In this new report by Simon Kemp he outlines the extent that social media has become part of our lives.  When I talk to people about social media I often hear people say "I heard that "Karen" left Facebook.  This maybe true, while Karen left Facebook, millions of people are joining social media.

Linkedin have just announced there are now 706 million people on Linkedin.  But what does this mean for us in sales?  Let's look at where we are with the internet.

Growth of the Internet

Simon Kemp research states

Internet user numbers continue to show strong growth as well, with our latest analysis revealing that 346 million people came online for the first time over the past year.

4.57 billion people around the world now use the internet, accounting for close to 60 percent of the world’s total population. 

The global total grew by 346 million over the past 12 months, equating to year-on-year growth of more than 8 percent. On average, this means that roughly 11 new users come online for the first time every second since July 2019.

What we find in our work is that use of social media closely follows that of people signing up to the internet.  In other words, as people sign up to the internet, they then sign up for social media.

For context, Akamai reports that global internet traffic has grown by as much as 30 percent this year.

The internet and Social media isn't a fad and it's not going away, in fact usage is accelerating, and now a tipping point has been reached. 

Fact: Social Media Tipping Point

Simon points out that there are now more people on social media than not on social media.  

Back to Simon Kemp's research 

Social media users have grown by more than 10 percent over the past year, taking the global total to 3.96 billion by the start of July 2020. 

This means that – for the first time – more than half of the world’s population now uses social media, with more people using social media than not.

Growth trends indicate that an average of more than 1 million people started using social media for the first time every single day over the past 12 months, equating to almost 12 new users every second.

What’s more, the pace of growth appears to have accelerated in recent months, despite the global total having already passed the halfway mark. 

Then There Was Covid19

Lenin said — 'There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.'

Covid19 has made a massive impact to this transition as the whole world has been forced to stay at home for months on end.

As the CEO of a global company, I've been amazed at how different parts of the world have been hit, exactly the same.  Having calls with India, US, Peru, Singapore, Europe, etc, etc.  The position is the same "we are on lock down, and we cannot go out".  Many of us are starting to see us gradually come out of lock down and Simon Kemp says in his report

"Lockdowns may have been lifted across many countries, but many of the new digital behaviours that people adopted during confinement have endured, resulting in meaningful increases in various kinds of digital activity."

Lock down as accelerated so many things, whereas once we were told things HAD to happen face-to-face, all of a sudden it was not the case.

Church, scouts, piano lessons, choir practice, tap dancing lessons, visiting the doctor all of these things we were told had to take place face-to face. I remember a senior church figure in the UK telling everybody that while the Government had told everybody to stay at home the churches would remain open.  He soon had to backtrack.

A friend of mine went for a job interview to be a sales VP in February and was told that all employees had to be in the office.  Which for him was a 6 hour round trip drive.  He asked "surly people can work from home?" and he was told "never".  Little did the Sales VP know that within only 4 weeks he would have to eat his words. 

The latest wave of GlobalWebIndex’s Coronavirus Multi Market Study finds that 7 in 10 internet users are still spending more time using mobile phones compared to pre-pandemic levels, while nearly half of us are still spending more time using laptops.

This change of living and working practice is sticking!

The New Normal is Digital

So when Stéphanie Genin, vice president of global enterprise marketing at social media management firm Hootsuite said this, I wasn't surprised, are you?

After weeks of adapting to Zoom parties, video appointments with doctors, online schooling, social distancing and tapping into social media for virtually everything, will people be happy to go back to their old ways of working and engaging with each other?” 

she then goes on to ask. 

The answer will be no. Social media has been holding communities together and organisations will need to assess how to manage the new normal.”

Top story: More than Half the World now uses Social Media

Simon Kemps also states ...

More than 8 in 10 mobile phone users surveyed by Ericsson report that internet-connected technologies have helped them cope during the pandemic, enabling them to support their children’s education (76 percent), stay in touch with friends and family (74 percent), and even improve their mental health and wellbeing (43 percent).

Indeed, numerous stories have emerged over recent weeks highlighting the role that connected tech can play in combating issues such as loneliness amongst the elderly

So, while there’s plenty of evidence that excessive use of connected tech can be harmful, it’s worth remembering that the same technologies can also improve people’s quality of life.

Covid19 Has Changed How People Buy

Search is Changing

Simon Kemp says 

But perhaps the most significant change in search behaviours involves the online platforms that people use when they want to learn more about brands and products.

GlobalWebIndex finds that social networks are playing an increasingly important role in people’s brand research behaviours, and are now second only to search engines.

However, the overall gap between search engines and social networks has been steadily closing over recent months, pointing to an ongoing shift in how people look for information about the things they want to buy.

