5.0.2 Strategy definition basics: corporate objectives, social media strategy objectives and social media objectives

Learning objective: Define strategy objectives from business model and corporate objectives, social media objectives from strategy objectives, and the content of strategy components from social media objectives.

Reading time: approx. 25 minutes

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

In this section, we present the basics of defining the objectives of the social media strategy as a whole and the social media strategy based on these objectives. Objectives are here as part of the method. The definition of specific objectives in terms of the SMART formula takes place within the framework of the individual usage of the objectives. The usage is described in the Usage section of this topic.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Corporate objectives for social media in pbsm

The corporate objectives for social media define which objectives of the company are to be supported by social media. This means that we define the social media strategy objectives via the corporate objectives that we support with social media.

Distinguish business objectives for social media from social media objectives.

  • Business objectives for social media define what we want social media to do for the business. From this, we define the social media strategy objectives.
  • Social media objectives define how we want to deliver these services with and in our social media strategy. From this, we define the content of the social media strategy components.

Importance of corporate objectives in pbsm

The company’s objectives are priorities that the company sets. This does not mean that the company’s objectives correspond one-to-one to the focus of the social media strategy.

The priorities of markets, for example, do not necessarily mean that our social media strategy only supports the high-priority markets. The company’s objectives show us the focus we should set. In addition to these focal points, the social media affinity of the corresponding subject areas and the competitive situation in these markets and their subject areas must be taken into account. Finally, there is of course the question of resources, i.e. which of the desirable corporate objectives the company can actually realize.

Fields of corporate objectives in pbsm

Our corporate objectives are defined in particular from

  • markets: Corporate objectives relate, for example, to new markets that the company wants to enter or focus on existing markets. The goal for our social media strategy would thus be to support the development of these new markets or to support the company’s focus in existing markets.
  • Value propositions / corporate services: Corporate objectives are, for example, the focus for certain value propositions / corporate services or the positioning of new corporate services in the market. The task for social media would then be to support the respective company services with an appropriate strategy.
  • Customer relationships: Corporate objectives for customer relations can be, for example, to strengthen customer relations in their existing form or to create new forms of customer relations. The task of social media would be to support the creation of these customer relationships through appropriate infrastructures and activities.
  • Business model channels: corporate objectives for business model channels are to support existing channels and / or in the creation of new channels.

It is highly recommended to make this procedure and the individual steps therein clear to all parties involved in order to avoid possible irritations from the very beginning.

Interaction of corporate objectives and social media performance potential

In the case of corporate objectives, in addition to the clear initial situation, we are also dealing with an interesting and unfortunately often overlooked interaction between corporate objectives and the socia media performance potential, which we should pay attention to, as the social media performance potential may open up new opportunities for the company and correspondingly enable new corporate objectives.

The initial situation: Corporate objectives are not created in social media. Social media supports the implementation of corporate objectives.

The interaction: Social media has not only a supporting function but also a changing and here in particular an expanding performance potential. In other words – with social media, not only can business models be affected, social media can also positively change the performance of companies. Companies can achieve more with social media than without it. If corporate objectives have been created without taking this potential (to be able to achieve more through social media) into account, it may make sense to look at these objectives again from the perspective of the performance potential of social media.

Recommendation: We define the potential performance of social media for our company before the company develops its business objectives.

practical advice: if we are dealing with predefined corporate objectives without taking into account the performance potential, it is advisable to first take note of the company’s corporate objectives and consider how far social media can concretely influence these objectives, and to present any discernible change and its effects on the corporate objectives and communicate the resulting opportunities and risks to the management.

The definition of corporate objectives is followed by the actual process of strategy development. We can only assess resource requirements, impact on markets and competition once we have defined the business objectives and developed the approach to implement them (the social media strategy).

Meaning and sources of the objectives

To distinguish

  • Social media strategy objectives are the objectives of a social media strategy and refer to the desired impact of the strategy in the market and competition, as well as the performance of the strategy for the business model and corporate objectives.
  • Social media objectives are the objectives to be achieved in social media through the content of our strategy, i.e. the strategy components, so that the strategy is successful and the social media strategy objectives can be realised.

Strategies without clearly defined and verifiable objectives are not relevant. The objectives of the social media strategy are defined through the business model and corporate objectives based on the intended benefits from social media.

The core objective is thus to support the success of the business model and, where appropriate, any other corporate objectives such as

  • a change or expansion of the business model, markets, company services, channels or customer relationships that are not yet part of the current business model.
  • a change in the company’s competitive situation in markets / customer segments, in value propositions, customer relationships and channels of the business model.

