2.3.1 Basics performance potential audience 1 of 2

Learning objective basics performance potential audience: The following content will enable you to

  • Understand the audience as a social media usage format and
  • Assess the potential and limitations of an audience for developing a social media strategy.
  • assess the performance of social media channels for the audience usage format more competently and thus avoid bad investments.

Reading time: approx. 31 minutes

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

This content is not intended to be an instruction manual for the construction or practical use of an Audience, although it does include guidance for its practical use. The goal of this content is to show you how an audience works to the point where you can evaluate the use of an audience in a social media strategy.

Basics performance potential audience

Social media usage formats describe and define the performance potential of social media into specific categories. The individual social media usage formats differ significantly in terms of both performance and requirements. With the help of social media usage formats, the performance potential of a social media strategy, like the performance potential of a social media offering, can be determined much more easily and reliably.

Audience definition

An audience is a social media usage format that is based on a sender-receiver relationship. Primarily, information is disseminated from a sender to the social media users / recipients who have subscribed to that sender. Receivers can react to this information and thus also become transmitters on a smaller scale.

An Audience can be integrated into other usage formats. For example, be part of a social network platform or community in the form of a blog or magazine.

Nature of the Audience

Audiences are a usage format in which its users engage in a more consumptive, passive behavior. This practiced behavior is convenient for the user, but leads to lower engagement and participation. Getting members in an audience to react / participate requires a correspondingly large motivation, a corresponding cause.

Disseminating content through an audience requires relevance and activity for the recipients.

Relevance must be able to be ensured by the quality of the reach or the selection of relevant recipients (e.g., via profiling) in a reach. This requires either technical possibilities (selection within a range) that are not available in every platform or correspondingly structured range(s). It must be possible to ensure topicality through media performance and quality, which requires corresponding resources.

Audiences are based on a sender-receiver relationship, i.e.

  • that information flows from a sender (the company) to the individual recipients. Networking between the users of an audience is not a goal. Communication between the users of an audience is also not a characteristic of an audience.
  • the social media user is presented with a role that reduces his or her behavior. It is not, in fact, equal. Ultimately, Audience applies a media communication concept that existed before social media to social media. The Audience is a social media immigrant, so to speak. This reduction in the role of the social media user contributes to the reduced impact of the audience.
  • This relationship is not so pronounced that it per se easily leads to further engagement on the part of the users. This means that audiences are less able to tap into social media resources, i.e. the resources that social media can offer a company, than communities can.

Audiences types

Audiences can be used in different formats and in combination with other usage formats. The basic suitability and the corresponding prerequisites for the successful use of an Audience, such as the performance profile of an Audience, also remain in a combined use.

Types of content according to thematic focus

Audience can be established as Brand Aud ience or as Theme Aud ience.

Brand Audience: The content of the Brand Audience revolves around a brand . With a brand audience, the company usually tries to strengthen the customer loyalty of a brand. Brand Audiences can also contribute to customer acquisition, information generation and VKF. Brand Audiences primarily tap into customers and interested parties of one’s own company/brand. The most important means of the brand audience is content, and this content predominantly revolves around the brand.

Topic Audience: The content of the Topic Audience covers a topic selected by the company . With a thematic audience, the company usually tries to tap the market potential / the market behind a topic, i.e. to build up a thematically oriented reach. Topics tap both customers and prospects of the own company as well as non-customers (including customers of the competition). The most important means of the brand audience is content; content revolves around the topics of the audience.

Topics Audience vs Brand Audience: Brand Audiences reach people who are interested in the brand – in other words, they tend to tap into the circle of customers and active prospects. Topic audiences reach people who are interested in a topic – in other words, they tap into the market behind the topic in question.

The power of Brand Audiences lies more in customer engagement. New customers are most likely to be reached through existing customers (and their personal networks).

The power of Topics Audiences lies in market development. Customers and non-customers alike are addressed via a topic. New customer acquisition here runs through the content and the existing users and their networks.

