How SA business uses social media

A new report highlights the intensified use of social media by South African corporations, with Facebook winning out amongst the big players in the sector.

The 2013 SA Social Media Landscape report, conducted by business technology research firm World Wide Worx and social network analytics company, Fuseware, found that 93% of major brands in SA use Facebook, 79% use Twitter, 58% YouTube, 46% LinkedIn and 28% Pinterest.

Fewer than 1 in 10 used Mxit, Foursquare or Instagram.

“The big trend in corporate use of social media is that internal marketing teams are taking charge, rather than outsourced agencies,” said Mike Wronski, MD of Fuseware. “Just over half of major brands (54%) rely on their own marketing team, a further 9% on public relations teams, and only 16% on third parties.”

The report revealed that, while 53% of respondents say they will build up their social media skills by investing in training existing teams, 27% aim to rely on specialist social media agencies.

“Such investment is critical,” said Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “The survey shows that the measurement of social media effectiveness remains relatively unsophisticated.”

He pointed out that on Twitter, 83% of companies measure effectiveness by number of followers, while only 48% conduct sentiment analysis.

On Facebook, 87% measure number of fans and 79% number of posts and comments, while only 54% are assessing the tone of those posts through sentiment analysis.

The importance of social media as a business tool was acknowledged by almost all respondents: 91% agreed that it had the potential for building a business.

However, only 19% said they were getting as much value from social media as they could – indicating that most were still learning how to embrace the tool.

Nevertheless, analysis of South Africa’s top 50 brands by value reveals a strong showing: they have an average of 58,000 Facebook fans each, growing at 4.8% a month.

The average number of YouTube account views is 259,000 per brand, but with an average subscriber base for their YouTube channels of only 366.

On Twitter, they have an average of 12,785 followers each, with an average of 1,856 mentions a month.

The downside is that the average response time for these brands addressing customer issues on Twitter is 271 minutes.

“Taking more than four hours to respond to a customer in such an immediate environment shows a gap in social media that needs to be closed,” said Wronski.

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How SA business uses social media