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Recent report: the ever-changing Social Media landscape in South Africa

by Ofentse Sefolo
Recent report: the ever-changing Social Media landscape in South Africa

For many business owners, navigating the myriad of social media platforms as part of their marketing-mix is a daunting task.

The recent South African Social Media Landscape Survey by Ornico and World Wide Worx offers valuable insight into how one hundred of the country’s biggest brands use these platforms to drive brand awareness, connect with consumers and importantly, what has been their return on investment.

We look at some of the highlights of the survey that may be of value to the industry.

1. Popularity per platform

There is no doubt that the world is moving into the digital space and the addition of new social media platforms, almost continuously, can make it difficult for marketing teams and business owners to decided where the best investment of marketing spend will be.


Platform usage indicates that Facebook remains the most popular platform amongst social media consumers, with Twitter and LinkedIn increasing with a ranking of above 75%. The increase in LinkedIn’s popularity has resulted in an increase in the marketing spend allocated to it, from 11% to 15%, which seems to be due to small businesses and marketing departments realising the tool’s superb networking ability.

Twitter remains a vital channel for news dissemination, public opinion and personal expression in South Africa. Contrary to the view that Twitter is primarily a vehicle for negative sentiment, the data reflects that 61% comprise positive sentiments. The most fascinating insight into the use of emojis by Crimson Hexagon Emoji Cloud is Twitter users’ preponderance for laughter as well as tears, with love and happiness closely followed. The true sentiment of South Africa – many tears overcome by love and laughter.

2. Social dominance or lag is never set in stone

The report provides valuable insight into the proportion of South Africans who are highly active users on these platforms, correlated with the penetration proportion of the sample frame of respondents.

3. Data is only 50% of the picture


Needing to demonstrate return on investment beyond clicks, likes and followers and allocating spend is a minefield for some. The report affirms that spend on these platforms is steadily increasing. It shows that one source of truth is not going to cut it. Smart companies consider multiple views of their consumers and are able to combine that with their knowledge of the industry to take their organisation to the next level.

The data will get you 50% there. Investing in smart people to unearth the nuggets will get you the rest of the way,” notes Kelvin Jonck, Managing director for YouKnow, in his review of the survey.

4. Shaping sentiment


The survey noted the importance of knowing what your consumers think and feel about your brand and what role social media platforms play in shaping these emotions. It seems that it is a great deal, as 66% of respondents noted their brand awareness increased thanks to their presence on these platforms.

Report offers valuable insight
With 2020 being what it is, the report offers vital insight into the relevance of social media platforms and their ever-changing landscape. Uniquely, this year’s report collaborated with Psychographica, a company that utilises social signals and natural language to report on the psychology and emotion expressed by social media users, offering fascinating results.

Acknowledgement and thanks are given to Ask Afrika, Ornico and World Wide Worx for the information contained in this article.

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