  • Topic audiences are therefore systematically more powerful in acquiring new customers.
Types of audiences by platform

Single Platform Audience: In this case, an audience is formed on a single platform. Examples include audiences on Facebook Pages. The advantage of simpler handling – the content does not have to be distributed across multiple platforms, only one platform needs to be monitored – is countered by the disadvantage of possible coverage losses / loss of potential if the platform only partially covers the intended target groups. At the same time, there is the risk of being dependent on the future of a single platform.

Multi-platform audience: The audience is distributed across several platforms . Multi-platform audiences arise when one platform alone does not have sufficient coverage of the target group or is not dispensable but also not sufficiently powerful. This increases the support effort, but on the other hand provides limited protection against the risk of being dependent on a single platform.

For audiences in third-party platforms, we are dependent on the quality of the respective platform and the terms of use of the provider. The company is thus increasing its dependence on third parties. In addition, we may need to overcome technical and conceptual barriers and hurdles. This may require additional resources and or result in performance degradation. Example: the Facebook Page news feed algorithm.

Types of audiences by content source

The sources of our content have a formative impact on our Audience.

Company content: the Audience content originates from the company itself or from service providers commissioned for this purpose.

  • This approach has the advantage for the company that it has the most comprehensive influence on the content of the audience.
  • The disadvantage lies in the demand for scope and quality of the required content. Users can usually only take note of the content and, if necessary, share, comment or like it.

Curated content: audience content is gathered from a wide range of sources according to the selected topics.

  • Advantage: the sources for the content are more diverse and thus possibly more colorful and interesting. The company is not under permanent pressure to provide all content itself.
  • Disadvantage: the copyrights must be considered and licenses must be obtained.

User-generated content: the Audience’s content is created by their users.

  • Advantage: the pressure to perform for the company is eliminated, the costs for content are relatively low.
  • Disadvantage: the company has little influence on the content and its quality and quantity.

Combined content sources: Content comes from different types of sources.

  • Advantage: less expensive sources, a wider range of content and the integration of own content into an active environment are possible.
  • Disadvantage: the more complex the content sources, the higher the demand on content management. Topics, quality, quantity and rights require more content management.

Audiences in combination with other usage formats

Audiences can generally be combined with other usage formats. However, this is currently rather uncommon. Below are the advantages and disadvantages, as well as the requirements of each combination.

Combination Audience – Community

Properties: A community core is established in an Audience. The community core is smaller than the audience. The platform must be suitable for audience and community.

Benefits: Audience can benefit from community members through content, management, or other services. The community can manage the audience. The company benefits from the community’s management of the audience both economically (resources) and through the higher impact (credibility).

Possible applications: Hardcore fans and volunteers Further engagement, networking of users, and participation opportunities to tap the community potential in an audience. Interesting for fire and theme audiences.

Audience and user generated content

The content in an Audience is predominantly editorial in origin. This means that a company creates or procures content and distributes this content via its audience to its users.

The defining element of an audience is the sender-receiver constellation, not the editorial origin of the content. This means that in an audience we can use both editorial content and user-generated content, even if the latter is one of the exceptions in the market.

The advantages of an audience with mixed content (editorial and user generated) are

  • user-generated content is more cost-effective for companies – this enables them to use significantly more content.
  • User-generated content from the middle of the audience increases the attractiveness and credibility of the audience and can thus become a unique selling point.
  • User-generated content may be closer to the interests of the audience than content created outside the audience.

The disadvantages of a mixed content audience are

  • User-generated content varies in quality. This requires a certain curation of the content to ensure a desired standard.
  • Content curation can be perceived negatively by users who contribute content.
  • Audience management requires – to a much lesser extent – community management approaches for users who contribute content.

The use of a mixed content audience is recommended among others

  • for topics that are close to being suitable for a community, but for which too little activity is expected.
  • as an alternative to a community if the company is not up to this standard. When making this decision, the risk of being outflanked by a community must be considered.
  • as a differentiation and unique position compared to other audiences.
  • in the need for higher performance content that the company cannot meet.
Audience communication

Audiences are sender-receiver concepts in a social media environment. Audiences work according to the “follower principle“.

Follower principle: you follow a “source” (broadcaster) because of the content, or because of the source. The follower is usually primarily interested in content.

Audiences are less communication-oriented than social network and community. They are focused on content distribution (sender-receiver). It is therefore not surprising if the users of an audience become active communicatively themselves rather in exceptional cases.

Performance potential and organizational classification

The example of the audience shows a fundamental problem of social media. Because of its performance potential, social media affects a large part of both the business model and corporate functions. The company can try to more or less do justice to this through isolated solutions or through an acceptance and consistent orientation of the classification of social media on the basis of its overarching performance potential.

Audiences, as we will clearly see from the business objectives of an Audience, are not an issue of a single functional area, even though individual functional areas have started using social media and Audiences.

If we only use Audiences for one functional area, we dramatically reduce the company’s benefit. Not only are we narrowing our focus on performance potential, we are also foregoing the benefits of that performance potential for the entire company. The fact that this narrow view of social media cannot be permanently meaningful is also shown by the fact that, for example, human relations today no longer works without the use of social media. A separate social media strategy for human relations would – after the initial social media strategy of marketing – certainly have to be followed sooner or later by a social media strategy of sales, customer service, if one were to follow this logic. Somewhat less poor is the adaptation of existing social media structures and strategies to social media use by other functional areas. Developing a consistent cross-company social media strategy at the beginning of social media use would certainly be the optimal solution, but it is generally not done at the beginning of social media use. The solution of a revamp of social media usage would be the alternative with the “boosted social media strategy of marketing”. Which of these alternatives is more recommendable can, in my opinion, only really be adequately assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Requirements for an Audience

Market requirements for an Audience

Under market requirements, we summarize the conditions that should exist in the market for the use of the Audience usage format to make sense.

The market requirements for an Audience (for companies) are relatively low and mainly concern the following points

  • Importance of the topic(s) of an audience: the topics must be relevant enough for – a sufficient number of – social media users to search for these topics in social media or to inform themselves about these topics in social media.
  • Relevance as a market: behind the topics of an Audience there must be a relevant market for the company.
  • Audience cost-effectiveness: the use of the Audience must be cost-effective for the company – compared to other content distribution alternatives.

Importance of the subject: The subject of the Audience must be of a permanent or regular interest. So users need to be interested in content more often – preferably on a regular basis.

key learning

  • If users are interested in a single problem solution and not in the topic itself, the topic is not necessarily suitable for an audience.
  • If the problem is of a frequent or regular nature, an audience can rather – but not necessarily – be built on it.

Relevance as a market: A regular interest in a topic can establish an audience. Whether this audience also makes economic sense depends on its economic significance. This economic significance is defined in the first step by the market behind the topic(s) of an audience. If there is no market or if this market is not relevant for the company, an audience for this market is also not relevant for the company.

key learning

  • the relevance of an audience also depends on the relevance of the market for the company.

Cost-effectiveness of the audience: If an audience can generate economically relevant revenues or other economic benefits, such as reduced costs, an important decision criterion for the development and operation of this audience is positive.

Building and operating your own audience only makes sense if the audience can survive on the market in the long term. If the topic is already successfully covered by one or more other audiences, this permanence is questionable if these thematic competitors do not have any weak points that can be used to establish one’s own audience successfully against these competitors on the market in the long term.

Alternatively, one can try to achieve one’s goals by using external / third-party ranges, or we can switch to another – preferably more powerful – usage format, if the conditions for this are met.

Audiences – decision criteria

If an audience is the only possible social media usage format, there is no need to decide which usage format is recommended for the company in the market. If there are alternatives, we can decide according to gut feeling or work out the decision based on various criteria.

For the decision on the use of audiences are

  • Company goals
  • User behavior
  • Competitive situation
  • Corporate priorities and resources

the criteria of choice.

The business objectives that can be supported with an Audience have already been covered in this section. When considering the corporate functions that are to be supported by audiences in social media, please remember that these should also only be permanent or at least long-term goals of these corporate functions and that these audiences should always be focused on the same subject areas / markets / target groups. If we are only interested in short-term, campaign-oriented communication, building audiences for this purpose should be examined more closely. As long as the campaigns always revolve around the same topic, address the same users, the audience can be maintained between the campaigns and the user benefit of the audience is maintained between the campaigns, this approach can make sense. Whether the effort of an audience as a “playback station for marketing campaigns” makes economic sense and whether the audience can be kept attractive for the users between the campaigns is a question that needs to be answered carefully and also self-critically.

