South African Corporations Start To Play With Social Media

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VENTURES AFRICA – South Africa’s leading companies are beginning to use social media, reports World Wide Worx, although only a few are maximising the capacity of social media sites as effective business tools.

Released today, the study entitled the South African Social Media Landscape 2012, reports that although 95 percent of the 61 major brand corporations surveyed have social media strategies in place, few really know how to capitalise on the opportunities presented by social media to streamline products and services with consumer needs and demands.

The study- concluded by World Wide Work in partnership with information analysts Fuseware – shows that of the 95 percent of companies with existing social media strategies, only 51 percent view their use of Facebook as effective, and only 33 percent rate their current Twitter use as effective.

The study suggests that while companies are beginning to branch out into social media, they are yet to meet the levels of social media use displayed by their customers – thus losing out on a big opportunity to connect with the consumer market.

Commenting on the conclusions to be drawn from the study, World Wide Worx Managing Director Arthur Goldstuck said in a press release today: “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…Most large companies are still neutral on the impact of social media, and are still feeling their way.”

When asked about reasons for using social media, the study sees 70 percent of companies naming PR as their purpose, while 62 percent of brands claim social media to be central to marketing strategies. 13 percent of study participants claimed their sole purpose in having a social media campaign was that their direct competitors also have such a strategy.

This being the case, 49 per cent of those interviewed disclosed that use of social media is solely placed within the remit of the company’s marketing team, compared with only 18 per cent entrusting social media to their PR department.

Another issue highlighted by the study is that companies do not have the knowledge or skills to implement a strong social media strategy, or to then gauge the effectiveness of any social media use. While a proportion of companies claimed an intention to better train staff in the use of social media as a vital tool, only 15 percent of those interviewed could say that they thought staff skills in social media are optimal.

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