Resource requirements of the strategy component

For the concrete resource requirements, we need the qualitative and quantitative demands of the strategy component. We work these out via the following questions:

  • What communication formats do we need to be able to provide in the context of this strategy?
  • What professional skills do we need for these communication formats?
  • Which of these professional competencies are already in place and which still need to be built?
  • What technical equipment do we need for the communication formats?
  • Which of these technical equipments are available and which still need to be created?
  • Can we afford the communication formats and their intensity (target) with the available resources (staff, budget)? If not, we should be able to justify it convincingly.

When considering the question of resources, we also take into account the interaction with the strategy components of competition and corporate benefit. If these strategy components result in a requirement for qualitative and quantitative resources, we take this into account in the resource requirements from our communication strategy component.

Quality assurance in social media communication

In cases where the content of social media communication for the whole company is not created by the individual who is also responsible for the strategy, it is recommended to define clear criteria for the quality assurance of social media communication. This is also helpful in the case of the social media lone wolf to have clearer requirements for content requests from individual functional areas.

Rule of thumb of a multi-level quality assurance:

  1. The content requirements for social media must be clearly defined so that they can be understood and implemented by all areas of the company.
  2. Social media management does not check these requirements permanently but on a random basis.
  3. Social media management empowers all employees to create content for social media to the point where they can meet the requirements for quality social media communication.

Interactions

In this section, we basically describe possible interactions between two strategy components. In practice, further interactions may be added in individual cases. You use the basically possible interactions for your orientation and check the interactions of a concrete content on it

  • to what extent these general interactions apply to this specific case.
  • whether further interactions with other strategy components are discernible.
  • how many other strategy components as a whole are influenced by the content of this strategy component.

Understand the following notes as examples of possible interactions. The interactions in their own strategy may correspond to these examples, but they may also deviate from them.

  • Usage formats and communication: The requirements for the type of communication and communication formats has a direct interaction with the usage formats. For example, if the target group primarily communicates via Messenger and prefers content in video form, this will have an impact on the usage formats.
  • Reach and communication: The reach is influenced in the structure and in the activity by the quality of the communication with. Our communication should support attention and acceptance through its formal design. If it does not achieve this, it has a negative effect on the range – in structure and activity.
  • Target groups and communication: The target groups determine the demands on formal communication. I. e. our strategy component communication is based in terms of content on the requirements for the formal design of communication according to the preferences of the target groups. For example, if a target group prefers content primarily in the form of videos, we should take this into account in the design of our communications so that we can get the attention and acceptance of this target group.
  • Channels and communication: Technical and conceptual demands on communication are automatically also demands on the performance of the communication functions of social media channels. If a target group prefers content in a certain format, a channel that has weaknesses in this communication format is less suitable – for this target group. A target group that prefers video as an information format will also find itself correspondingly less pronounced on a channel that does not offer video as a function or offers it only marginally.
  • Topics and content and communication: Content and the form in which it is conveyed cannot be considered separately. If we convey information in a non-preferred format, we will achieve significantly less attention and acceptance, and ultimately impact.
  • User benefits and communication: If the user benefits of a social media strategy consist primarily of content and communication, the formal side – the format – is also decisive for the success of the entire strategy.
  • Motivation and communication: Motivation must also be communicated in a recognizable way so that it can have an effect. This concerns both motivation in content and motivation in the form of structures. At the same time, motivational structures based on communication between social media users are efficient levers to promote a desired behavior.
  • Participation and communication: If the social media strategy includes opportunities for participation, the communicative design depends on the communication preferences of the target groups. If these do not correspond to the habits of the target group, participation also suffers.
  • Competition and communication: The quality of communication offerings and their acceptance by the target groups addressed is a competitive factor. If communication offers do not correspond to the target group preferences, this is a possible competitive disadvantage.
  • Resources and communication: Communication requires resources. Depending on the preferred communication formats of our target groups, resource requirements can vary significantly. There is a difference whether information is conveyed in pure text form or in sophisticatedly packaged videos.
  • Objectives and communication: The strategy component Objectives also summarizes the objectives of the strategy component Communication.

Work Templates

Work templates help organize workflows and avoid overlooking relevant content and topics. The presented work templates should be understood as an inspiration and a suggestion. The following work templates are provided for reference. Design your own templates for your specific situation.

Work Templates Strategy Components

The working templates for the strategy components are to be

  • Facilitate an overview of the content and key measures of each strategy component.
  • show the interaction and mutual interrelationships between the contents of the individual strategy components.
  • facilitate the development of the content.
  • document the decisions for or against certain content.
  • Demonstrate the assumptions and premises underlying the content.
  • define the resource requirements for the selected content.
Example Work Template 4.8.1 Communication Overview

The example 4.8.1 Communication overview enables the overview of the structure of communication and contains

  • the relationships between the parties involved – i.e. users and companies.
  • the type of communication in the particular type of relationship.
  • the goals to be achieved with the communication in the particular type of relationship.
  • the functions required for these relationships, communication and goals.
  • the channels in which the relationship is to be established and operated.

For this purpose, this template specifies how the user benefits are to be communicated. The same applies to the corporate benefit.

The working template contains requirements from communication on the performance potential of channels and how these requirements are realized in the respective channels. You will probably need more space for this content.

