75 Social Selling Stats You Need to Know in 2023
Over the past few years, social selling has grown from a crazy, unexplored concept to an integral part of modern-day business.
At Reply, we define social selling as “a sales technique that relies on social media to find, connect with, engage, and nurture sales prospects” with a focus on providing value.
It’s a subject very dear to our hearts that we deploy in our day-to-day business (we’ve also done a post on the Top 5 Social Selling Tools if you’re ready to jump right in).
Yet, is it a good fit for you and your company? We’ve scoured the web to put together a definitive list of statistics illustrating the importance of social selling to help you best direct your efforts and enjoy the most benefits.
Is it easy? No. Does it pay off? Certainly yes.
Pour yourself a drink, take a seat, and read on.
Want to take a guess on the most popular social network in 2022?
That’s right, Facebook is king, with over 2.9 billion active users
(17% more than its closest competitor, which is surprisingly YouTube)
The statistics show it’s still growing too. Although things aren’t looking as rosy for Twitter. They’re now below Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Instagram, with no signs of making a comeback (well, unless Elon brings the bird back to life) 🕊.
In case you need further convincing, here are some more eye-opening findings by Statista to get us started:
- In 2022, there are currently 4.59 BILLION social media users - about 58% of the entire world population!
- Just for comparison, the number was just 2.46 billion back in 2017
- In 2019, there was an estimated 2 billion digital buyers
- In 2021, ads on social media had global revenue of $153 billion
- By 2026, this number is expected to grow to over $252 billion
Unsurprisingly, 90% of all people that go online use social media.
Just think about it, not thousands, not even millions, but billions of people that are actively shopping online.
Google’s recent study on online shopping behavior suggests that:
This is also backed by another research from Google, finding that more than half of all global shoppers are “informed consumers”:
Linkedin has become the number 1 social network of choice for businesses, so they must know a thing or two about social selling. Highlights from their 2022 State of Sales Report include:
- buyers ranked social media 3rd in how they wish to be contacted by sellers (34%), way above newsletters and cold calls
- top-performing salespeople were 53% more likely to have expanded their LinkedIn network since 2021 than their average/underperforming peers (coincidence much?)
In one particular case study by Buffer, they found that 73% of marketers believe social media has been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.
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22.7% of internet users use social media for work-related networking and research
Content posted by employees on their personal accounts receives 8x more engagement than content posted on brand channels. Food for thought.
This underlines the dire need to establish a strong, trustworthy brand reputation, as well as an individual online reputation for every company representative in the game.
WebsiteRanking’s in-depth research summarized the most influential internet statistics for 2022 across numerous topics, including social selling:
In 2022, the B2B audience mostly preferred these social media platforms:
They also provide some rather interesting facts on every social media platform.
Instagram analytics state that:
- over 200 million users visit business accounts daily
- 80% of their total users are actively searching for different product options
- 90% of all users follow at least one business account
Facebook stays strong over the years:
- It has become a mega shopping venue for over 1 million brands and 200 million active monthly buyers
- In 2020, Facebook accounted for 25% of all digital ad spending by US businesses, just 3% short of Google
LinkedIn is where most of the B2B action is happening:
- It's included by 93% of businesses in their marketing strategies, be it for social selling, networking, straight-up paid ads, or all of the above.
- LinkedIn research shows that profiles with a clear profile picture are 14x more likely to be viewed/replied to, so make sure to say cheese 😀
As we can see, even though Facebook may be the most popular social network, it’s far from the best option for B2B sales. LinkedIn is the real goldmine for lead generation and social selling in the B2B world.
Businesses should keep an eye out for social media channels that may not be at the top (yet) but are steadily growing in the social selling world.
In a huge survey by Hootsuite, companies were asked to select their top 3 most effective social platforms. There was a 700% increase in choosing TikTok and a 1200% for Snapchat in a short span of a year! (from 2020 to 2021)
Hootsuite also published a 2022 Social Trends Report uncovering that:
- 51.4% of businesses plan to bump their social spending in 2022
- 83% of marketers are confident in quantifying the ROI of their social efforts
- 55% of marketers say their social media ads are fully integrated with the overall marketing strategy
- 65% of businesses have completely integrated their organic and paid social efforts
- younger generations turn to social media to research brands more than search engines
75% of all internet users use social media to research brands before making a purchase
Gartner predicts that by 2025 a shocking 80% of all B2B engagement will occur via digital channels, which basically means B2B businesses without strong online presence won’t survive.
Another prediction of theirs is that by 2023, 60% of all customer service requests will be managed via digital channels.
While on the topic of customer service, here are some other compelling stats:
- 64% of people said they now prefer to message rather than call a business
- 60% of consumers say they’re open to receiving personal messages from companies
- 71% of organizations have either not started investing in social customer care yet, or they don’t plan to invest in it at all.
A bit of a discrepancy, to say the least. When it comes to the future of customer service, what the actual customers want and what businesses are planning to do are completely misaligned.
InsideView has recently put together a "Modern Guide to Social Selling", which shed light on a couple of pretty interesting stats:
- Buyers are, at a minimum, 57% through the buying cycle before they want to engage with a sales rep.
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.
Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2018 research focused on cracking the customer acquisition code and found:
- 81% trust their friends and family’s advice over advice from a business
- 69% do not trust advertisements, and 71% do not trust sponsored ads on social networks
- 90% of consumers expect an immediate response from support when faced with an issue
They also conducted a study to see what sources of information customers rely on most when making a purchase decision (for business software):
In the Hospitality Industry, social selling is on a whole new level. A prominent study by TripAdvisor revealed that 98% of businesses believe online reviews are important and 97% say their online reputation is important to their success.