User behavior has special weight when deciding whether to use an audience. If users take note of content only occasionally, if no social context is relevant for this content, or if networking and exchange within the relevant subject areas is not an issue, there is much to be said for audience as the remaining usage format.

Competitive situation: If the user behavior also enables other usage formats, we decide with the Audience for the usage format with the lower competitive performance. This offers competitors the opportunity to build up structural competitive advantages in social media with more powerful offerings. Thus, the choice of an audience at the expense of competitive alternatives should be made with this consequence in mind. This aspect is additionally addressed under the heading Audiences instead of other usage formats. The competitive situation between audiences should also be appreciated and not underestimated when making this decision.

Business priorities and resources: Audiences require sustained resources. Unlike campaigns, they cannot be run on demand and then paused. Companies tend to underestimate these resource needs in quality and quantity, as well as competition at the audience level. Whether an investment in an audience for a topic area makes sense depends not least on the priority of the market behind it and the profitability of the audience usage format.

Corporate benefits and objectives for an audience

Corporate goals of an Audience

Audiences without commercially relevant goals are irrelevant to business success. An Audience has to serve business objectives if it is to make business sense for a company. The social media goals of an audience result on the one hand from the corporate goals that are to be supported by the audience and on the other hand from the nature of the audience.

The decision to use an audience as a usage format is a matter of business objectives. An Audience can serve a whole range of business objectives that can be found in these categories:

  • Support of the business model: the Audience supports one or more components of the business model with its services.
  • Support of corporate functions: the Audience supports one or more corporate functions with its services.

An Audience can serve multiple business objectives and the business objectives of an Audience can come from either category. However, it is generally not advisable to give a social media usage format a large number of business objectives. Overloading with goals tends not to lead to success but to the opposite of that.

Corporate benefit of an Audience

Support of the business model through an Audience

We use the Business Canvas from Osterwalder & Pigneur for the analysis of the business model and focus here on the modules

  • Customer segments
  • Value Propositions
  • Channels (of the business model)
  • Customer relations

We exclude the other modules of the business model here for economic reasons, even though they are not completely irrelevant. For example, because audiences in social media can potentially reduce communication costs or generate revenue or support key partners.

Support of customer segments through an Audience

Assuming appropriate suitability, we reach our customer segments via one or more audiences. This allows us to address and inform target groups and users in a more targeted manner than via more general audiences. The more specific our customer segments are, the more interesting this approach is – always provided that the other requirements for the meaningfulness of an audience are also given.

Support of the value proposition through an Audience

If we can use an audience for our value propositions, this offers the opportunity to influence users who are part of this audience via content and information on needs and services. Both – needs and performance – are the foundations of our value propositions and thus a core part of our business model.

  • If our audience reaches social media users via topics related to their needs – with reference to our services – we support marketing by tapping into users with needs that match our services.
  • If our Audience reaches out to social media users about topics related to our services, we use this to support both the marketing of the services and attitudes about our services and their value.
Supporting the channels of the business model through an Audience

As a reminder, the channels of the business model are the channels in which the company reaches its customer segments, i.e., addresses its customers and potential customers, establishes customer relationships, and markets and provides services. These can be both the company’s own channels, such as its own sales channels (field sales, branches, online stores.) and external sales channels such as retail (online, offline).

Social media itself can at least also be used as a sales-generating channel. Social media platforms of external operators are in the process of using their platforms as sales channels with online stores or supporting sales via their platforms.

The benefit of audiences for the channels of a business model that uses branches can be explained by the sometimes helpful example of customer magazines: we can use them to inform users more comprehensively and attractively about services and their use, benefits and characteristics than is usually possible at the point of sale. Since we should think and act in social media primarily in terms of mobile communication, we can integrate these audiences and their use directly at the point of sale by reminding them of the respective audience information and making it available in stationary or mobile form and, of course, shareable in the case of the mobile variant. This benefit applies to both the company’s own stores and retail outlets.