What’s more, social networks are now the top choice amongst internet users aged 16 to 24 when it comes to brand research – even ahead of search engines – with younger women particularly likely to turn to social media for their research needs.

People Buy Using Social Media

Simon Kemp says ...

With roughly 98 percent of internet users across all age groups using a search engine every month, there’s no doubt that these tools continue to play an essential role in people’s online activities.

However, the latest data highlights the fact that people are using a wider variety of tools to help inform their purchase decisions.

As a result, it’s essential that marketers think more broadly about how audiences and consumers might want to discover and learn about their brands, and in particular, how they can weave search-friendly elements into their social media activities.

In a recent article by University of Edinburgh, Ewelina Lacka is a lecturer in Digital Marketing and Analytics she said about their research

"What the decision-makers made clear to us was that the most significant influence on their commitment to a supplier was its presence on LinkedIn. This may be explained by the purpose of LinkedIn, which offers a closer bond than the one-way relationship often found on Twitter and Facebook. The expectation of a supplier having a presence on LinkedIn may also offer a sense of security and transparency."

Social Media and Social Selling is Not Advertising 

Many people make the mistake and think that when we talk about social media and social selling we are talking about advertising.  We are not.

Social media is not advertising, it is being social on ... media and advertising is ..... advertising.

Advertising, (cold calling and cold emailing) is based on interruption and social selling is based on permission.  While Seth Godin wrote about Permission Marketing in his book, 21 years ago, marketing still live a life of interruption. 

The latest Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020 reveals that "brands face a fundamental reordering of priorities amid a global pandemic and societal outcry over systemic racism prompted by the murder of George Floyd."

The Edelman Trust Barometer report goes onto to say 

Brand trust is earned, not bought.  Earned media is the battleground where trust is won or lost. Personal experience and earned media were found to be the most important factors in the gain or loss of trust amongst respondents. 

Influence is built through authority and empathy, with industry experts and people like themselves rated as most credible Advertising’s effect has become diminished. 

Now, nearly 7 in 10 say that they use one or more advertising avoidance strategies. The shift from 2018 to 2020 has shown double digit increases from those who avoid ads by using ad blocking technology (+10 pts), paying for streaming services (+15pts) or findings ways to avoid almost all ads (+12pts).

What Does This All Mean for sales and Marketing?

This means for sales and marketing that Social Media usage and Social Selling is not a fad and it's not going away.

In fact a company's presence on social is now a business imperative. 

Simon Kemp's research..

"Given the broadening role of social media in people’s lives, it’s important that marketers and communicators think more broadly about where social media fits in their plans.

Critically, social media is increasingly a ‘layer’ that permeates almost every aspect of our audiences’ daily lives, rather than being a distinct ‘destination’ with a more siloed sphere of influence.

The trick to making the most of social media today is to understand how these platforms can complement and augment all of our marketing and communication activities.

My advice would be to think less about populating a content calendar, and focus more on identifying and initiating the conversations that matter most to you and the audiences that you care about. 

The Social Media Silver Bullet

Social media is not just another channel to place your "interruption" content.  Social Media is different.  Let's put this another way.

We ask people, so your cold call, your spam email, your advert, your brochure, your website, your brand awareness ...... does this sell anything.  Everybody answers "of course not, conversations are what sell things".

Social media creates conversations.

Now Let's Talk About Your September, October and November Pipeline Hole

You want pipeline to fill that massive hole you have in September, October and November of this year, the answer is very simple.  You can see that the current efforts of advertising, email and cold calling results are getting less and less, where as your audience has shifted onto social.  Maybe it's time to take your sales team and get on social too?

Not as a "random act of social" but with a data driven sales methodology.

Data Driven Social Selling

What do we mean by data driven social selling? 

We know by training thousands of sales people and transforming thousands of companies that if you "do this, "do this" you will generate leads and meetings.  It's programmatic, it's not "hints and tips" it's a methodology.  

No witchcraft, no "hope" and not because a "guru" says so, we can show you data. Here's a link to an article where we explain some of this. 

Here at DLA Ignite, we have turned social selling from an art into a science. 

You are also giving you sales team a life skill. 

Let's Summarise

We know that social media is now not a destination, it's where you clients are and they like spending time there.

We know people don't like interruptions and we like being social and we know that conversations create sales.

How about if we activated and empowered your sales people (first as a quick win) and then your employees to form relationships on social media. To create conversations .... that turn to sales.

How About If We Sort Your Pipeline?

Wouldn't it be better if we sorted that pipeline hole you are facing this year?

If you want to talk about this contact me here