MOST major brands have a social-media strategy aimed at consumers, and Facebook is seen as more effective than Twitter, according to a report released this week.
The South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study by World Wide Worx and Fuseware showed that 95% of brands were active on social media platforms. Some 51% thought their Facebook campaigns were effective and 33% believed they were effective on Twitter.
"The survey shows that corporate South Africa has woken up to social media, but it hasn't yet figured out how to dress for the role," said Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. "Most large companies are still neutral on the impact of social media and are still feeling their way."
The study found 5.33million South Africans were on Facebook and 2.43million on Twitter. But home-grown instant messaging service Mxit remained the biggest social network with 9.3million users.
First National Bank (FNB) has taken cognisance of Mxit's value, announcing a partnership between its eWallet solution and the social network's MXit Money offering.
Dubbed FNB Moola+, the new service will allow Mxit users to buy moola, Mxit's online currency, at discounted rates.
"eWallet is more than just a money transfer solution, and we are continually extending the functionality," said Yolande van Wyk, CEO of FNB eWallet Solutions. "With the integration into Mxit we are taking advantage of the micro-payment potential of Mxit moola."
Fuseware MD Mike Wronski said the survey of the 61 major brands found Mxit was used as a marketing tool by only one out of five large brands.
"This compares to Facebook, with nine out of 10 using it, and YouTube, with two out of three," said Wronski.
Some 49% of the companies surveyed had retained the services of a marketing team to manage their social media accounts, while 18% left it up to public relations firms and another 18% outsourced the service.
Most of these companies (70%) said they used social media as a PR channel, while 62% used it as an integral part of their marketing campaigns. Less than half used it to generate sales to customers.
Measures of the effectiveness of these social media accounts presented difficulties. While 74% used the number of followers as a measure, only 24% measured the number of their own customers who follow them on Twitter.
Most respondents also measured Twitter effectiveness by the number of comments or mentions, but only 40% analysed whether this type of engagement was positive or negative.
*This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times
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