Note: the cost advantages of not using print and its distribution allow economic savings (corporate goal) or make it possible to use this communication tool in the first place.

Supporting customer relationships through an Audience

Customer relationships can be fostered and strengthened by useful content from an audience, or built in the first place. Audiences can be used for customer relations in a similar way to customer magazines, but the cost advantages make it possible to use them in this form for companies that would have failed because of the cost of print. However, beyond the cost benefits, digital audiences are more powerful due to the advantages of, for example, customization such as content production. Digitization enables greater user participation, which can extend to a partial community. If the alternative for supporting the customer relationship is between audience and community, this decision must be understood strategically: there are fundamental, far-reaching differences between the two usage formats in terms of competitiveness and market impact, and not least the effect on the customer relationship.

Social media is worth a closer look and review of this attitude, especially for companies that have so far refrained from maintaining a customer relationship for cost reasons. Customer relationships are now a value in themselves, rather than a waste product of sales. Social media makes it possible to consolidate and expand this customer relationship and also to turn it into an economic potential in its own right – always assuming that the prerequisites for this are met on both the market and the company side. At present, the deficits in craftsmanship on the part of the company often weigh so heavily that economic success is prevented under the given conditions in the market. Nor is this exclusively a problem for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Support of business functions through an Audience

In the following, I will deal with the general support of individual corporate functions insofar as this is of strategic importance.

Audiences for marketing / market communication

Audiences are used today primarily for the dissemination of market and sales-relevant content in a sender-receiver constellation, i.e. they are a topic of market communication and thus usually located in a functional area of marketing / market communication.

Perspective Risk: Audiences are at risk of being understood too much from the perspective of pure reach and platform for implementing marketing campaigns in social media when connected to marketing. This would lead to narrowed usage and therefore narrowed audience success. The strategic significance of this risk lies in its impact on success for the company and in the resulting weakness that opens up opportunities for the competition.

key learning: Audiences not only offer marketing the opportunity for a change of perspective, they require it.

Change of perspective: even if examples usually limp, the change of perspective of marketing for the role as operator of an audience can be understood as a change from advertiser to publisher.

For marketing, the use of audiences creates the opportunity and challenge of operating its own communications infrastructure. Depending on the media used, the variety of channels and their intensity, this can result in an animal-like change. Using audiences to extend marketing campaigns adapted to social media is not wrong per se. As a core or focal point, the social media benefits of these types of audiences are unlikely to persuade users over the long term. Long-term audiences with corresponding user benefits, on the other hand, are capable of taking the marketing of corporate services to a new level.

Audiences for sales

Designing and implementing audiences for sales without overselling is not always easy. Generating leads is less a question of the volume of offers than of the user value of the audience. The better a suitable UserBenefit can be linked to business lines, the more promising the Audience approach to sales support. In the perspective, we have to combine the character of a permanent infrastructure with that of the sale in such a way that the user is provided with a user benefit that is as permanent as possible and perhaps even motivates him to share.

In principle, this actually requires a reorientation of the sprinters of sales to an understanding of the permanent marathon of an audience. Not every person and not every structure is unreservedly suitable for this. For the use of an audience for sales purposes to be at all promising, the examination of this suitability and an organization that can meet both requirements is a prerequisite for success. And thus strategically relevant.

In my opinion, a service structure that is operated through social media and linked to sales with coordinated processes and interfaces would be a more practicable solution than the approach of “turning around” sales. Successful use of an audience can thus contribute to a significant increase in sales success, while at the same time relieving the sales staff and improving the sales situation.

Audiences for customer service

Audiences for customer service purposes are recommended for disseminating information on the use of company services, for providing solutions to problems and also for communication around successful use of company services (success stories). This makes it possible to realize one-time cost savings and at the same time ensure higher quality and quantity in customer information. This is fundamentally not an innovative approach. It merely combines the familiar with the possibilities of social media. The inclusion of user-generated content here, for example, once again contributes to a more cost-effective performance of customer service, but also increases credibility in particular.

