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SA's favourite Facebook page...

Which brand in South Africa holds the enviable position as having the best Facebook page in the country? This is a critical question all social media planners and managers should ask themselves when planning their strategies. HaveYouHeard's joint managing director, Jason Stewart, takes you through his thinking when he's asked the same question by a client...
© Thomas Pajot –


The first step is to get a grip on what makes a great Facebook page. In HaveYouHeard's opinion, it is not all about 'likes'. Likes mean very little, as the majority of those who have liked a page forget that they have done so and seldom visit that page again. In fact, the average return rate in South Africa is very low, with only 2% of any given brand's Facebook community actually returning to the page and engaging with it.


Possibly the best indicator for a good performing page is 'engagement'. The quickest way to determine engagement is to divide the number of 'People Talking About This' by the number of Total Fans. This only, however, provides an indication of engagement as the number can be boosted by paid-for new likes.

The true indicator for engagement, and thereby best performance, is engagement per post; in other words, how many post likes, comments and shares are taking place on your page. This should also be based on natural engagement, not competition or incentivised engagement.

To find South Africa's best performing Facebook page, we therefore looked for the page that had generated the most interactions within their community. By default, this meant that the bigger the page was, the more likely it was to have higher interactions.

Using Social Bakers' Analytics tool, we pulled reports on the largest 40 Facebook pages in South Africa. We excluded smaller pages, with high engagement rates because we wanted to identify South Africa's best performing page based on generating the most total interactions in number, not as a percentage of total community size.


The table below lists the 20 largest pages in South Africa as of 16 November, based on Total Likes and only looking at fans from South Africa, as follows:

Brand SA nameSA likesTotal interactions
1. What's for Dinner?707,525660,681
2. MTN South Africa517,966660,476
3. Mercedes Benz SA512,392931,527
4. Shoprite South Africa484,205524,204
5. Checkers474,350329,195
6. Vodacom473,718568,468
7. Samsung South Africa447,849406,193
8. KFC443,564552,889
9. Hairsavvy430,884182,186
10. Mango Airlines392,796153,570
11. DHL Africa366,961213,304
12. Cadbury Dairy Milk365,797457,239
13. BMW346,001634,456
14. Debonairs Pizza328,172125,036
15. Legit321,253224,007
16. Toyota SA316,368373,532
17. Land Rover SA312,389382,238
18. Travel Start SA304,039302,835
19. Robertsons Herbs & Spices285,753130,083
20. DSTV281,970112,780

The next table lists the top performing pages using Total Interactions (second column), and provides a more meaningful picture of which brands are doing well relative to their community size. In this instance, auto brands are very strong (5 in the top 20).

Brand page nameSA likesTotal interactionsInteraction %
Mercedes Benz SA512,392931,527181.80%
What's for Dinner?707,525660,68193.38%
MTN South Africa517,966660,476127.51%
Shoprite South Africa484,205524,204108.26%
Cadbury Dairy Milk365,797457,239125.00%
Samsung South Africa447,849406,19390.70%
Land Rover South Africa312,389382,238122.36%
Being Girl211,575374,667177.08%
Toyota SA316,368373,532118.07%
Travel Start SA304,039302,83599.60%
Jaguar South Africa212,424264,438124.49%
DHL Africa366,961213,30458.13%
Carling Black Label221,791206,88693.28%

We also looked at the type of interaction taking place on the page.

In the case of the auto pages, there was an enormous amount of passion and interest expressed by these fans. Most people would regard the topics they talk about as rather ordinary, but these are fans who absolutely love almost everything about these cars.

By contrast, when it came to the service brands, enquiries and service issues accounted for this interaction.

It therefore stands to reason that measuring 'sentiment' is important when determining which is South Africa's best Facebook page.

Content quality?

One of the measures of great content is Shares, so we opted to track which page had the most 'shares', as shares are indicative of this and are the highest form of flattery for a brand.

The table below highlights that What's for Dinner does very well (its recipes are shared a lot) followed by Big Concerts. Again, the auto brands did well, with fans sharing car image after car image after car image.

Brand page nameSA likesTotal interactionsPost shares
What's for Dinner?707,525660,68195,731
Big Concerts123,012172,17845,091
Mercedes Benz SA512,392931,52728,824
MTN South Africa517,966660,47628,739
Travel Start SA304,039302,83527,092
Toyota SA316,368373,53218,000
Comfort Zone South Africa222,5041138,7417,938
Land Rover South Africa312,389382,23814,826
Shoprite South Africa484,205524,20414,465
Samsung South Africa447,849406,19314,115
Robertsons Herbs & Spices285,753130,08310,085
MSC cruises240,118149,5939,980
Cadbury Dairy Milk365,797457,2399,934
Jaguar South Africa212,424264,4389,311
Audi South Africa237,972149,6888,682

Comments about a post?

