The latest social media figures from Simon Kemp, Hootsuite and We are social are out and here are the highlights.

"More than 4 billion people around the world now use social media each month, and an average of nearly 2 million new users are joining them every day."

"The world is spending more time on social media too, with the typical user now spending roughly 15 percent of their waking life using social platforms."

"Social media adoption has jumped by more than 12 percent in just 3 months"

"The time we spend using connected devices continues to rise"

"A clear ‘age gap’ defines digital use in the workplace"

"Marketers may be missing out on some of today’s biggest digital opportunities"

The research is clear, social media has changed society and changed the way we do business.

Total world population: 7.81 billion people

Number of people using mobile phones around the world: 5.20 billion

Global internet users: 4.66 billion

Worldwide social media users: 4.14 billion - 53% of the world's population use social media in other words, more people use social media than don't use it.

However, when it comes to social media, users clearly prefer mobile devices. Kepios analysis reveals that 99 percent of the world’s social media users access via mobile devices, but just 1 in 5 use a laptop or desktop computer.

The struggle we see for business is that leaders are "scared" of social media.  Sales and Marketing leaders "think" they understand social, or won't admit they don't.  The same for sales people, they think they understand social media, when they don't.

Here is an example, Mark Woodhams, a Senior Sales VP from Blackline thought he knew all about social and was blown away - see this post.  

Another example is James Stirk, he wrote an article about how he thought he knew all there was to know about social and how wrong he was. 

And Catherine Coale, wrote about how Telstra Purple was transforming to being a "social" business.  A social business, not being a non-for-profit, but being a business that uses social strategically, rather than tactically. 

Don't believe me, contact them.

Social Media Adoption Accelerates

The number of people using social media around the world has grown to 4.14 billion in October 2020, with that figure passing the momentous 4 billion user milestone for the first time this quarter.

Analysis by Kepios shows that more than 450 million people started using social media over the past 12 months, equating to annual growth of more than 12 percent. 

That means that an average of more than 14 people started using social media every second since this time last year, which is even higher than the rate we saw last quarter.

Indeed, the latest data show that social media growth is actually accelerating.

More than 180 million more people used social media between July and September compared to the previous three months, equating to an average increase of almost 2 million users per day.

That’s roughly double the growth rate that we reported back in January, and represents the largest quarter-on-quarter increase that we’ve seen since we started producing these reports back in 2011.

The days of saying "my clients are not on social" are over. Either was, we know from Gartner that there are ten people in a decision making team, and while one person may not be on social, the other nine are.

We can also take that a step further, in this interview with Lee Welsh, Sales Leader for the Microsoft Azure sales team.  He talks about how he is using "changemakers" to share content in accounts.  This is where using your own influence (as a sales person) on social media, you can influence accounts.  Changemakers will then take your influence and share this wider in the accounts you are trying to influence. 

In this interview, Danielle Guzman of Mercer talks about the ROI she gets from empowering her employees on social media.  While her brand creates a certain amount of business, her employees creates 4 times this.  Which is a business case in itself. 

Much of this quarter’s growth in social media use is the direct result of the new habits that people adopted during COVID-19 lockdowns. 

However, despite the extraordinary circumstances, we don’t expect overall user figures to fall back again once people return to more ‘normal’ routines, although we can expect some volatility in the user numbers of individual platforms over the coming months.

Social media accounts for more than one-third of our connected time, with people now spending an average of almost 2½ hours per day on social platforms.

Added together, this means that the world now spends more than 10 billion hours per day using social media, which equates to more than 1 million years of human existence.

Using Social Media In The Workplace

Roughly 9 in 10 Gen Z respondents say that they use messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Slack to communicate with their colleagues each week, but barely half of respondents aged 55 to 64 have integrated these platforms into their regular repertoires.

Interestingly, some of the biggest disparities relate to the use of social media.

More than 4 in 5 workers aged 16 to 24 say that they connect with colleagues via social media platforms each week, but that figure drops to less than 1 in 3 amongst Baby Boomers.

Meanwhile, despite accounting for the largest group of social media users when it comes to their personal lives, people aged 25 to 34 are actually less likely to use social media to communicate with their colleagues than people aged 16 to 24.

These findings have critical implications for organisations everywhere, because they highlight important differences in the ways that people of different ages – and at different levels of the organisation – communicate.

Without careful management, these varying preferences could lead to ‘siloed’ communication, resulting in knowledge gaps and cultural divides across different parts of the organisation.

Here at DLA Ignite, we run our business on social, using Slack.  This removes the time suck you get with email.  In my previous company we used social to run the business and made a number of employee experience gains, such as

Maternity returners were able to contribute faster, while this had a bottom line impact this had a major impact to returners well being.

Salespeople contributed faster, we cut 6 weeks of the traditional salesperson's time to sell.  Again this had a massive bottom line impact.

Get products to market quicker.  Meetings where shorter.

In fact we found that the efficiency of employees went up by 20%, giving us an additional 20% of employees at no extra cost.

