Simon Kemp has just published his quarterly round-up of the facts and figures for the internet, seach, and social media. 

If you are not aware of this, it's sponsored by Hootsuite and We are social, but put together by Simon.

Simon is somebody you should follow on LinkedIn.

All of the reports going back in time are here and the latest report for July 2021 is here.

So what are the highlights?

Social networks are now the most important online destination, even ahead of search

95% of people online, now use social networks and social messaging, which places them ahead of search which is at 84%, online shopping which is 59.7%.

Numbers using social media have grown at 520 million people over the last 12 months. 

When we all think that social media cannot get any bigger, it does, this is year-on-year growth of 13%.

Social media users have grown by 0.75 billion since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Simon reckons that this number may be underplayed as research (user numbers) has been difficulty to obtain during the pandemic. 

So what about social media?

Simon says

"Of the 7.87 people in the world, 66.9% of the world has access to a mobile, 60.9% are internet enabled, and 56.8% of the world's population use social media."

Let me repeat that

  • "Social media user numbers have jumped by more than 13 percent since this time last year, with the latest data showing an increase of more than half a billion users in just 12 months.

  • There are now 4.48 billion social media users around the world, which is equal to almost 57 percent of the world’s total population.

For context, that means that more than 1 in 9 of today’s social media users started using social platforms for the first time within the past 12 months.

Furthermore, today’s user total is 147 million higher than it was just 3 months ago, equating to quarter-on-quarter growth of nearly 3½ percent."

Why this presents your business with an opportunity

How about I can pick you up tomorrow from your house and drive you to a place where all your prospects and customers hang out.  Wouldn't that be great?

All you have to do is walk up to them and have a conversation with them.  You can stay as long as you like.  This is the opportunity that social provides for your business, some call it social selling, some digital selling, some remote selling, some virtual selling.

Social selling is ..

Using your presence and behaviour on Social Media to build influence,
make connections, grow relationships and trust, which leads to
conversation and commercial interaction.

Where you are currently going wrong

In the past you called people up and pitched to them, you sent them emails and pitched to them.  Problem is, that people take those tactics and use them on social.  As I described above, social is a social network. 

Using those tactics on social is the same as you walking into a networking room and pitching at people. You wouldn't do that at a networking event as people would call security.  

Your prospects and clients are on social, now you need to go and have a conversation with them.

What do you need?

1. A buyer centric profile - this is your "shop window" when somebody "walks past" your shop window, are they intrigued by what they see and want to walk into your shop?  Or do you look the same as everybody else and people just walk and scroll past?

2. A network - It stands to reason that if you want to influence, have conversations and sell to an account you have to be connected to them.  Let's not forget, this is a social network, connecting and saying you are a salesperson or connecting and pitching won't get you far.  I know that sounds all very disingenuous, as I explained this is a social network and is different from calling people up and interrupting them.

3. Insight - The final thing you need is insight.  Leave the brochures back in the office, people can go online and read those.  Bring to your clients insight, tell them something they don't know, explain how you can solve your clients business issues.  Not as an "advert", but in a blog, like this.  I'm not telling you anything about DLA Ignite, just offering you support and advice.

If you would like help on this, don't worry, our social selling and influence course provides training and coaching to support all of the skills you need in this world of social.

Simon's conclusions are as follows

"Here are my top tips for the second half of 2021:

Focus on macro trends: it’s easy to get distracted by short-term changes in the numbers, especially when fluctuations make for great headlines. However, the underlying story seems clear: our audiences have significantly increased their use of connected devices and services over recent months, and it’s unlikely that they’ll completely return to their pre-COVID habits. As a result, growth trends in digital activity don’t face the same risk of a downward ‘correction’ that we might expect to see in areas such as stock market prices.

Prepare for change: new privacy policies, the demise of third-party cookies, and changes to online legislation are combining to create ideal conditions for advertising’s ‘perfect storm’. Of course, this may all turn out to be another Millennium Bug, but with evidence of change already visible in some of this quarter’s numbers, I’d recommend opting for safe instead of sorry. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to review which of your marketing activities depend on data and targeting practices that may be affected by these changes, and to develop contingency plans that will ensure your marketing efforts can continue.

Embrace digital utility: many of today’s most successful digital companies focus on two key industries – communication and entertainment. However, the next wave of digital innovation will likely focus on everyday utility, with the rapid digitisation of education, banking, and healthcare leading the way. These industries offer fewer advertising opportunities than a new form of entertainment might do, but the changes they’ll bring to people’s everyday activities will likely have a knock-on effect on people’s digital expectations. 

As a result, I’d recommend exploring how you might use digital channels to create new kinds of value for your audiences, rather than using them solely to promote existing products and services. Entertainment will always be a compelling option, but with a bit of careful thinking, inspirational content and how-to videos can be just as engaging as the latest dance craze on TikTok."

So who's doing this?

In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.

But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling?  Not according to Merrill Lynch.

"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"

The CRO (chief revenue officer), Richard Eltham of Namos Solutions, of one of clients posted a comment on LinkedIn about social selling. See here.

“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind”