Large corporate brands in Africa’s biggest economy, South Africa have woken up to social media, following in the footsteps of their customers, according to new findings from technology market researchers World Wide Worx and information analysts Fuseware.

The South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study by World Wide Worx and Fuseware, reveals that 95 percent of major brands surveyed have some form of social media strategy aimed at consumers. However, only 51 percent rate their efforts on Facebook as effective – and only 33 percent believe they are effective on Twitter.

‘Still trying to figure out how to use it’

“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,” World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck said in a statement. “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.

“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,” said 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.”

First National Bank

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.

Banking has always been a popular activity for South Africans online. FNB offers its online clients first rate online banking (although every bank has a pretty decent Internet banking service) and the big plus (which caused me to change my banking to FNB) was the iPhone app and easy connection to PayPal. FNB has done a fantastic job at identifying the needs of South Africans and offering services that appeal to them. FNB has 357,552 likes on its face book page and over 6,245 followers on its twitter account. The social network between FBN and its customers on its social media platform is superb.

Standard Bank

In 2010, Standard Bank Group was regarded as the bank of choice but over the last few years FNB has comfortably claimed the first position at the online bank of choice.

Standard bank Group has 14, 523 Twitter followers on its account and 15, 048 likes on its face book, page. Standard bank has a 150-year history in South Africa and started building a franchise in the rest of Africa in the early 1990s. It currently operates in 18 countries in the rest of the African continent, including South Africa, as well as in other selected emerging markets. The bank employs 52,000 people and has about 1,200 branches including loan centres and some 7,945 ATMs on the African continent. The bank updates its customers on these platforms (Facebook & Twitter) on new products and services and responds to their requests as well.

ABSA bank

The Group is listed on the JSE Limited and is one of South Africa’s largest financial services group. It is a subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC (Barclays) which owns 55.5 percent. It offers a complete range of retail, business, corporate and investment banking insurance and wealth management products and services. ABSA has 6, 520 followers on its twitter account and 100,756 like its face book page.


Is a bank holding company and one of the four largest banking groups in South Africa measured by assets with a strong deposit franchise. Its principal banking subsidiary is Nedbank Limited. The group provides retail banking services, insurance and asset management. Its headquarters are in Sandton and it has a 1,000-strong regional branch network.  Nedbank has 17,408 likes on its face book page some of its 10, 998 twitter followers want information on housing. The bank states on its facebook page: “If you’re a first-time home buyer, get a feel for the property costs in the areas you like so you can score a better deal and avoid paying too much. Once you’ve found that dream home, don’t delay, apply online for Nedbank Home Loan.

Vodacom South Africa

Vodacom SA is an African mobile communications company providing voice message, data and converged services to about 50 million active customers. From its roots in South Africa, the company has grown its operations to include networks in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho.  It is owned by Vodafone and has its headquarters in Johannesburg.  Vodacom South Africa 274,835 likes, 6,512 are talking about the telecommunications giant and 58 379 followers on it twitter account.

MTN South Africa

MTN has topped the list as the Most Valuable South African Brand with a global value of R43.3 billion ($4.7 billion) and is also the only South African brand in the Brand Finance Global 500.  MTN South Africa is part of MTN group, a multi-national telecommunications that boasts over 152 million subscribers across its company with operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.  Launched in South Africa in 1994, and provides voice data and telemetry offerings and solutions to its 20 million customers. The company is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and has the largest primary listing on the exchange. The company enjoys 37 percent of market share in South Africa and continues to expand its presence and brand across the African continent and now has a firm footing in the Middle East.

President and CEO Sifiso Dabengwa said: “Our key focus areas are improving our market position and enhancing our customer experience by driving innovation and efficiency.”

With 115,595 likes, 5,116 talking about this and 16 893 twitter followers, was named Africa’s biggest brand, MTNuses a proactive model to identify high performers within the company, called ‘Leadership Talent Management’ to ensure achievement is recognised. It also offers MyMTN Emergency  – home medical and roadside emergency assistance for workers to its has


The group provides innovative, quality healthcare in South Africa and the UK. Netcare has presence on social media. It has paltry 1,700 likes on Facebook and over 14 436 followers on Twitter.

It operates the largest private hospital group, primary care network and emergency service in South Africa. It is also the biggest private trainer of emergency medical personnel and healthcare workers.


Investec is a distinctive Specialist Bank and Asset Manager providing a diverse range of financial products and services to its niche client base. The company also has a good social media presence. It has over 33,612 likes on Facebook and over 5, 611 followers on Twitter.

It operates in three principal markets, South Africa, the UK and Australia as well as certain other countries. In July 2002, the Investec group implemented a dual listed company with listings on the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges.


Sasol has over 5,800 likes and over 868 followers on Twitter. Based in South Africa, Sasol is an international integrated energy and chemical company that leverages the talent and expertise of its more than 34,000 people working in 38 countries. It develops and commercialises technologies, and builds and operates world-scale facilities to produce a range of product streams including liquid fuels, chemicals and electricity.

According to SocialBakers, (a social analytics website aimed at marketers, hosts lists of the most “liked” Facebook pages, dividing them into four categories: pages, brands, media, and services)  the number of South African Facebook users was at 4,858,280 in April 2012, ranking SA as the 31st largest population in the world on the social network.

Based on estimates of South Africa’s population and Internet user base, SocialBakers puts SA Facebook penetration of the overall population at 9.89 percent, while Facebook usage among online South Africans is said to be 91.67 percent.

The table below shows the top 10 South African Facebook pages, along with the number of fans (or “likes”) the page had at the time of writing.



Media brand

Seether (2,633,177) Vodacom (274,835) Huisgenoot (208,312)
Trevor Noah (1,024,829) Woolworths SA (244,465) 5FM (164,198)
Springboks (523,721) BlackBerry South Africa (26,836,925) Hectic Nine-9 (164,955)
Gareth Cliff (374,889) Win a luxury SPA weekend in Cape Town (110,821) Metro FM (175,025)
Die Antwoord (671,577) Mr Price (214,375) Kick Off magazine (184,910)
Black Coffee (463,085) Sissy Boy (90,297) 94.5 Kfm Breakfast (83,625)
Kaizer Chiefs (601,343) YDE (113,775) Intiem & Intimacy Magazine (67,034)
The Parlotones (348,704) Doritos South Africa (90,197) DStv (117,209)
The Sharks (307,223) Baba & Kleuter (57,075)
Cobus Potgieter (300,742) FNB (357,552) You Magazine (29,517)

Another study titled “South African Social Media Landscape 2011” by World Wide Worx, one of South Africa’s technology research companies showed the following:

•                  MXit is South Africa’s most popular social network with 10 million users

•                  Twitter has 1.1 million

•                  Facebook has 3.2 million

•                  LinkedIn has 1.1 million.


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