Before you even begin to read this article, take a moment to reflect and answer the question: How much is my company spending on social media every month? “If your budget is less than R10,000, it means that social media is a side issue for your company,” says Arthur Goldstuck, and you should definitely keep reading this article. If you spend is more than R10,000 keep reading to find out where you should be spending it.

Following two big events in the last two weeks, first the Social Media Landscape Briefing 2019, and then the Red & Yellow Digital Agency Showcase, there are some crucial insights that have come out of the industry – not just in theory, but in ways that allow the rest of us to take those tips and implement them practically.

Let’s dive into the seven social media secrets that came out of these two events:

1. Facebook vs Instagram

“Those who want to use social media for marketing, see Facebook as their go-to platform. Those who want to use it for public relations – and this really stands out – use Instagram. Facebook actually works across all the intention – advertising, social media, marketing, but interestingly Instagram leads above Facebook for public relations,” says Arthur Goldstuck.

These two platforms become powerful when used together; while they can achieve a lot on their own, integrating their functions gives you access to audiences and outcomes you could never achieve in silos. Arthur continued to say that influencer marketing in the same line as public relations will definitely grow over the next year but brands aren’t equipped to engage them or use them effectively.

2. South African social media users

This is a big audience to define. In 2015, the South African population was 52 million, but 78 million mobile phone subscriptions. That number has only increased since then. Taking a quick look at the stats presented at the Social Media Landscape Briefing 2019, you’ll get a snapshot of where you can find and engage with your brand’s audience:

3. Messaging > Social media

Mark Zuckerberg explained: “Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.” According to Facebook, people sent 63 billion WhatsApp messages on New Year’s Eve.

Here are some facts to consider:

  • Less than 2% of your posts are delivered to your fans’ feeds
  • 98% of mobile messages are opened (90% of them within 3 seconds)

Godfrey Parkin said, “The conversations we value most are always private. So why aren’t more brands using this method?”

4. Social media storytelling

We need to understand that we’re dealing with audiences that differentiate between seeking content that engages them versus seeking news that informs them. There is a fine line between fact and fiction in social media and it’s up to brands to find that line. Storytelling is one side of it – this engages your audience and involves them in the brand journey rather than just wanting them to serve the bottom line.

Ask yourself: What is on the other side of that? How do you engage those audiences that are looking to be informed and not just entertained?

5. Culture informs brands informs social media

The idea of culture has to inform the decision your brand makes on social media. A common thread through Digital Agency Showcase was how important this is particularly in the South African context. Jason Harrison, M&C Saatchi Abel, said, “We need to build brands that move at the speed of culture.”

Shortly after that, VML South Africa backed it up by saying, “We don’t just sell stuff, we shape culture.” If you aren’t taking this into account, your brand will soon become irrelevant.

6. Community management for content

Beyonce sang, “Who run this world? Girls!” If your brand plays on social media, the tune you have to dance to is, “Who run this world? Fans!” Your fans are your community. Your fans are in charge. You might think that you’re creating content for your brand that gets them involved. That’s true to a point. But. Your fans just by being your fans dictate the kinds of content you create.

If your content satisfies the community, it’ll serve your bottom line.

7. Same, same, but different


You cannot hope to ever stand out if you look the same as everyone else. Find what works for your brand, and do that. That is your competitive edge. “Same-same” will always be left behind.

If you have any social media secrets that you’d like to share with us, get in touch here or message us on Facebook.