Ideation Digital


2020 Social Media State Of The Nation

3rd Apr, 2020

Firstly a quick thank you if you are taking time out to read this Social Media state of the nation address. As a Digital Communications Business, we are very familiar with how quickly the landscape that we conduct our operations in, can change.


The Social Media environment in South Africa evolves rapidly, and in 2019 we saw some more significant growth.


Key Stats - Full digital report available here! 


South Africa Social Media Landscape, 2019.

There are twenty-three million active social media users in SA.(Statista, 2019).

There are twenty-three million active social media users in SA.(Statista, 2019).

In 2023, it is expected that almost 33 percent of the population in South Africa will be accessing Facebook (Statista, 2019).

In 2018, 34.6 percent of the population in the country accessed social media. In 2023, this share is projected to reach 40.1 percent (Statista, 2019).

South Africa saw a 20% year-on-year increase in the number of people using social media from 2017 to 2018 (We Are Social, 2018).

South African social media users spend an average of 2 hours, 48 minutes using social media each day via any device (We Are Social, 2018).

Eighteen million South Africans are monthly active Facebook users (We Are Social, 2018).

89% of active South African Facebook users access Facebook via their mobile (We Are Social, 2018).


The growth of Social Media in SA is a plus for all companies that are actively executing a social media strategy that is integrated as part of a bigger digital marketing plan. In isolation, Social Media can only achieve so much. The magic lies in having your social media strategy working in unison with all the other digital channels.


We also witnessed another radical transformation in the Social Media landscape in 2019. What we practiced last year has changed. As practitioners of Digital Marketing, we must keep you up to speed on the trends that will affect and shape the future of social media in South Africa.


So what's this significant change all about?


In 2019, Facebook's algorithm was focused on driving engagement, which means it focused on Content that generated lots of shares, likes, and comments. This raised many privacy concerns due to the fact that Facebook was capturing vast amounts of user information about our social engagement actions on their platform. This also brought about changes to their privacy policy, user information data capturing, and even their core algorithm around engagement.


What do these engagement changes actually mean, and how will they affect your Social Media Strategy moving forward?


Content that now creates CONVERSATIONS is King!

There are massive amounts of information and Content available to us on social media platforms, and this has altered the way users engage and behave. The average time a campaign or post has to capture someone's attention is less than 2.5 seconds, and this is reducing year-on-year.


Content and Posts that drove engagement were typically driven by the more traditional digital marketing social media pillars. Posts and Content were structured around and measured by the following.


  • Informative posts – latest information, trends or news about the business and industry
  • Entertainment posts – anything conversational, funny, or commanded a reaction. Core for generating engagement
  • Promotional posts – a business's opportunity to promote specials, new products, or even just talk about themselves.


Content that was developed around these core pillars generated more Likes and Shares than actual Comments on Facebook, and engagement rates started to drop in the later part of 2019. Role on November 2019 and Facebook announces its algorithm update.


Our job as marketers is to capture the attention of an audience and do this within the new rules of the updated Facebook algorithm, Content, Posts, and Campaigns have got to change. But how might you ask?


The traditions pillars are always in play, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel, but simply create Content, Posts, and Campaigns that drive engagement through CONVERSATION with the ultimate primary objective of generating COMMENTS.

Clicks, Shares, and Likes are now nice to have; the key to Social Success is comments. Can I get my audience to engage with me and have a meaningful dialog that is authentic and builds trust.


To achieve this, we believe that there are three new pillars that have entered the playing field and will work in unison with the original three. These new pillars are linked to the traditional pillars but need to be morphed to better suit the latest Facebook algorithm changes.


The new pillars are:

  • Reach
  • Action
  • Consideration

The "RAC" pillars, still achieve the same Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) of social media and are yielding much better engagement rates when used in a funnel. We explain this below.


  • Informative content pillar + Reach campaign pillar.

Reach as many people as you can in your segmented target audience, informing them know about the latest news, industry, or product information, latest developments. Giving you the ability to cast your net as far and wide as you can

  • Entertainment content pillar + Consideration campaign pillar.

Ask, ask, and ask some more. Get your customers to talk to you about the latest trends or information you have shared and ask intelligent questions that get your audience talking.

  • Promotional content pillar + Conversion campaign pillar.

Use industry insights from your customers and future customers. Flight a product or service conversion campaign that drives leads and, ultimately, sales.


The traditional funnel process for each campaign and post had a single objective, which we noticed throttled the conversation process. With the new Funnel Process, the conversation is starting to come back.

Brands are now making a customer aware of what they do first before they try to sell them something. When a potential user has shown an interest, brands are then conversing with their audiences by asking for their opinions around their products and services. Once the brands have listened and understood the needs of their audience, they can now formulate a product or service offering that will have a better rate of conversion because you have listened to what your customers want!

By following the Funnel Process, the algorithm will identify a prospect who has seen a campaign and engaged with it. From there, the algorithm will display the next goal campaign according to that prospect's behaviors from the previous campaign. If the user has engaged further, the algorithm will then show the conversion campaign to the candidate to take action. This means you are mostly warming up the potential prospect and not forcing them to take action!


This algorithm update has been aligned to the Customer Value Journey. Think of how you eat something. The first step is to bite and chew, then digest, and then your body transports nutrients all for the single input of energy. The same funnel process applies to a customer's value journey.


Be aware of following the same process for posts and boosting. The algorithm will automatically show Content that has been boosted to these unique prospects. Usually, once a candidate has viewed a paid campaign, they will likely view the business's profile and any website content available. If the Content flows and starts a conversation, but the customer did not convert previously, this will serve as a reminder and encourage them to try and convert. Campaigns & Posts now work together to achieve your overall marketing objectives- which for most companies is leads and sales.


Some tips on how to create conversation enticing posts and campaigns, to drive your audience through the funnel:


The 8-Step Checklist to Writing Conversationally:


1. Write to a single reader.

2. Use the words "You," "We," and "I."

3. Eliminate passive sentences.

4. Use as many contractions as you can.

5. Engage your readers with rhetorical questions.

6. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short.

7. Choose your words carefully.

8. Become a storyteller.


Do you need to rethink your Social Media strategy? Are you going to get bang for buck in 2020? As experts in the field, we are here to assist, so why don't you set up a consultation with one of our social experts and ensure you are geared for social success in 2020.



Read Our Content Marketing State Of The Nation & SEO State Of The Nation

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