2.3.4 Social media performance potential usage format combinations

The topic Performance Potential Usage Format Combinations provides an overview of the combination of different social media usage formats within a social media strategy or a social media offering.

Learning unit reading time: 7 minutes

Learning Objective: Basics and application of combinations of different social media usage formats.

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

Basics performance potential usage format combinations

The combination of different social media usage formats can be

  • from the targeted performance of a social media strategy / social media offer
  • from the necessary combination of different social media channels

result. In both cases, the demands on social media management as well as on the technical and conceptual structure and its implementation are more demanding than for “unmixed” offerings.

Combinations of social networks can exist within a social media offering or be used sequentially. Below are some notes on various combinations and their causes and performance potentials.

Goals for combinations

By their nature, combinations of different usage formats are additions or extensions of a usage format. In other words, we tap into a larger part of the social media potential for the company via a combination of usage formats.


The following are the most important combinations of usage formats.

Audience with dialog

In this combination, we supplement an Audience with dialog functions within the Audience. The dialog function enables individual private and or public communication (dialogs) between users of the Audience and the operator of the platform.

Cornerstones of this combination

  • Performance potential from the combination: the performance potential of the Audience increases through the integration of additional dialog functions between operators and users. Whether this higher performance potential also increases the attractiveness of the offering for users is a question of the resulting user benefit. A more extensive range of services does not automatically lead to a more attractive social media offering.
  • Possible goals of this combination are, for example, the acquisition of additional information from direct dialog – both for increasing the level of knowledge about the market and for increasing the level of knowledge about individual customers and their needs.
  • UserBenefit from the combination: If users can respond directly to an Audience’s content and receive useful and more specific / relevant information in the dialog, this significantly increases the Audience’s original benefit. The prerequisite for this, however, is that this user benefit is both recognized and accepted as widely as possible and can also be realized accordingly by the operator. It is important to consider the time window in which the user expects a reaction / response to his communication.
  • Company benefits from the combination: the user receives supplementary content that is valuable to him. The company itself can benefit accordingly from the dialog, for example by determining the demand situation and needs more precisely and learning more about individual needs and market behavior.
  • Thus, the functional area of sales / distribution or market research / market intelligence can benefit from this approach just as much as marketing. In any case, care must be taken to ensure that the procedure is coordinated and acceptable to the user.

Audience with community

In this combination, we add a community within the audience to an audience.

  • Performance potential from the combination: we increase the attractiveness of the social media offering for users who want to actively engage within a topic area. In this way, we generate an offer that has a higher attractiveness as well as a higher performance potential (use of social media resources) through the engagement of users.
  • UserBenefit from the combination: engaged users find a field of activity that corresponds to their interests, should be positive for their own ego and self-presentation, and through the feedback from the audience increases their own visibility and creates recognition.
  • CompanyBenefits from the combination: we use social media resources, which increases the own offer and its perception in social media. on the one hand by the credibility from the commitment of the users, on the other hand by their contributions like by their recommendations and further spreading.
  • Example of use: with this combination, for example, we involve users as contributors in the management of an audience, either as producers of content or as contacts for questions (dialog).

Social Network with Audience

In this combination, we complement a social network with an audience within that network.

  • Performance potential from the combination: Content in the usage format of an audience can extend the benefits of a social network if it reflects the interests of the social network’s users. However, it is important to keep the amount of non-relevant content in this audience as low as possible in order to maintain the attention, activity and attractiveness gained. This can only be solved in the long term through appropriate profiling and the correspondingly targeted distribution of content.
  • Application example for this Combination: we increase the attractiveness of the social network via the user benefits we generate through relevant content in the audience. In a professional social network, this would be regular relevant content with a clear user benefit for the most important topics of this network.
  • Company benefits from the combination: this approach (social network with audience) can contribute to the growth and attractiveness of the network (if relevance is ensured).
  • UserBenefit from the combination: an additional benefit, provided that the Audience content is actually useful to the users (both permanently and individually).

Social network with community

In this combination, we extend a social network via a community or communities.

  • Performance potential from the combination: Social networks are based on personal contacts, communities on common interests. This has a corresponding impact on the activity and attractiveness of both platform and contacts, but also on the possibilities of community management.
  • Company benefits from the combination: the benefit for the company lies in the increased attractiveness and activity, as well as, if designed appropriately, in higher information acquisition.
  • UserBenefits from the combination: in addition to expanding one’s own network via relevant topics, the attractiveness of the social network grows via higher relevant activity.
  • Examples of use for this combination:
    • for a professional social network such as LinkedIn, these would be communities that are writing on a professional topic and interacting and networking with each other within this community.
    • For a private social network – such as Facebook – these are communities that network and interact with each other within the social network to form independent communities around a specific topic – such as a sport.

Note: we can find offers in the form of groups on specific topics in the major social network platforms – such as the Facebook or LinkedIn platforms mentioned here. These groups are intended to develop the impact of communities. To date, however, there has been a lack of conceptual and technical foundations for this, such as direct networking and adequate perception of the content, to the detriment of the appeal and impact of these groups.

Community with Audience

In this combination, we extend a community with one or more audiences in the community. The Audience can be operated by the users of the community or by the operator of the community.

  • Performance potential from the combination: in the internal effect, the user benefit can be increased, in the external effect of the community, the perception of the community can be increased.
  • Company benefits from the combination: higher attractiveness and impact of the community. With a corresponding external impact of the audience, a higher reach in the topics of the community can be achieved than with a pure community.
  • UserBenefit from the combination: an additional and according to the quality of the content effective benefit from content. The user finds relevant and useful content or has to search for it within the community or he can present and profile himself with his own content.
  • Examples of use for this combination: in a professionally oriented community, operating an Audience with content relevant to that community would be an example. That is, either the operator or members of the community produce relevant and useful content on the community topic(s) – for community members or beyond.


The application of the combination results from the requirements of the respective usage formats and the specific requirements from user benefit, company benefit, motivation, participation and their requirements for the social media channels to be used.

From here, you should not be guided by an existing “best case”, but by the opportunities and possibilities that arise from your company’s individual situation.

Best cases are – and this cannot be said often enough, especially in social media – successes of the past. Social media is a dynamic environment in which further success through solutions and successes of previous generations is as likely as the new edition of the first VW Beetle becoming a million seller a second time.