SA Social Media Landscape 2017 implications for small business

The SA Social Media Landscape 2017 was recently released, and gives some good guidance as to what the bigger local brands are doing on social media. Some of the highlights are:

  • There are 5 social media platforms that have come to dominate: Facebook is used by 91% of brands, 88% are active on Twitter, and Youtube is used 66% of the time. The greatest increase was in Instagram, which grew from 42% to 62% of brands making use of it. LinkedIn was the only platform to see a decline – from 70% to 63%.
  • The growth of these social media platforms by consumers has slowed significantly, but engagement with them continues to rise.
  • The biggest platform is Facebook with its 14 million active users in SA. Youtube is second with 8.7 million users, and Twitter third at 7.7. million users. LinkedIn is surprisingly high at 5.5 million, but the level of frequent engagement could be argued is lower. The rising star is Instagram, with a 32% increase to 3.5 million users.
  • 85% of engagement on Facebook is on mobile devices.


So what does this mean for small businesses in South Africa?


Firstly, the more active these big brands and companies get, the more expensive it is going to become to advertise in these platforms. Simple supply and demand! The outtake is that you should start to think about building your presence earlier rather than later.


Secondly, the social platforms are all becoming established, with big audiences. You do don’t have to default to Facebook as the only way to reach your audience. You should decide which platform suits your brand and the type of message and relationship you want to build with your customers. If you want to be topical, then Twitter, create a visual identity, then Instagram, etc.


These use of video is growing significantly, and there will come a time in the not too distant future where most content will be created as video. This poses challenges for small businesses as the production costs of filming and editing video can be prohibitive. However, not all is lost – there are some clever tricks in creating ‘moving images’ that give the feel of video without the cost.


But the biggest takeout of this survey is how valuable big companies and brands are finding social media advertising. They would not be putting more and more money into it if they were not delivering returns. And the beauty of it all is … small businesses have equal access to this advertising channel!! It’s not like TV, that requires R1m to make an advert and R5 to flight it. Advertising on social media can be done for R100 a day, and reach 1000’s of (targeted) people.


Click here for a free, no-obligation digital media proposal for your local business.


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