Audiences for product / brand management

Brands are created in the minds of consumers. Or they remain an illusion of marketing. Social media supports the process of brand building by transporting the content that leads to this brand building among consumers through audiences in which the brand image is communicated and kept current. The more successful it is that users engage with and identify with the brand, the more successful the branding. The idea of users becoming friends of the brand is a popular one, but should be taken with a grain of salt. People primarily make friends with people. If it is to succeed in getting people to embrace an idea – in the sense of agreeing with it – this idea must be something special, convincing and useful.

Building and maintaining brands can be the core task of an Audience, but this goal can also be pursued together with other Audience goals. In this case, the other content should be compatible with the goal of branding and brand maintenance. This is not always and automatically given.

Audiences are generally well-suited for distributing content for branding purposes. However, using an audience does not automatically lead to successful brand building.

Audiences for Human Relations

Audiences for human relations are generally rarer and usually little more than platforms for information about job profiles and the opportunities to pursue the respective profession in the company. Content is more likely to be used from the perspective of the business and the business benefit. The more the audience and its content are focused on the benefit of the corresponding users, the higher their contribution to the company’s success can be.

However, building an audience in a social network platform as a basis for disseminating job offers is not a convincing and lasting approach. This UserBenefit is, at best, one-time and short-term in nature, and appeals to a relatively narrow target audience.

Imagine an Audience,

  • which deals specifically with job profiles and current job offers.
  • which deals more broadly with the content of education and training, career, job-related personal development, issues of cooperation and conflict resolution in the process, and other job-related content that is relevant on a daily basis.

The question of which of the two audiences will be used more interestingly and permanently as a source is rather hypothetical in nature – assuming a successful implementation.

Cost-effectiveness and strategic potential: The question of the cost-benefit comparison of the two audiences can be completely different. Purely from the point of view of contribution to current recruitment and the costs incurred by the Audience in the process, the comprehensively designed Audience may well be less attractive. Let’s broaden the perspective and see the opportunity that lies in such an audience beyond the aforementioned perspective of cost-benefit calculation for recruitment. Then the expanded audience may be more relevant because it is significantly more competitive, can cover one or more industries, and thus has the potential of a stand-alone business model.

Aids and potential: The different perspective – and the associated criteria – show us in this example how far the performance potential of an Audience extends – from an aid for a corporate function to the independent potential of a business model.

Thinking one thought further: we operate with structures in a highly competitive environment. This applies to social media and, in many respects, certainly to human relations (which we abuse as an example). So we are competing in the same market with different structures. What are the competitive opportunities between the narrowly placed Audience and the more widely placed Audience? In the “I’m looking for a job now” situation, the closely placed still has a good chance. If it goes beyond that, it is more or less out of the running. The more comprehensively positioned audience has the potential to “steal the thunder” from the more narrowly positioned audience by recognizing potential candidates earlier, knowing them better and being able to address them earlier. And with this approach may also be able to generate additional revenue. Unfortunately, the potential for audiences of this type – like communities – as a digital business model is limited in the market.

The business benefit to be achieved with an audience comes from the business goals, it is not a social media goal, but it is a strategy component in pbsm.

All the contents of the social media strategy come together in the pbsm strategy components. These strategy components describe the content of the strategy for the respective part of the strategy and provide important goals and tasks for the day-to-day work. The corporate benefit that we want to achieve with an audience is therefore included in the corporate benefit component of the social media strategy.

In order for the company benefit to be achieved in the market, we not only have to define the benefit we want to achieve in concrete terms, but also define just as concretely how we want to achieve this benefit and implement this in the conception of the audience as well as in the daily work on the audience.

  • key learning: it makes less sense to build up an audience and fill it with content if the benefits are not clearly defined and an integral part of the day-to-day work.

You can quickly see whether this has been implemented in practice in a specific case. Ask employees about the specific business benefits and how those benefits are achieved. If you are dealing with a competitor, check the content and the structures of the audience to see what benefits can be achieved – in other words, what business goals are supported by the respective audience and how.