Sources: We have already developed the most important information basis for defining objectives at the business model and social media level(analysis of the benefits of social media for the business model and corporate objectives, as well as the social media courses of action based on these).

Requirements for objectives

When we define objectives for a strategy these objectives should include

  • where we
  • What goal
  • in which period
  • By what means

want to achieve.

Let’s translate this claim to social media objectives:

  • where: the themes of our business model and our corporate objectives.
  • which goal: the social media objectives are the competitive positions we need to achieve for the business objectives and the content of the strategy components required to achieve them.
  • Timeframe: depending on the content we need to deploy for the social media objectives.
  • Means: resource requirements, depending on the content and actions we need to use to achieve the social media objectives.

Strategic objectives to support the business model / corporate objectives

As a reminder, the initial situation:

  • the business model modules customer segments, value propositions, customer relationships, and channels, as well as other relevant corporate objectives, we examined how these are supported by social media or can benefit from social media, i.e., what corporate benefit we can achieve for the business model through social media.
  • we defined, summarized and prioritized the topics of the business model modules and the corporate objectives.
  • we have defined the content of the core strategy components that we believe will give us the best chance of achieving a leading competitive position within the themes of the business model and corporate objectives.

The benefit of the social media strategy for the company consists in the corporate benefit that we want to realize for the company in the selected topics / subject areas.

Corporate benefit as a strategic goal

By analyzing the business model and corporate objectives, we have worked out the already quite concrete possible corporate benefits from social media for the business model.

The decision as to which of these concrete possible corporate benefits from social media are realized for the individual modules of the business model could theoretically be made by the social media manager. Which, however, is strongly discouraged, because

  • this claim goes – in my humble estimation – clearly beyond the competence of a social media management.
  • the involvement of the functional areas in the company responsible for the various areas of the business model is extremely advisable not only because of their competence for the business model and their market expertise, it also serves to support the social media strategy which, as a joint effort for the success of the individual functional areas, can count on a significantly higher level of acceptance.
  • Preparing this decision together with the most important functional areas of the company and, if necessary, also making it together significantly enhances both the function of social media management and the person in this function in the company.

Selection of the company or companiesBenefits of the social media strategy

Decision and responsibility

Those who have the choice also have the responsibility. This could also mean that the choice of business benefits we seek in a social media strategy is up to the function that has responsibility for the strategy. But it doesn’t, unless and until the importance of social media strategy to business success is recognized and understood. The decision and responsibility as to which corporate benefits are to be realized with a social media strategy lies with the function that bears responsibility for the success of the business model/company.

Desired program and focus

In view of a tantalizingly colorful list of possible corporate benefits for the business model from social media which are to be realized for the benefit and success of the functional areas of the modules of the business model, it is not to be expected that functional areas of a company will enthusiastically forego a benefit. Given the possibilities, an all-encompassing wish list quickly emerges, especially if the functional areas were not bothered with the realization of this wish list, but could clearly benefit from its results. Strategies that merely work through wish lists are not strategies but remain wish lists with correspondingly reduced potential for success. Strategy also means recognizing what is sensibly possible and feasible and focusing forces.

Here we must not only recognize the problem, but should also take advantage of the opportunity: the desire to realize as much as possible of the corporate benefit from social media for the benefit of the business model can be used for a new form of perception and support of social media in the company.

Priorities for topics are priorities for business benefits

The topics of the modules of the business model are a common basis applicable in social media. The corporate benefits that can be achieved in social media are based on these topics. We have already assigned priorities to these topics based on their importance for the respective module.

Example customer relations: we have defined the topics that are important for our customer relations. We have defined the benefits that can be realized from social media for these customer relationships. If, for example, we can achieve an improvement in the customer relationship with the user benefit “exchange” “commonality” and the topics of the customer relationship are suitable for a community, the topics that are suitable for a community gain additional importance / priority within the topics of the customer relationship.

So we use priorities for topic areas both on their importance to the direct success of the business model and the importance of the topic area to supporting the business model module in social media. But even if we dropped the direct priority of the topics for the use of social media, the priority of the topics for the success of the module of the business model (in the example, the customer relationship) would be the necessary clue to prioritize the strategy accordingly.

By selecting the business benefits from social media and the topics of the social media strategy, we have taken another step towards defining the social media strategy objectives.

Topics as part of the social media strategy objectives

Topics are social media strategy objectives of strategic importance because topics indicate where the strategy becomes active, i.e., the market and the competition that we address with the strategy and thus, in turn, also which company benefits we want to and can actually achieve.

