In this blog, I'm going to take the latest social media report by We Are Social and Hootsuite, complied by Simon Kemp and break it down and provide some industry insight.

Before we dive into the state of social, let's look at the state of some of the alternatives to using social.

If you are a marketer or a business leader, your business is probably using digital marketing and / or email marketing, because that's cutting edge, right?  Wrong.

What ROI Would You Expect From Digital Advertising?

As part of my podcast, back in October 2020, I had a fascinating conversation with a Martin Lucas and he explained the following figures are typical 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

Based on the amount of money business spends on digital advertising, it means that $265 Billion is wasted on digital advertising every year!   (That's even before you take into account the money lost to ad fraud.) 

What ROI Would You Expect From Email Marketing?

According to Hubspot, (let's not forget that Hubspot sell email marketing tools are are therefore pro, email marketing) the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April 2020. Said differently, email marketing has a 98% failure rate.

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

I'm not sure about you but anybody standing up at the Board and saying they are investing in digital marketing and email marketing and saying "we are investing in activities that have a 98% failure rate are going to be brave people". 

If digital advertising and email marketing no longer work, what should a business do?

So what's the alternative?  How about using social media?  Now I'm not talking about using advertising on social media, that isn't social, it's, advertising.  It's like saying you are a football manager, because you advertise on the hoardings as a football match.

Are you tactical with social or talking in an echo chamber?

I'm not talking about using social media tactically, where somebody in marketing might post something every two weeks, or a VP posts something and you are all asked to jump in. A CEO sent me a post the other day, he was very proud of, it had received 40 likes.  Which is great.  The problem was that 35 of the likes where from his own reports. The problem with this is that business is talking on social in an echo chamber.  

What is the measurable outcome, in meetings, leads and revenue?

This is about using a world beating, proven methodology to use social media strategically as a way to get get leads and meetings, to nurture sales through the buying process and to close deals.  Good "old" selling but in a modern format.

Before we jump into a couple of case studies for selling on social (the returns will blow your mind), let's looks at the way social has "eaten" the world.

The state of the nation of social in 2021

COVID-19 has introduced a new set of challenges and opportunities, so digital in 2021 will be anything but ‘business as usual’.  I'm going to explain, why we need to change the metrics that guide our social media ‘mix’.

"This new Digital 2021 report, was published in partnership between We Are Social and Hootsuite and shows that connected tech became an even more essential part of people’s lives over the past year, with social media, ecommerce, streaming content, and video games all seeing significant growth in the past 12 months."

You can get the numbers and the reports from this report here.

Essential headline

Here are the headline stats and trends for the global ‘State of Digital’ in January 2021:

"In terms of Social media: there are now 4.20 billion social media users around the world. This figure has grown by 490 million over the past 12 months, delivering year-on-year growth of more than 13 percent. The number of social media users is now equivalent to more than 53 percent of the world’s total population."

Using social media at work

We know that 4.20 billion people use social media worldwide, but did you know that 40.4% of these people, 1.7 billion people use social media for work.

Social media adoption surges

"As we’ve been tracking in our ongoing series of quarterly Statshot reports, social media growth has accelerated significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Social media user numbers increased by more than 13 percent over the past year, with nearly half a billion new users taking the global user total to almost 4.2 billion by the start of 2021.

On average, more than 1.3 million new users joined social media every day during 2020, equating to roughly 15½ new users every single second.

The typical user now spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media each day, equating to roughly one full waking day of their life each week.

Added together, the world’s social media users will spend a total of 3.7 trillion hours on social media in 2021 – equivalent to more than 420 million years of combined human existence."

Mobiles have become the ‘first’ screen

"The latest data from GSMA Intelligence shows that two-thirds of the world’s total population uses a mobile phone today.

This figure has remained steady for the past few years, but that’s perhaps not surprising when we consider that the world’s 5.2 billion mobile users equate to more than 85 percent of all the people on Earth aged 13 and above.

And perhaps more tellingly, App Annie’s flagship State of Mobile 2021 report also reveals that mobiles now account for a greater amount of people’s time than live TV. 

This is the case even in the United States, where the average American now spends more than 4 hours per day using their mobile phone, compared to roughly 3¾ hours each day watching live TV."

Online time jumps

"In total, the average internet user now spends almost 7 hours per day using the internet across all devices, equating to more than 48 hours per week online – that’s a full two days out of a seven-day week.

Assuming that the average person sleeps for between 7 and 8 hours per day, this means that we now spend roughly 42 percent of our waking lives online, and that we spend almost as much time using the internet as we do sleeping."

Online search behaviours are changing

"Finding information is the main reason why people go online, with almost two-thirds of the world’s internet users saying this is one of their top motivations.

However, the latest research from GWI shows that the world’s search behaviours are evolving, and their changing behaviour has important consequences for anyone hoping to engage a digital audience.

Conventional search engines are still an essential part of the mix of course, with a massive 98 percent of respondents saying that they use a search engine every month."

