Social media

How do you decide which social media channel is best for your business?

This is a commonly asked question by marketing managers around the globe.

To answer it, one needs to go back to the basics of marketing and understand your target market. Who are you trying to reach? Once you have identified your ideal customer, you need to look at how they consume content. The younger generation, what’s referred to as the Y-Gen, tend to be tech-savvy and live on social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Baby Boomers may prefer LinkedIn and possibly Facebook. However, let’s look at a few stats.

In Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, a study surveyed over 3700 marketers with the goal of understanding how they’re using social media to grow and promote their businesses. These were the major findings from the report: (Taken directly from the report)

• Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn hold the top spots for future plans: A
significant 66% of marketers plan on increasing their use of these social
• Marketers want to learn most about Facebook: While 93% of marketers are
using Facebook, 68% want to learn more about it and 62% plan on increasing
Facebook activities.
• Video becoming important: A significant 57% of marketers use video in their
marketing; however, 72% want to learn more about video marketing and plan on
increasing their use of video.
• Podcasting on growth trajectory: Only 10% of marketers are involved with
podcasting, yet 26% plan on increasing their podcasting activities and 43% of
marketers want to learn more about podcasting.
• Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most important social networks for
marketers. When allowed to only select one platform, 52% of marketers selected
Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 21%.
• Most marketers aren’t sure their Facebook marketing is effective: Only 45%
of marketers think that their Facebook efforts are effective.
• Tactics and engagement are top areas marketers want to master: At least
91% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and the best
ways to engage their audience with social media.

In the graph below, the study revealed the commonly used social media platforms.

Common social media platforms-Social Media Examiner Survey 2015

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram were the top seven platforms used by marketers, with Facebook leading the pack by a long shot. All of the other platforms paled in comparison to these top seven.

The South African Social Media Landscape

According to findings of the SA Social Media Landscape 2015 report, released by World Wide Worx and FusewareWorld, Facebook is the first high-tech service or platform in South Africa that has seen exactly equal take-up by males and females. The headline findings, announced in September 2015, showed that Facebook remained the most popular social network in South Africa, followed by YouTube and Twitter.

Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of technology market research organisation World Wide Worx says, “From a marketer’s point of view, an equally significant finding is that, of a total of 11,8-million South African users – 22% of the population – 8,8-million access it on their mobile phones. This means that targeting Facebook users is not a matter only of marketing on the Facebook website – its mobile properties are probably more important.”

The number of YouTube and Instagram users in South Africa increased, respectively, by 53% and 65% over the past year, according to the findings of the SA Social Media Landscape 2015 study. By August 2014, YouTube had reached an active user base of 7,2-million South Africans, making it second only to Facebook’s 11,8-million in social network use in South Africa. Instagram grew from 680 000 active users in 2013 to 1,1-million in 2014.

“We’re seeing the beginning of the visual revolution in online usage in South Africa,” says Goldstuck. “The global rise of video is now making itself felt here. Once the cost of mobile data comes down for the emerging smartphone market, video will become a dominant medium, strongly supported by other visual media.”

Twitter’s previously dramatic rise has slowed down, although still growing healthily by 20% in the past year – to 6,6-million users. The professional network LinkedIn has leaped by 40%, to 3,8-million users in South Africa.

A survey of 65 of South Africa’s biggest brands was included in the study. It revealed that most of the major brands are using Twitter and Facebook – respectively 95% and 92% – while YouTube and Instagram are likely to see the biggest first-time use by brands in 2015.

* The SA Social Media Landscape 2014 research report is available for purchase. It contains extensive data on both consumer and corporate use of social networks. For details on how to purchase the report go to