By deciding which business benefits we want to achieve through which topics with the strategy, we also define the competitive position we want to achieve in the respective topics. (remember social media is a digital business where “the winner takes it all”.

  • We have defined about the topics where social media strategy objectives should be achieved.
  • We have defined the competitive positions that we need to realize in the topics in order to

We define how we want to achieve these strategy objectives in the individual topics / subject areas via the social media objectives.

Example customer relationships: Now, if you were to decide or recommend in our customer relations example that establishing a community for our customer relations would be the goal for social media, you have a choice whether that decision is now half wrong or half right. In any case, it is not entirely wrong but unfortunately not entirely convincing either.

Explanation of this assessment:

  • In social media, as we all know, we operate in a digital environment. In other words, we have a very intense competitive environment in which the leading competitor can generally achieve the “lion’s share” of the respective market and will do so sooner or later.
  • In the communities usage format, there is a more or less pronounced network effect – depending on how much users with an affinity for these topics are networked.

The digital claim: If we want to be successful in a digitally driven market and competitive environment, our social media strategy must not only be somewhat competitive, but represent the most competitive offering in this market (translated: in these topics). Anything else is not very recommendable. This is not just for communities but for social media in general.

Consequence: we have in our example customer relations the fields in which our objectives must be implemented as a social media goal to establish the most competitive community (for these topics).

At the same time, this goal results in a whole series of further concrete social media objectives for the other strategy components via this benchmark (most competitive offer) for the content we have to provide in the topics.

Strategy objectives as touchstone of strategies

It makes sense to question the quality of social media strategies and strategy designs before putting them out there for the market to decide.

One way to do this is to compare the strategy objectives and the social media objectives with their content.

In this approach, we also consider the possible competitive reactions and their expected impact on the social media objectives and, beyond that, on the strategy objectives.

Processes for defining business objectives for social media

As described, corporate objectives for social media build on the potential performance of social media that is possible for the company. By this we mean what results and effects are basically possible for the company in its individual situation with social media – in other words, the specific performance potential of social media for a specific company.

The prerequisite for defining corporate objectives for social media is therefore a cleanly and comprehensively worked out social media performance potential for the company. Care must be taken to ensure that we actually develop this performance potential for the company in a holistic manner.

Corporate objectives for markets / customer segments / market segments

The corporate objectives for markets / customer segments inform us about the priorities

  • of the company’s individual existing markets / customer segments. From this, we can see the priority with which we should support which markets / customer segments through social media.
  • new markets / customer segments that the company wants to tap into. This results in the task of supporting the development of these markets / customer segments through social media.

It is not necessarily to be assumed that the company wants to open up new markets / customer segments. Clarifying this point in good time before creating a social media strategy is the responsibility of social media management.

Corporate objectives for the value propositions

The corporate objectives for the value propositions inform us

  • what priority the company’s current value propositions have. We take this priority into account in the social media strategy definition.
  • Whether the company will offer new value propositions, and if so, what they will be. This results in the task of supporting the introduction and marketing of the new value propositions through social media. Again, taking into account the performance potential of social media for specific value propositions and the competitive and resource situation.

From here, the social media management fetch obligation applies to future value proposition priorities and any new value propositions envisioned.

Corporate objectives for customer relationships

The company’s objectives for customer relations inform us of the following

  • which existing customer relationships have which priority for the company (type of customer relationship, not individual customer relationship).
  • whether and how existing forms of the company’s customer relationship should be changed (exploiting the potential for change offered by social media for customer relationships).
  • which new customer relationships the company wants to establish and manage.

The company may not have corporate objectives for customer relations. Or it is not clear to what extent social media can be used to support or intensify existing customer relationships or to build new customer relationships. In these cases, social media management has a duty to inform about the potential for performance and change for the company’s customer relationships.

Corporate objectives from the channels of the business model

Corporate objectives for the channels of the business model can be found

  • in corresponding priorities that state which existing channels of the business model should be promoted in the future. This results in a corresponding task for social media.
  • in corporate objectives for building new channels or changing the use of existing channels in the business model. This can also result in tasks for the company’s social media strategy.

The duty of social media management to provide information includes, above all, information about the possibilities of supporting the company’s position in the channels of the business model. In addition, it is the task of social media management to clarify the company’s priorities for the respective channels of the business model.

