This article opens up with a great metaphor. 

"Few New Years’ resolutions come as a surprise. Cultivating a meditation practice, exercising more, using our phones less—how many times have we heard some version of these? Yet our advice for 2021 may come as something of a surprise: Every CEO should resolve to establish an effective social media presence.

Our research finds that by a margin of five to one employees would rather work for a leader who’s on social media. Similarly, we found 93% of financial readers expect to hear from a CEO online during a crisis, and 7 out of 10 people trust a CEO who’s online. This isn’t about leaders spending more time communicating—it’s about using that time to lead more effectively.

The most effective resolutions aren’t inspired by facts alone, otherwise our first reading of meditation’s benefits would see us become ardent practitioners. Instead, resolutions that succeed tend to have two ingredients: a spark and a system.

The spark ignites an awareness that the status quo isn’t acceptable: the heart attack that inspires a better diet and exercise, the explosive argument that leads to therapy. Last year certainly offered that jolt for the offline CEO. “The world has gone digital” more closely resembled an operational reality than a vague truism. Digital was how the most effective CEOs engaged their employees and spoke out against racial injustice. For most, leadership through a screen was the only option.

A spark awakens us to the need for change, but a system sustains it. “It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes in his bestselling Atomic Habits. “Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.”

In our experience, successful Connected Leaders can invest as little as 15 minutes of their week to discuss their weekly social media strategy and 5 minutes per day to engage online."

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.

Online search behaviours are changing

"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."

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. 

The research shows that people are on social, looking for answers, they want help, they want somebody who they can "know, like and trust" who can guide them. 

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.