This research comes out every quarter and I highly recommend that you, check it out. 

It's free, not gated and is a global break down of the state of social media, as well as the global position, it also covers countries and geographical areas.

The research is paid for by Hootsuite and We are social and put together by Simon Kemp.

If you are going to follow one person on LinkedIn, then it should be Simon

Hootsuite and We are social, of course, run webinars off the back of the research, why wouldn't you?  That said, they are not "pitches".  Both companies create highly informative, insightful and educational webinars off the back of the data. Again, I am highly recommending them. And they don't pay me to say that. Right, back to the blog. 

This blogs takes you through some highlights of Simon's findings on social media and buyers using social media to undertake search research.  I have also added in some of my own insight.

"The state of digital in April 2021

Let’s start with a look at the latest global digital headlines:

The world’s population stood at 7.85 billion at the start of April 2021, which is roughly 1 percent higher than the figure for the same time last year.

There are 5.27 billion unique mobile users around the world, which means that more than two-thirds of all the people on Earth now have a mobile phone.

Internet users have grown by 7.6 percent over the past year to reach 4.72 billion, which equates to more than 60 percent of the world’s total population.

More than half a billion new users joined social media platforms over the past 12 months, taking the global total to 4.33 billion by April 2021.

It’s also worth noting that social media continues to be a key driver for broader internet adoption, and the latest research from GWI indicates that almost 99 percent of global internet users aged 16 to 64 use a social network or internet-powered messaging platform each month.

Here at DLA Ignite we have seen a massive move to social media. When we set the business up 5 years ago, we had seen that social had changed the world in terms of society and business. The pandemic has accelerated this, with buyers and sellers not able to have face-to-face meetings, and with shops closed, people have become comfortable online.

My 83 year old mother has transformed her wine meetings from face-to-face to online and she has (had to) master Zoom.  I've attended lectures, concerts, council meetings all online and we have all come to see this as the norm.

With we go back to the way it was before? No. 

Social media adoption accelerates again

One of the big surprises in this quarter’s data is that social media adoption continues to accelerate, despite the rapid pace of growth we’ve been reporting since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kepios analysis suggests that there are more than half a billion more social media users in the world today than there were this time last year, representing year-on-year growth of close to 14 percent.

To put those figures in context, the number of social media users has increased by an average of more than 1.4 million each day over the past 12 monthsthat’s equal to 16½ new users every single second.

This rapid growth has propelled the global total to 4.33 billion, which equates to more than 55 percent of the world’s total population.

That total is also 3 percent higher than the figure we reported just 3 months ago, meaning that social media user numbers grew twice as fast in the first quarter of 2021 than they did over the previous three months.

That is a quick snapshot of the current state of play with regard to social media and how social has become the defacto place to be for sales and marketing.

How social has impacted the buying process

One of the changes that are taking place with social is the movement to use social media as a place for search and research.  We have been seeing this in business-to-business (B2B) for a number of years, but we are also seeing this in Business-to-consumer (B2C).

For example, if we take a typical (simple) buying process.

1. Problem identification

2. Explore Solutions

3. Requirements Building

4. Supplier Selection

Linkedin is particularly strong in all aspects of the buying process, once a problem has been identified that a business will explore solutions.  Let's not forget that buyers hunt in packs.  What I mean is, there is more than one buyer for an organization.  This means you will get multiple people, with differing views and experiences searching and researching what they see are answers to the defined problem.  This is all without the solution provides and their sales people knowing what is going on. 

This social activity of B2B buyers helps them put together a list of vendors they want to engage with (who have helped them complete their buying jobs and shape their requirements).  It stands to reason that, the businesses that are good at social today are shaping the requirements of the modern buyer and have great pipeline.  The people that are crap are social are struggling for pipeline.

Only then will the shortlisted vendors' salespeople rightly deserve the opportunity to demonstrate their sales skills close the deal with serious buyers.  And that is why it's essential to be active on social, sharing helping, educational insights.

LinkedIn is also useful for requirements building, in fact all of the way through the buying process.  If you are looking for solutions social is a great place to hang out, it is also a place for all aspects of content.  If you have a board meeting for example, to present a recommendation, social is the place you will go for research behind your presentation and make sure you are well versed on the risks and issues.  You never know what you will be asked at the Board.

So how is social shaping search and research? 

Evolving search behaviours

We’ve been tracking the world’s evolving search behaviours for a few quarters now, and the latest data show that ever more people are going beyond conventional search engines to find information about brands.

GWI’s data suggests that more than 7 in 10 internet users now use or visit some form of social platform or tool when looking for information about the things they’re interested in buying,

The figure for brand research on social networks is even higher amongst younger age groups though, with nearly 54 percent of women aged 16 to 24 saying that they visit social networks when looking for information about products and services.

This drops to just below 30 percent for users over the age of 55, but that still represents a large and compelling opportunity for marketers.

If this article has been useful and you think it would be helpful to your network or individuals then please share it.  Please also tag in the individuals.  

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