Topics and subject areas Areas as the basis of corporate objectives

Explanation: We use themes and subject areas as the basis of our strategy. This orientation is helpful for deciding on the company’s objectives for social media because it brings together the requirements of different sources and facilitates more precise strategy development. On the other hand, this orientation requires explanation for the management. It can therefore be helpful to supplement information about the social media performance potential and possible corporate objectives with the areas on which these objectives have an impact (market, competition, business model).

As a reminder, markets can be defined by the company individually, so they are elements defined by the company. Topic areas emerge based on the behavior and interests of social media users.

For example, we can use as business objectives for social media

  • Increase the priority of markets / thematic areas: from the company’s point of view, these markets / thematic areas are crucial for the success and future of the company. For social media, this would mean that we focus on these markets in order to contribute to a better position in the market/competition. The subject areas / markets would be central to our strategy. Our strategy would therefore have to be geared to achieving a leading position in these markets.
  • Maintain the priority of markets / subject areas: thus our strategy in social media must help to secure this status quo. In concrete terms, this also means that our strategy and its components must be able to cope with current and expected competitive situations.
  • Work markets with lower priority: this is the case, for example , if the company wants to continue to generate sales in this market, but does not want to secure the existing market position at any price. This market is of less importance to the company than the markets in the previous examples. The company prefers to invest in other markets with higher priority. For the social media strategy, these markets / topic areas thus have a lower priority, even if they should not necessarily be completely neglected.

The corporate strategy should, of course, also be reflected in the investments in social media. That is, we need to consider the company’s priorities for each market (and their topic areas) in our social media strategy development. It is therefore understandable that we take a very specific approach to the corporate strategy when developing the social media strategy.

Source of information: The decisions in which markets the company wants to invest more or less is a management decision. From there, we need relevant information for prioritizing the markets we want to work on with social media and for which we want to create our social media strategy. We will have to obtain this information, i.e., we will have to actively ask for it in the run-up to strategy definition. The reasoning behind this is simple: we want to design our social media strategy in line with the company’s objectives and not create counterproductive ones.

Definition and priorities of corporate objectives as an entrepreneurial task

Defining corporate objectives and prioritizing corporate objectives is not a social media management task. It is a business decision and is therefore the responsibility of the company’s management. The essential task for the management is to determine the priorities of subject areas for the company and to define how intensive the company’s commitment should be in the respective subject area. So to weigh the benefits of structural impact and impact through content and the importance of the subject area.

In practice, the company’s management is not always familiar enough with the performance potential of social media for its own company to make these decisions from day-to-day business. Occasionally, it is also still necessary to sensitize the management very fundamentally to the effects of social media performance potential for their own company. This should take place or have taken place before the actual social media strategy development begins – as part of the set up.

The task of social media management in this process is to determine the possible social media performance – the social media performance potential for the company – and to explain these findings in order to create a basis for this decision.

Impact of social media performance potential on company divisions, market / business model and competition

It is necessary for the creation of a sound basis for decision-making to make clear the social media performance potential and the associated possible effects on corporate objectives for the individual corporate divisions / business model, markets and competitive situation.

This is a primary, strategic task of social media management. Without it, strategy development for social media is incomplete. Knowing the performance potential of social media for corporate management is essential – especially if corporate management does not have a clear view or complete overview of the performance potential of social media for their company.

If social media management does not perform this task, it contributes to the fact that social media has a low significance in the company and the possibilities of social media for the company do not become known in the company.

Social media objectives

As a reminder: In the core strategy components (user benefits, usage formats, motivation, participation), we define the content with which we want to achieve the desired competitive positions in social media. In the social media action items, we have already defined content for these strategy components that we believe will deliver the best competitive performance.

After we have defined for a strategy / strategy version its themes and determined the desired competitive positions in these themes, we determine the content for the core strategy components with which we can achieve these competitive positions.

Definition of the social media objectives for core strategy components

We determine the social media objectives of the core strategy components, i.e. for