(In this report by McKinsey they say that using social media internally should be able to increase employee efficiency by some 20 - 25%.  While this report is from 2012, it is still relevant today.)

Users Vs Visitors = Lurkers

Data from our new partners SEMrush offers valuable new insights into the audiences of some of the world’s top websites and social platforms.

One of the most interesting take-aways from this data is that platforms like YouTube and Twitter continue to attract significant numbers of visitors who don’t log in in order to use each service.

However, the latest data from SEMrush indicates that nearly three times as many people visit Twitter’s website each month.

While that might sound surprising, our hypothesis is that a significant proportion of these ‘anonymous’ visitors treat Twitter like a news website.

Because most tweets are accessible to people even without them logging in, there’s perhaps less incentive for more ‘passive’ visitors to create a Twitter account, or to sign in even if they have one.

However, this raises important questions about Twitter’s role and positioning, both as a company, and within the marketing mix.

Overall, my sense is that the media – and perhaps even investors – continue to underestimate Twitter’s value as a communications channel, and we may need to rethink where Twitter fits in our plans in order to appreciate its full potential.

Trends for 2021

Evolving search behaviours: more than two-thirds of the world’s internet users already go beyond search engines when they’re researching products and services to buy, but we expect voice search, image search, and social search to play an even more important role over the coming months.

A rebalancing of digital audience demographics: with COVID-19 acting as a catalyst to bring many more older people online, organisations can now use digital to reach a wider variety of audiences than ever before. This represents a clear and immediate opportunity for marketers, especially when it comes to ecommerce. However, this broadening of online audiences may also trigger a new wave of digital innovation, resulting in new platforms, new services, and even new devices.

Let's look at the current methods of generating leads.

Digital Advertising

Yesterday I had a fascinating conversation with a Martin Lucas for an up and coming #TimTalk (my podcast) and the following figures are engagement rates for digital advertising.

1.61% Facebook

1.91% Google

0.35% Programmatic (this is where ads follow you around when you browse)

That means that digital advertising has a 98.81% failure rate and based on the amount of money that is spent on digital advertising, that means that $265 Billion is wasted on digital advertising every year.  Let's move to email marketing and the latest research (during the pandemic) from Hubspot.

Email Marketing

According to Hubspot, the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April 2020. Said differently, 98% of our efforts to reach new prospects failed.

Hubspot say in the report "Sales teams are sending about 50% more email to prospects than they were pre-COVID, but responses continue to drop. Last week, sales response rates hit an all-time low for 2020 at 2.1%, a lower response rate than Christmas week 2019."

Diagram above, from Hubspot showing the number of emails being sent going up and the response reducing. 

Hubspot also said "These trends tell an important story. Email prospecting, to put it bluntly, is out of control. It's easy to send thousands of emails with just a few clicks, and in a chaotic time, we understand why sales teams are sending so many. But volume and quality is a tradeoff — the time a team saves by sending out email blasts is wasted if that outreach isn't personalized, relevant, and helpful. These gaps are clear in the data."

What Does Gartner Say About Marketing and Digital?

Interesting article by Gartner, here are some of the highlights

"Over the next five years, an even greater rise in digital interactions between buyers and suppliers will break traditional sales models."

"The Gartner Future of Sales 2025 report predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. Chief sales officers (CSOs) and other senior sales leaders must accept that buying preferences have permanently changed and, as a result, so too will the role of sellers."

 "Sales organizations must be able to sell to customers everywhere the customer expects to engage, interact and transact with suppliers"

"Gartner defines the future of sales as the permanent transformation of organizations’ sales strategies, processes and allocation of resources, moving from a seller-centric to a buyer-centric orientation and shifting from analog sales processes to ....  digital-first engagement with customers."

"Gartner research shows buyers typically only spend 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers when considering a purchase. With less and less customer face time, virtual selling via digital channels will predominate."

"B2B sales reps need to embrace ... a new manner of engaging customers, matching their sales activity to their customers’ buying practices and information-collecting needs."

If digital marketing isn't getting the returns it once did and the customer has shifted to digital, what Sales and marketing leaders to do?

Where Do We Go From Here?

For those unsure of what to do, DLA Ignite will complete a review of your current social / digital / virtual / remote selling capability.  For free. 

We will take your team (up top 10) and perform a complete root and branch Social Media Performance Assessment.

Sales, Marketing, Management, Technical, HR. Procurement ....whoever you want to include.

This will include: Profiles, connections, followers, inbound and outbound activity, content, engagement, follow up, results.

(Happy to provide the list of deliverables).

We will map your business against the DLA Ignite baseline and present back to you our findings. We will show you where improvements can be made and what results should be expected.  No hard sell, just present back to you a road map.  

You entered lock down analogue, this is your chance to leave this pandemic, digital.

Please contact me here or one of the DLA Ignite team here, so please pick one of our industry experts or one of our experts in your geographical locality.  Our website is here.