Last but not least, this worksheet provides an overview of the resources required for this strategy component. You will probably record each resource in more detail on a separate document.

Example Work Template 4.8.2 Communication Measures

The overview of the most important structural measures – i.e., the communication functions and system-based communication – is hardly dispensable, if only because these functions must be implemented technically for the strategy to work. For the technical implementation we will hardly get around a specification sheet, for the strategy development we are content for now with the overview of the required communication functions and the system-based communication within our social media strategy.

System-based communication stands for communication that is operated by the platform’s IT system, i.e. is triggered on the basis of a defined occasion and transports specific information. For example, information about activities of other users as an incentive for communication between these users or as a motivation for a corresponding behavior of the addressed user.

The application of user utility is a field for the use of system-based communication. A typical example of this type of communication is the reference to similar content or to users with similar interests. Motivation and participation can also be systematically promoted with these automated communications.

Example work template 4.8.3 Communication competitive situation

This example offers a view of the competitive situation within communications in the respective subject areas. The benefit of this – in addition to this overview – is the ability to better assess the competitive situation for one’s own communication. If we want to be a leader in communications in a subject area, we inevitably have to be more successful than our competitors in the same playing field. The overview in this working template includes

  • Subject areas as the first column. We could also create a separate worksheet for each topic area to have more room for content. At least for particularly important subject areas, this is a recommendable procedure.
  • Competitors: we probably have several competitors in a subject area and accordingly use several lines for a subject area. The reference to the type of competition – whether performance competitor or attention competitor – can be helpful if we do not automatically have this in mind for each competitor.
Example Work Template 4.8.4 Communication Interactions

In your working templates on the interactions of the content between the individual strategy examples, you can basically contrast the content of the individual strategy components or focus on conflicts in content and only record problems and solutions. For a start and for better documentation, the former is more recommendable because it is more informative and helpful for later revisions, but it is also more time-consuming.

Example Work Template 4.8.5 Communication Assumptions and Prerequisites

The objective of this working paper is to provide an overview of the assumptions and prerequisites that may underlie the content of the communication strategy component. If there are no assumptions and prerequisites, you will not need this sheet. However, you should carefully consider this point.

Assumptions: All too often, we unconsciously make assumptions – for example, that certain functions will be permanently available in their current form in external channels, or that certain uses of a platform will remain unchanged. These assumptions can lead to unpleasant findings if they do not come true.

The preconditions are – in contrast to the assumptions – to be formed by ourselves. Typical prerequisites include, for example, professional competencies. Self-evident when present, problematic when not. A typical example of underestimated requirements – in addition to the necessary resources – is social media competence for a specific field in social media. The classic here is the social media manager who has built up enormous expertise in the use of audiences over the years and is now confronted with building and managing a community. In the company, this all falls into the social media drawer and – as has been impressively demonstrated over the year – our social media manager can do this off the cuff.

Listing the measures that are affected by these assumptions and conditions is helpful because it clarifies impacts.

Resource requirements

The resource requirements for this strategy component are fed by the need for structural resources and the resource requirements in the production of communication in day-to-day work. In both cases, the basis is the respective measures and contents of the strategy component.

In order to communicate, we need appropriate structures. We need organizational and personnel structures, as well as conceptual and technological ones, so that we can communicate successfully in social media in the long term.

Work step: So let’s list the organizational and personnel structure we need for communication. Let’s add to this list the communication functions that are necessary for our communication to take place.

The resource requirements for the day’s work are based on how much needs to be done.

Work step: I.e. we have to define,

  • how much – in which topics and for which user groups – should be communicated.
  • what the quality standard of this communication is, whether we need to develop original content of our own, want to use external original content, or disseminate external content that is also disseminated by others,
  • what benefit we must at least provide in our day-to-day work with communication.

Risks in the communication strategy component

Communication in itself is often risky, especially when we operate in such a restricted communication situation as in the digital realm.

  • We do not see our communication partner(s),
  • we do not know them or only to a very limited extent and
  • we also do not know the situation in which we communicate with them.

In addition, structural risks arise from the environment in which we communicate if we cannot freely shape this environment. This concerns the perception, the usability, the technical functions and the media behavior of the platform up to the advertising or other content that occurs simultaneously in our communication situation. These influences can affect the impact of our communication.

In addition to structural risks, we have to take into account individual risks resulting from individual content / communication and their individual perception. Communication or its content is not always understood in the way it was intended.

In order to minimize structural risks, we need appropriate opportunities to influence and shape them. We try to reduce individual risks through appropriate care and sensitivity in communication.

Assumptions and prerequisites

Our assessment of the impact of our activities is based on assumptions, not on collateral. We find assumptions for our social media strategy component communication, for example, in the assessment of the competitive situation. How we assess the development of communication intensity in the topic areas is not least an assumption that can have an impact on the selected usage formats, but of course above all on the resources we need to be able to cope with this assumed development.

We review the content of our strategy component and note any assumptions we have made for our actions and their impact. This gives us not only the input for the strategy component assumptions and prerequisites but also an impression of what the success of our measures is built on.

Take a critical look at this overview and ask yourself critically what your assumptions are based on, what must occur for these assumptions to be confirmed, and how likely this is. It is better to critically question your assumptions in advance than to have the market give you the corresponding feedback.

Exercises Strategy Component Communication

You will find the exercises linked under “Materials” at the beginning of the lesson.