  • the strategy component Themes: here we define the competitive position that we want, can and must achieve in the respective themes in order for our strategy to be successful.
  • the strategy component UserBenefit: for this we select the UserBenefit(s) with which we are most likely to achieve the desired/leading competitive position in the topics of the strategy. The UserBenefit(s) and the implementation of this UserBenefit – in the timeframe possible for this would be the social media goal for the strategy component UserBenefit. The necessary means/resources result from the content of the user benefit and the associated technical requirements.
  • the strategy component usage formats: we select the usage format or formats with which we believe we can most reliably achieve and maintain the desired competitive positions for the topics of the strategy. Social media objectives is the installation and operation of the usage format or formats with the leading competitive position, the Period in which this is to be realized depends on the type of usage format as well as the competitive position sought, the Medium are also dependent on the type of usage format or formats and the competitive position.
  • The aim of this strategy component is to install and operate participation offerings with which we can contribute to and secure the desired competitive position in the topics of the strategy. The timeframe for implementing these social media objectives depends on the scope and aspirations of the participation offerings and their implementation, as well as the competitive position and competitive situation. The same applies to the means.
  • The objective for this strategy component is to apply the motivation methods and structures with which we can contribute most and most sustainably to the desired competitive positions in the topics of the social media strategy. The timeframe for implementing the social media goal depends on the scope and ambition of the methods and structures and their development and installation, as well as the competitive situation in this strategy component. The means depend on the scope of the methods and the structures required for motivation.

Prioritize social media objectives of core strategy components.

The social media objectives of our core strategy components vary in quality. This is due to their nature:

  • the social media objectives of the core strategy component Themes have a higher significance than the social media objectives of other core strategy components. Reason: the core strategy component Themes has strategic importance. In it, we determine the field of action of our social media strategy, i.e. define where the strategy must be successful. At the same time, we also define the required success in the respective topics in the form of the competitive position that we must achieve in these topics in order to be successful, i.e., to realize the desired corporate benefit. The task of the objectives of the other core strategy components is to realize the desired success in the topics of the strategy.
  • Prioritize the other social media objectives according to the importance of the core strategy components to the success of a social media strategy.
    • User benefits are second only to topics in importance. The user benefit defines the impact of the strategy in the market, has direct requirements on the usage format and on the social media channels, and impacts on participation and motivation.
    • The usage formats are the organizational-conceptual format of the user benefits, i.e. they define the form and shape in which the user benefits take place.
    • participation opens up social media resources and thus the lever with which we can scale success in social media.
    • motivation has an impact on user behavior and thus also on the success of the strategy. Motivation has an impact through engagement (on social media and off), supports as well as participation. Motivation Participation and UserBenefit should be understood and designed as a triad or trinity due to their interaction and importance for the success of the strategy.
    • The social media channels carry the content of the strategy – i.e., user benefits, usage formats, participation, and motivation – to the users. In terms of content, they are defined from these core strategy components. Therefore, the objectives of the strategy component should serve the objectives of the other core strategy components accordingly.

Summary Social Media objectives

At the end of these steps, in addition to the benefits of the strategy for the company, we have the impact area of the strategy in the form of the topics as well as specific social media objectives for the core strategy components.

The following is a summary of social media objectives (excluding timeframe and means) from the core strategy components.

  • Social Media objectives Topics: the competitive positions to be achieved in the topics.
  • Social Media Goal UserBenefit: Install and operate the user benefit(s) that can most contribute to the desired competitive position.
  • Social media target usage formats: Install and operate the usage formats that can most contribute to the desired competitive position.
  • Social Media Goal Participation: Install and operate the participation offerings that can most contribute to the desired competitive position.

Measurable social media objectives

Our social media objectives consist of a field in which they are to be delivered (topics) and a result to be achieved in that field (target) as well as a timeframe in which the social media goal should be achieved and the means by which it will be achieved. Measurable social media objectives result when our actions are designed to achieve measurable objectives. However, not every measurable social media goal equals a meaningful goal. The key is whether this social media objective also measurably contributes to the success of the strategy (i.e., supporting the success of the business model via the selected corporate benefits of the strategy).

  • You ensure that your social media strategy supports the company’s success in its day-to-day work through a causal impact chain that links the effect of the individual measures in social media to the company’s success in a measurable and causal way.
  • By defining and recording measurable objectives via this causal impact chain, you can recognize whether and to what extent these measures contribute to the company’s success.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

For day-to-day work, we use and need metrics that tell us how the realisation of our social media strategy is progressing, that is, what results we are getting from our strategy in advance of the social media objectives and objectives for the business model. We defined these key performance indicators from the content of our measures. We do not necessarily measure everything that can be measured, but everything that has a direct connection to the end result of the strategy – the company benefit from social media for the business model.

The following is guidance for defining KPIs for the social media objectives of the core strategy components.

  • KPIs for user benefits can be developed, for example, from the utilization of user benefits in relation to the base users of the social media offerings in defined time periods.
  • KPIs for usage formats can be defined from the reach and engagement of users in the usage formats.
  • KPIs for participation are best used in a meaningful way via the level and scope of participation.
  • KPIs for motivation can be defined for the respective motivation methods and the use of the motivation structures.