Social Media Effect Audience


An audience works primarily through its content, which is distributed in a sender-receiver constellation.

Information has the following dimensions as a criterion for success

  • Quality (of information): factual quality in the sense of accurate information, but also originality and exclusivity.
  • Quantity (of information): Frequency according to the expectations of the users and the competitive situation of the topics.
  • Relevance (of the information): thematic relevance for target groups and topics
  • Benefit (of the information): practical benefit from the information in the sense of applicability.

Communicative exchange among users is not a core component of an audience. This reduces the internal and external impact of an audience. The active user of an audience can share his insights and experiences with other users inside and outside the audience (low internal and external impact). The audience has an effect primarily through information (social media effect: information).

With an audience, we can still achieve multi-level impact. In the first stage, we reach the participants of our Audience, who – at best – respond to the content that reaches them. If this content is passed on, we reach – beyond our own reach – in a second stage further social media users from the social network of the users of our reach. If content is also shared by users in the second stage, we achieve an impact with further stages that extends far beyond our own reach. Our content then goes viral.

Even though the primary impact of the Audience is based on content, this impact is amplified – not only quantitatively – via sharing with other social media users through the associated recommendation. We can facilitate the sharing of our content through appropriate features(participation) and support it through motivation that rewards sharing.

In general, the better we reach the personal networks of the users in our reach with the content of our Audience, the higher the impact we achieve with our Audience. That’s why viral-ready content is the desire of every social media manager running an audience.

Practice: in everyday life we are more than happy if we manage to actually reach a larger part of the audience with our content. This is due to the use of the audience by users, the content orientation of the audience, lack of motivation, difficult participation or simply little relevant content due to heterogeneous interests of the audience and lack of selective production and distribution of content.


The role of motivation in an audience is directly related to the content we use. We are interested in the users of our audience engaging with our content and – in the best case – recommending it to others. Gladly also beyond the Audience.

We can – and should – support this desired behavior with the appropriate motivation. This motivation must once fit the needs of our users, correspond to the content and be technically available in sufficient quality. As much as this sounds like a matter of course, it is not a matter of course to take full advantage of the opportunities this approach offers.

The restrictions lie

  • in the technology of the platform we use. If we do not have access to this and the prerequisite for the use of systematic motivation is not in place, we will not be able to leverage an essential driver for the growth and activity of our Audience.
  • in the conception of our Audience. We may have simply forgotten to develop and implement a motivational structure that convincingly rewards desired user activities.
  • in the management of our Audience. Even if the technical and conceptual prerequisites of a convincing motivational structure have been created, it must not be lost in the day-to-day business. Changes, adjustments and extensions are a topic that should not be neglected, as well as monitoring the development of the motivational structure. What once worked well must be kept current in a dynamic environment to avoid being lost.


We know participation in an audience in the form of the classic formats of likes, comments and the possibility to share or rate content. Furthermore, the participation of social media users in an audience is rather rare.

We could use significantly more meaningful participation opportunities,

  • the integration of user generated where this makes sense in terms of content.
  • the editing or curation of internal and external content by users
  • The supervision of discussion forms on various topics.
  • Participation in the management of an audience

The establishment and operation of a community of particularly committed users of an audience with tasks in the development of content and in the management of the audience can significantly relieve the own company and bring about an enormous gain in attractiveness and performance.


Audiences are not communities, but content can provide a sense of community and contribute to audience appeal through this sense of belonging. However, this approach only works if the audience’s topic is suitable for it. People who don’t want to get involved in a community or topics that lack the final appeal for a community can benefit. However, the performance quality of a community cannot be expected this way.

Exercise own company

Define the following components of a possible Audience for your company. If multiple audiences are possible for your company, select one of them.

  • Describe the most important topics that should be covered by this audience.
  • Describe the business benefits that can be achieved with this audience for the components of the business model and in competition.
  • Describe the UserBenefit that should result from this Audience.
  • Describe the competitive quality of the UserBenefit compared to competitive offerings in these subject areas.
  • Describe the functions that must / should be included in the Audience and justify their necessity.