Malema’s hearing: More than $200 000 worth of negative coverage

The high-profile disciplinary hearing of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has so far reached an astonishing 8 419 565 individuals, “costing” South Africa about US$277 331 in negative publicity.

This is the finding of Cape Town-based online Reputation Management Company (ORM), BrandsEye. ORM is the monitoring, engaging and conversion of online brand mentions, it is used to resolve negative brand mentions and maintain a close relationship with consumers/fans/followers.

BrandsEye has a tool that puts a costing to the number of times a company or individual’s brand is mentioned online.

The conversation around Malema consisted of more than 5 011 people across South Africa, says BrandsEye. Based on users respective levels of influence, however, the conversation reached an astonishing 8 419 565 people around the world.

Had the conversation been purchased in advertising, Brandseye believes it would have cost the country US$277 331. That’s a considerable amount of negative coverage.

The ORM company noted 6 286 individual mentions of the hearing posted across the internet on its first day. Conversation around the hearing ranked significantly higher than that surrounding the country’s Budget Speech, which received only 812 mentions as well as the State of the Nation Address, which received 3 352 mentions.

Sixty-eight percent of the conversation (4 274 mentions) surrounding the hearing happened on Twitter, with Facebook accounting for 20 percent of the total volume (1 257 mentions).

Individual members of the public drove around 93 percent of the total conversation. Press websites contributed to 1.5 percent of the conversation, with journalists reporting live from the ANC’s headquarters at Luthuli House accounting for 4.5 percent of the conversation. The remaining one percent came from corporate accounts.

ANCYL president, Malema, was undoubtedly the top theme in the conversation — featuring in 94 percent of mentions. Nine percent of conversation endorsed the Youth League and its actions, whilst 61 percent spoke neutrally and 30 percent displayed negative sentiment.

Others mentioned in the conversation included South African President Jacob Zuma with a 15 percent mention in conversation (946 mentions), ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe (359 mentions) and ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu (230 mentions) who drove six percent and one percent of the conversation respectively.

Conversation topics varied from strong support for the ANC, which focused on loyalty to the heroes of the struggle to the ignorance of the youth.

Support for the ANCYL, however, heavily condemned the corruption and the, “tenderpreneurship” within the ANC and warned the current ANC leadership that its time was coming to an end.

“Viva Malema, Viva Youth League” and, “Malema — the next president!” were among the most common phrases in the conversation.

Interestingly, five percent of the conversation around the hearing came from the US and the UK (collectively) and a further three percent from other European countries. That there was such a high level of overseas engagement does not bode well for the country.

South Africa relies heavily on having a positive image overseas, not just for the products it exports being well received but also in promoting Foreign Direct Investment and trade growth.



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