In another infographic, SalesForLife also revealed that:
- Nearly 82% of buyers view between five to eight pieces of content from the winning vendor
- 95% of buyers choose a vendor that provides them with content throughout the entire buying process.
- B2B organizations with sales and marketing teams closely aligned achieved a 24% faster revenue growth and a 27% faster profit growth.
Additionally, they’ve published their social selling trends report, with key findings that include:
- Sales teams who embrace social experiences report an 18% pipeline growth, 28% faster.
- 78% of social sellers hit their revenue goals compared to 38% of non-social sellers.
- Salespeople leveraging social selling experience have a 31% higher ROI than those who stick to traditional tactics.
You’re best off focusing your efforts on video
- In a survey conducted by Google, 70% of participants said that they did business with a brand after seeing one of their YouTube advertisements (guilty)
- Videos posted on social media have earned new customers for 93% of businesses
Another report published on eMarketer looked into how social commerce affects growth and found that around half of all US adults made at least 1 purchase via social media in 2021.
Worldwide, social media purchases reached $492 billion that year and are expected to hit $1.2 trillion by 2025.
Social selling is built on trust and transparency. The days of slightly exaggerating or deceiving consumers in the name of sales are long gone. In fact, it’s probably the worst decision a business can possibly make.
86% of consumers believe transparency is more important than ever before, and 73% are willing to pay more for brands that guarantee complete transparency.
But there’s another crucial part of social selling that affects lead generation and sales, and that is
Want to know how much that warm referral you get from social selling is worth?
Annex Cloud found that referral marketing generates 3-5x higher conversion rates than any other channel.
This is pretty convenient for businesses given that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as those of their friends and family.
This is backed by the renowned G2 that found 92.4% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase a given product after reading positive reviews. SproutSocial weren’t that far apart in their 2022 Social Media report with 88%.
49% of consumers make purchasing decisions based on their favorite influencer recommendations on social media. This is the reason so many businesses turn to influencer marketing to reach new audiences.
Reputation and trust come hand in hand, and without trust - there will never be any sales. In LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2018 research, the number one factor most salespeople agree leads to a closed deal is trust (40%).
Hubspot also backed up the importance of referrals with an infographic from PostBeyond.com.
- 65% of new business comes directly from referrals, and the benefits don’t stop there.
- Those referred customers go on to spend an average of 13% more than regular customers.
- Around 78% of consumers admit being influenced to buy a product by posts from their favorite brands they follow on social media.
- Decision-makers are 4X more likely to make a purchase with a referral from a friend.
How much of a difference would that make to your turnover? 💰💰💰
Even if you’re not necessarily planning on ‘selling’ through social media, it’s still crucial to be present there to interact with consumers from all over the world.
68% of consumers agreed that social media encourages them to interact with different brands, which brings them endless long-term value.
Looking forward, the top channel companies plan to incorporate is YouTube, with 55% having already added the video-sharing network into their marketing strategies this year.
In their 2017 Digital Marketing Plans Survey, social media was ranked as the third most effective channel to include in a digital marketing strategy. The only channels rated more effective were websites and email.
However, the same study showed 40% of marketers found social media one of the most challenging channels to execute, alongside websites.
LinkedIn’s report on The Deeper Meaning of Social Selling by Industry showed 14 industries that have more than half of their revenue influenced by social selling.
The top performers were Computer and Network Security (67% revenue), Computer Software (also 67%), and Marketing and Advertising (66%).
In their latest study from October 2017, Ascend2’s Marketing Technology ROI report revealed that 35% of marketers believe technology-driven social and relationship marketing is most likely to increase ROI, putting them on the same level as advertising/promotion.
On your path to social selling, don’t forget to make every aspect mobile-friendly, after all 91% of all social media users go online via their mobile devices.
The content that you share on social media can have a massive impact
In their latest 2022 report, DemandGen mentions that 55% of buyers rely on content for purchases significantly more compared to last year.
According to this report, people are looking for shorter, more interactive content, with an emphasis on education rather than selling. A massive 96% of respondents want content with more input from industry thought leaders.
At these rates, you better make triple-sure that your marketing team has a solid content strategy in place.
Still need convincing that social selling is worth the investment? SalesforLife reports that social sellers gain 57% higher ROI from social selling vs 23% using traditional (cold calling, call lists, etc.).
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Whew, that was a lot of statistics ha!
If you’ve skipped to the bottom and are looking for the key takeaways, here they are:
- Social selling can’t be ignored. More and more customers are researching companies using social networks before making any decisions, so if you’re not there - you’re not even on the list.
- This is backed up by the fact that sales teams that include social selling consistently enjoy more success than those that don’t.
- However, there still seems to be a big lack of training being carried out, even where businesses recognize the immense value of social selling.
- Facebook may be the most popular social network in the world, but as things stand, LinkedIn takes the gold medal for B2B sales.
Statistics can be insanely helpful, but only if you act on them. I highly recommend you take the time to clearly define and map out your social selling strategy, then make sure you have the proper training and tools in place to implement it.
If you haven’t already, remember to check out our post on the Top 5 Social Selling Tools our panel of industry experts recommend.
Reply’s rich features make it a valuable part of your social selling campaign, and an integral addition to your overall sales operations.
You have all the information you need - time to get out there and get social!
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