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Social Media Trends in South Africa 2016

social media trends 2016

In today’s digital age, nothing ever seems to stay the same. So much can happen in the blink of an eye, and if you’re caught sleeping you’re bound to miss out on exciting opportunities all around you. This is especially true for social media, and that’s why we attend the South African Social Media Landscape Briefing each year to ensure we keep up with the ever-changing social media trends.

With expert insights from speakers such as Arthur Goldstuck, Ahmed Kajee and Bellinda Carreira, this year’s briefing was really interesting and informative. So much so that we thought it would be great to share a little on what we learnt.

If you’re using social media as a tool to market your business, then keep reading – you’re sure to benefit from our key take-outs below.


What We Learnt At The 2016 Social Media Landscape Briefing

Although Facebook still comes out on top with over a quarter of South Africa’s total population on board, there are a few platforms to watch out for in 2017.

Instagram, for instance, has shown impressive growth with its user number rising from 1,1 million to 2,68million, making it the fastest growing platform in 2015 and 2016! And considering the fact that the number of Facebook users aged 13-22 have seemingly lost interest in the platform (indicated by a decrease of 200 000 users), Snapchat is definitely the place to connect with younger consumers, and  is set to be the next most popular platform in 2017. Youngsters don’t want to be socializing where their parents and grandparents are hanging out…which is what’s driven them to jump ship!

Twitter comes a close second to Facebook and brands that are able to master this platform, will have the opportunity to break through the clutter because even the top SA brands are reporting they’re still largely ineffective on Twitter and aren’t confident. We’ve personally experienced how a well targeted campaign can really drive results – if you know what you’re doing.


What South Africa’s Biggest Brands Are Doing in Social Media in 2016

In order to find out which social media platforms South African consumers are currently responding to, market research company, World Wide Worx asked 116 of South Africa’s biggest brands to take part in their survey. And here’s a snapshot what they discovered:

91% of the brands are active on Facebook, and 78% are spending most of their social media advertising budget on this platform.

88%  are active on Twitter, but only 12% are spending most of their social media advertising budget on this platform (hence the opportunity to stand out).

66%  are active on YouTube, and 16% are planning on becoming active on this platform in the next 12 months.

63%  are active on LinkedIn, 17% are planning on becoming active on this platform in the next 12 months, and 5% are spending most of their social media advertising budget on this.

62% of the brands are active on Instagram, and 26% are planning on becoming active on this platform in the next 12 months. Instagram is dominated by media celebs and car brands and real photographers have fallen out of the top ten.

8% of the brands are active on Snapchat, and 33% are planning on becoming active on this platform in the next 12 months. The jury is still out on how brands are going to use Snapchat in a commercial context.


When is the best time to post on social media?

Aha, the question so many of us ask! Whilst there is  not one specific magic time, there are certainly trends that can guide your social schedules.

Tweeters start when they get to work and continue posting all day,  increasing when they leave work and peaking at 9pm. Twitter appears to be more of a week day platform, as it tends to slow down over the weekend. And stats show that the best time to tweet is Thursday between 9-10am.

Instagramers appear to prefer using their workplace data to upload hi res images, with most activity happening between  8am and  3pm.


What are the average SA stats for brands on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

So how do you know if you’re doing well on social media? One way is to compare your brand to South Africa’s averages. Take a look at numbers below and see how you stack up.

  • 108 likes and 12 comments per post on Facebook
  • 6 RT and 3 favs per tweet
  • 14k views per YouTube video
  • 24k Instagram followers (dominated by car brands)


Experts are also advising not to use engagement as a key metric for measurement success, even though engagement has increased over the past year. Social media should be measured like TV, on reach. It’s easy for anyone to like and share so it’s not proof that they’re really engaged with the content or the brand. Speaking on content, remember that context trumps content. You need to always aim to be relevant at the right time. There’s no point pushing content about kids lunchbox ideas to someone who’s child is likely to be over 20!

After a quick look at these findings, you can easily see that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube continue to be the most popular marketing platforms. But don’t overlook Snapchat, Instagram or LinkedIn, as these up and coming platforms have the potential to transform the social media scene in 2017!

If you enjoyed this blog, and would like to read more on digital marketing news and trends, then make sure you scroll to the bottom of this page and join our mailing list. And if you need help with your business social media, then send us a quick email and we’ll get back to you shortly.