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Corporate SA wakes up to social media

A new study released today by World Wide Worx and Fuseware shows that, while almost all South African corporations have some kind of social media strategy, most do not rate their presence in these media as effective.

Large corporate brands in South Africa have woken up to social media, following in the footsteps of their customers.

The South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study, released today by technology market researchers World Wide Worx and information analysts Fuseware, reveals that 95% of major brands surveyed have some form of social media strategy aimed at consumers. However, only 51% rate their efforts on Facebook as effective and only 33% believe they are 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,‚” says World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck. ‚”Most large companies are still neutral on the impact of social media, and are still feeling their way.‚”

The report includes analysis of South African consumers’ use of Facebook, Twitter, Mxit, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Foursquare, as well as a survey conducted among corporate brand owners. The headline findings of the consumer study were released at industry events in Johannesburg and Cape Town at the beginning of September, while the corporate findings are contained in the final report released today, along with detailed analysis of consumer trends.

‚”We interviewed representatives of 61 major brands, and found that corporate use of social networks tended to be a case of responding to media hype,‚” says Fuseware managing director Mike Wronski. ‚”The most popular social media platform in South Africa, Mxit, is used as a marketing tool by only one out of five large brands. This compares to Facebook, with nine out 10 using it, and Youtube, with two out of three.‚”

Other key findings announced today include:

The survey shows that that corporate brands are also still getting to grips with how to measure their social media effectiveness. While 74% use number of followers as a key measure on Twitter, only 24% measure the number of their own customers who are followers. Similarly, while 72% measure effectiveness according to comments and mentions, only 40% consider Sentiment analysis, i.e. evaluating the positive or negative tone of the comments.

An even bigger gap is seen on Facebook, where 83% of brands live by comments and mentions, but only 37% use Sentiment analysis.

‚”The survey shows that companies haven’t quite figured out what is more important,‚” says Goldstuck. ‚”It comes down to separating volume from value, and that takes time and energy, rather than just a dashboard of numbers.‚”

Wronski adds: ‚”When we asked companies what barriers were preventing marketers from getting more value out of social media, the most commonly cited was, ‚’Time to properly manage these channels’. This is the largest bottleneck to social media success. Brands are struggling to allocate resources and time to manage social channels.‚”

* For more information, visit Follow World Wide Worx on Twitter on @worldwideworx

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