Social search

"Perhaps the most interesting trend in evolving search behaviours is the rise of social search.

Roughly 45 percent of global internet users say that they turn to social networks at least once per month when looking for information about products or services that they’re thinking of buying."

However, that figure is considerably higher amongst younger age groups.

Indeed, Gen Z internet users are now more likely to start their brand research on social networks than they are to turn to a search engine, and trends suggest that this will soon be the case for younger Millennials too.

Teach me, don’t tell me

"Digging a bit deeper into online search activities, this year’s reports reveal that people are more likely to research “how to do things” on the internet than they are to look for information about specific brands, products, or services.

This finding has particular salience for marketers, because it offers valuable insights into the best ways to engage an audience.

For example, rather than merely telling people that your brand is the ideal solution for a particular problem, a ‘how-to’ video may be a more effective way of capturing their attention.

Teaching people how to get the best out of your products and services is a great way to add mutual value, improve satisfaction, and potentially boost contextual relevance and recall.

People are actively asking for this kind of content, too.

You maybe think, that this research is a one off, or driven by people with an agenda, how about if other companies, and research said something similar? 

Research From All These Companies Back This up

Mckinsey say so, Gartner say so, Hootsuite and We Are Social say so, Hubspot say so, Google say so, MIT say so, Trustradius say so Twilio say so .... 

There seems to be a clear movement (and winners and losers) between analogue and digital companies. 

A CEO just said to me

He believes in a "K" shaped recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic.  That is, with the companies that absorbed and invested in digital growing in this post-pandemic world and those that didn't invest, fading into obscurity.  He said to me...

 "there is a race on.  First we need to shock people into understanding that the world has changed.  Second, we need to give them the skills to work in the changing world."  

He went onto say "By giving my team(s) “new world” skills will gives us a competitive advantage."

Interesting that he finished by saying

"The thing is there is a “burning bridge” and we need to make sure we are over that bridge."  

Who's doing this?

We talk to a lot of people who say "we are all over social" when you ask them what this means, they are actually still treating social as a tactic.  Somebody in marketing might post something from time to time, a VP might post something and an email is sent around for everybody to "like" it.  All tactical.

I always ask people "so how much business, did you get out of your last post?"

I usually get blank looks.  I clarify my question "so how many leads or meeting do you get from your posts on social?"  If you want to see how companies are accelerating by using social as a strategy, read on.

Case Study 1.

This is Eric, he's one of the team at DLA Ignite here is a post that he put up.  We have all seen posts like this, we see them everyday, but people treat social tactically.  You post, because you think you have to or somebody tells you you should and walk away.  Let's talk about this post. 

 Eric's post of his 16 year old son, Austin, on his Birthday got 18,000 views and 165 likes, which is great.

But better still, he got 6 - C-Level meetings from this post?  How?

Let's stop and think about this for a second.  

This post took 10 minutes to create and it got 6 C-Level meetings, how come?

Because, all of Eric's post are strategic.  He knows exactly why he is posting it and knows how to monetise it.

He doesn't always post "humanised" content, I'm using this as an example.  

But an example of why you need to get your employees and sales team on social, just think of the $ impact to your business.  Especially if you scaled this across your business. 

How does Eric do this?  He builds relationships with prospects and customers and because they have a relationship with a human, not a brand, people are happy to engage.  Eric is also able to cut through the myrmid of noise that brands keep putting out.  If you are a buyer, where will you spend your time?  Reading an advert that says "buy my product because it's great" or look for the insight and educational content that people like Eric is putting out?

To quote Priscilla McKinney, who is one of our global partners

"When we're on social we're either improving it or we're polluting it. They [polluters] think more of "crap" is more. No. It's just crap."

Case Study 2

In this case study, Danielle Guzman, talks about how Mercer, empower their employees to talk on social.  The ROI (return on investment)?  Danielle explains how Mercer as a brand will develop the business a certain amount of business, because they are well known in certain markets.  She also confirms in this video how empowering people on social and giving them personal brands gives Mercer 4 times more revenue than the brand. 

In a recent article, Nick Dangles, co-founder of Kinetic, was asked for his best advice on social selling and he said

“The best advice I can give about social selling is that it’s not about selling. It’s about creating meaningful and engaging content that will resonate with your audience. Approaching social selling with the intent of providing something of value will give much better results than simply pitching your company on social media,”  

Don’t let fears or misconceptions about digitizing hold you back

Going back to another recent article.

"In summary, remote selling is here to stay. Hitting revenue targets now depends on investing in ... your people. If you can execute these strategies in the face of change, the winds of 2021 will be in your favor."

Where Do We Go From Here?

Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing in the form of case studies, what we are doing for other businesses to transform them to digital.  No hard sell, just practical examples.

DLA Ignite is a global business and we understand that a "cookie cutter" approach to digital does not work, we have to take into account local language and cultural sensitivities.  Which is why we have built teams across the globe, that can support you by country and industry sector. 

For more information contact me here, visit our website, or visit our Linkedin company page and contact one of the DLA Ignite team members.