OnlyConnect2018: New research study on influence in social media
Facebook, Instagram and TwitterThe study also reveals that, while Facebook is the best social network for brands to reach mass markets in South Africa, Instagram offers much-better engagement. Twitter has become a medium driven by politics and events. This means the short-form social network works best for authentic brands that are clearly differentiated, that represent social movements, are political or are uniquely authentic. “This is the first time that South Africa’s marketing and business communities have been let into the private workings of brands and their social communities, and what we’re learning will upset the notions that marketers and brands have had about social media — how to use it, how to measure returns,” says Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx managing director.
World Wide Worx and Continuon spent three months poring over more than 100m data points from 5.2m unique engagers and 355 000 unique influencers, in the social communities of 50 of South Africa’s most recognised brands.
“For the first time we are able to look across multiple categories, and at brands of different sizes and budgets, from an equal perspective,” says Goldstuck . “This not only gives us a much-better view of the social media dynamics in this country, but addresses the massive disconnect between big budgets for social spend and loose measures of success. Marketers need to be more rigorous and accountable for their decisions, and knowing what ‘good’ looks like in terms of social media will help raise the profile of digital marketers in the boardroom.
“Now we are able to talk about the power of a brand’s community — to identify real consumers in a brand’s community who can drive messages for the brand, regardless of the size of their following or network. This is something the local marketing community hasn’t been able to do before,” he says. “We’ve learnt with this research that the real influencers, rather than supposed celebrity influencers, can be harnessed and turned into advocates for brands. They can also help recruit audiences that can be migrated out of the big social networks and into branded CRM, loyalty, ecommerce and other programmes that are owned by businesses.”
“Not all influencers are the same,” says Bradley Elliott, founder of Continuon. “This means brands will have to employ smart technologies to segment social audiences, and to dig deeper into audience categories and what they mean, to get better benefit from investments in social media. Brands have traditionally used what metrics are at their disposal to define performance. The current metrics used for measuring social success by brands is a limited view of the power of influence on social networks.”