From research conducted by World Wide Worx and Ornico, 118 of South Africa’s largest businesses shared information on their social media, digital strategy, and future plans. For someone in the industry, it was heartening to see the positive growth statistics of social media in South Africa over the last year.

What’s gone up?

Facebook is now used by 97% of big businesses, a rise from 91% in 2016, Instagram from 62% to 71.6%, and LinkedIn from 63% to 71.6%. Corporate blogs grew from 24% to 36% this year, and we can look forward to eight percent more businesses adding blogs to their social media bouquet – so deeper content creation is alive and well.

With video being one of Prana’s 360-degree offerings, I was particularly interested in the statistics on YouTube. Used by 60% of businesses in 2015, up to 66% in 2016, and now at 68% with 16% (the highest growth) of brands planning to add YouTube in 2018.

In real terms, the monthly active users on YouTube in South Africa haven’t grown as quickly as the 7.2 million leap in 2014, but the figures are impressive in relative terms; up by 8.28 million in 2015 and 8.74 million in 2016.

Looking at the YouTube’s social metrics engagement figure, in 2015 there were approximately 14 000 views per video, and in 2016 26 000, so there’s potential there. With regards advertising spend, YouTube comes in fifth after Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn with only 27% of businesses using ads on the platform, so again, more potential for brands wanting to push content on YouTube for better sales and growth.

The overall social media and strategy

Out of South Africa’s 118 biggest brands, two of them don’t use social at all, and out of those that did, 12% said they didn’t have a social media strategy. The question is, how do you implement something effectively (particularly at this level of business) without a strategy? Following on from this, only 47% of businesses use their social media primarily for customer lead generation, which I consider low in terms of ROI.

The good news is that although 50% businesses surveyed admit to having less than optimal digital media skills, 60% are investing in training their own people, 16% are using specialist social media agencies, and 10% a social media consultant.

To the 27% of big business who have no plans to work on their social media skills, I would argue that now would be the perfect time to invest in some necessary expertise.

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media update attended the Social Media Landscape Briefing 2018, where Goldstuck provided insights into the Social Media Landscape Report. Read more in our article, Three things SA’s latest social media stats can teach brands.