Comments about a post are regarded as second in importance, after sharing; but are still a great indication of good content. Many brands are generating this high comment amount through running competitions, and quick quiz response type posts.

However, we must note the great work done by Cadbury in engaging with its community and keeping the comment conversation going on past the first response.

Brand page nameSA likesTotal interactionsPost comments
MTN South Africa517,966660,476309,327
Shoprite South Africa4842,05524,204173,007
Cadbury Dairy Milk365,797457,239136,436
Toyota SA316,368373,532136,179
What's for Dinner?707,525660,681111,920
Being Girl211,575374,66772,267
Mercedes Benz South Africa512,392931,52750,377
DHL Africa366,961213,30447,230
Travel Start SA304,039302,83546,810
Robertsons Herbs & Spices285,753130,08339,068
Land Rover South Africa312,389382,23837,727
Carling Black Label221,791206,88633,583
Samsung South Africa447,849406,19330,514

Posts made by fans, not comments?

Breaking down interaction further, in the table below, we explore Posts by Fans (not comments), and you can clearly see the top 5 positions are held by service-related brands. However, this interaction was most often in response to service-related queries.

Brand page nameSA likesPosts made by fans (not comments)
MTN South Africa517,96614,710
Shoprite South Africa484,20510,072
Toyota SA316,3685,512
Big concerts123,0124,336
What's for Dinner?707,5253,550
Mercedes Benz South Africa512,3923,502
Debonairs Pizza328,1723,321
Samsung South Africa447,8492,840
Mango Airlines392,7962,551
MSC cruises240,1182,481
Being Girl211,5752,061

Response rate?

As it is more difficult for MTN to respond to over 14,000 fan posts than it is for Audi to respond to almost 900, for example, we looked at response rates within the context of posts made by fans (showing the top 30 pages now).

Brand page nameSA likesPosts made by fansResponse rate
Comfort Zone South Africa222,50441595%
What's for Dinner?707,5253,55094%
Mango Airlines392,7962,55192%
MTN South Africa517,96614,71090%
Audi South Africa237,97289490%
Truworths Fashion193,1821,89888%
Tomy Takkies275,0047186%
DHL Africa366,96184885%
Debonairs Pizza328,1723,32182%
MSC cruises240,1182,48182%
Travel Start SA304,03997978%
Robertsons Herbs & Spices285,75352373%
Cadbury Dairy Milk365,7971,59271%
Toyota SA316,3685,51269%
Shoprite South Africa484,20510,07267%
Carling Black Label221,7911,46054%
Lexus South Africa204,34793451%
Mercedes Benz South Africa512,3923,50248%
Being Girl211,5752,06139%
Land Rover South Africa312,38970839%
Tropika South Africa202,35855639%
Samsung South Africa447,8492,84038%
Big concerts123,0124,33636%
Jaguar South Africa212,42431915%
Hyundai South Africa278,101860%

Kudos to the brands achieving over 90% response, as this is indicative of well managed pages.

What is concerning, however, are the very low response rates on many other pages. In fact, 70% of the pages reviewed here achieved a response rate of lower than 70%. The goal should always be 100% and not one brand has achieved over 95% during 2014.

So, which is the best brand on Facebook in South Africa?

HaveYouHeard would base its answer on which Facebook page generates natural and non-incentivised engaging content for its community (indicated by total interactions, post shares and post comments) as well as great page management (indicated by response rate).

Using that formula, it would mean that MTN and What's For Dinner? Would rank in the Top 2, however, if you look closer at their performance, based on the last three months as well as within context of their size and compare it to a fast, growing challenger like DHL Africa, the results don't seem as conclusive.

Interaction / Fans %13%15%5%

Interaction / Fans %10%8%5%

DHL AfricaSep-14Oct-14Nov-14
Interaction39 94731 40954,435
Interaction / Fans %14%9%14%

So rather than giving you the answer, why don't I let you decide? What metric is most important for you, and how does that influence the line up?

About Jason Stewart

Jason Stewart is the co-founder and MD of HaveYouHeard (, a communications agency immersed in culture to influence it. With 11 years' trading experience and offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London, HaveYouHeard uncovers unique insights to create innovative ideas that influence the audience by bringing the brands it partners with to the centre of culture.
Katlego Ledimo
Very, very interesting. It seems Vodacom has a bit of work to do...they do not rate too well in all the important areas.
Posted on 7 Jan 2015 09:28



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