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Top Instagram influencers in South Africa in 2022

Top Instagram influencers in South Africa in 2022

Influencer marketing is transforming the way brands operate in South Africa. Traditionally, brands had to build trust and familiarity with consumers through offline channels, which was inefficient and impact was difficult to measure. However, as digitization continues to accelerate growth and tech adoption, brands are leveraging influencer marketing on Instagram to tactically engage and nurture digital-natives such as Gen Z consumers.

Download the full list of influencers in Africa

South Africa is an emerging market and influencer marketing continues to evolve in parallel. The country has a developed first-world economic infrastructure with a robust economy, making it a key entry point for the broader African market, besides Nigeria and Kenya.

As a result, influencer marketing has proven to be an easy and impactful strategy to create immediate brand recognition which lays the foundation for long-lasting consumer relationships. Furthermore, brands can appeal to a large and culturally diverse African audience by collaborating with a variety of social media influencers who address different topics and niches. For instance, micro-influencers in Africa get more engagement on average compared to other influencers with a bigger following.

Number of social media conversations mentioning

Number of social media conversations mentioning "influencer marketing" in South Africa over time.

One key element that elevated the influencer marketing industry in Africa is the prominence of platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and the variety of ways they enable brand-influencer collaboration. In fact, there have been 735 social media conversations that have included the keyword “Instagram influencer” during the past 13 months in South Africa.

Top themes of social media conversations including the keyword “Instagram influencers” in South Africa during the past 13 months.

Top themes of social media conversations including the keyword “Instagram influencers” in South Africa during the past 13 months.

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Instagram audience insights from South Africa

According to recent data, Facebook continues to be South Africa’s most popular social media platform with 29.6 million users. The second and third places were taken by Messenger and LinkedIn with around 25.7 million and 10.2 million users respectively.

The photo-sharing application Instagram is the fourth most popular social media platform in South Africa with 6.8 million users as of May 2022. The number of Instagram users in South Africa had increased by 20% YoY (May 2021 VS May 2022) where it was 5.6 million users. The number of Instagram users in South Africa accounts for 11.3% of the total population.

This is particularly significant because Instagram is competing head to head with TikTok. In an effort to win users, TikTok recently announced a cash grant of 860,000 rands to 20 South African creators, enabling them to focus fully on creating local content.

Women account for 51.8% of Instagram’s audience in South Africa.

In terms of the age group distribution, Instagram is the most popular with 18-23 year olds, who make up 30.8% of Instagram’s audience in South Africa. Overall, users aged 25 to 34 years ranked second making up 30.3% of the audience. Instagram’s smallest audience was users aged between 55 and 64 years, who accounted for just 3 percent of users.

Download the full list of influencers in Africa

How to identify an Instagram influencer

In this day and age, many social media users believe they have achieved influencer status, simply because they have a certain number of followers or likes. While some users consider engagement rates per post, comments, and number of saved posts, as a better indicator of that status. Whatever the combination of metrics is, becoming a social media influencer is defined by their ability to connect with their audience, no matter how big or small that is. It is their ability to influence and convince over a period of time.

As a brand marketer, it is imperative you understand your own definition of an influencer, this will help you determine which metrics to consider. Also, it will help you gauge how much money you’re willing to invest in this collaboration. To help get you started, here are a few metrics to consider when assessing an Instagram influencer:

  • Engagement rates: It’s a simple formula where you divide the number of comments and likes over the total number of followers, then you multiply the resulting number by 100.
  • Number and quality of followers: It is particularly important to see if an influencer had purchased their way to fame with fake followers.
  • Comments: You might want to look at the types of comments that an influencer gets on their post - some bots might post automated messages promoting crypto or other get-rich-quick schemes that are often scams.
  • Reach: This one is pretty straightforward, you want to see how far their network extends and to what industry, niches, or countries it affects.
  • Frequency of posting: The number of posts might be a novelty metric for some who believe that social media is about quality and not quantity. However, some argue that the recent algorithm update might be prioritizing influencers with higher posting rates, especially when it comes to Instagram’s new feature Reels.
  • Audience data: Before engaging an influencer you should request to see some insights into the demographics of their followers, this type of data is usually reserved for the owners of the accounts, therefore you’d have to take their word for it (age, countries, gender, etc.).
  • Niche and topics: You want to see what topics an influencer posts about and the general personas they engage with.
  • Potential brand risk: Not all influencers might be suitable for your brand, especially if they have a history of being too critical or posting inflammatory content.

To make things easier, let’s assume I am a brand manager for a Rugby team looking to work with an influencer who posts about the sport. I would first go to Talkwalker and type in the keyword “Rugby” and filter by country. This is a simplified example, but it shows how easy it is nowadays to identify and kickstart the negotiation process with influencers.

List of the top influencers in South Africa talking about “Rugby” during the past 30 days

List of the top influencers in South Africa talking about “Rugby” during the past 30 days

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Instagram influencers in South Africa

Instagram influencers in South Africa amassed hundreds of thousands of followers and eventually became a force to be reckoned with. They have leveraged Instagram to share their voice and add to the conversation about topics like lifestyle, fashion, health, politics, and human rights.

Below is a list of South Africa’s top 10 most prominent Instagram influencers, ranked based strictly on the number of followers they have.

@ boity (5.7M followers, engagement rate 0.50%)

@casspernyovest (5.1M followers, engagement rate 0.90%)

@bonang_m (4.8M followers, engagement rate 2.47%)

@amandadupont (4.7M followers, engagement rate 0.7%)

@somizi (4.7M followers, engagement rate 0.10%)

@mbaureloaded (4.7M followers, engagement rate 0.4%)

@dumantando (4M followers, engagement rate 1.6%)

@nasty_csa (3.9M followers, engagement rate 0.98%)

@thando_thabethe (3.6M followers, engagement rate 0.4%)

@pearlmodiadie (3.5M followers, engagement rate 0.84%)

Download the full list of African influencers

How can I use Talkwalker for Instagram insights?

As a marketer, you can certainly leverage Instagram insights that are offered on the mobile application. You can click on each post to know more about the number of accounts reached, engagement rates, and overall activity. However, when things scale up and you have tons of organic engagement, that’s when you need to leverage automated social listening tools such as Talkwalker’s.

For example, you can leverage Talkwalker to monitor Instagram TV videos (IGTV) through hashtag tracking, business accounts/creator profiles monitoring, and own account monitoring – all in one place. Furthermore, users can now use our proprietary image recognition feature on the thumbnail of every IGTV post. This means that if an influencer posts an IGTV thumbnail with your brand’s logo, you’ll be able to track it in almost real time.

I say ‘almost real time’ because the technology relies on Dynamic Smart Crawling that is adapted to the frequency of publication by the channel.

Starbucks Instagram insights

Screenshot of Talkwalker's Instagram analytics looking at Starbucks' reels performance

The data collected and presented is completely GDPR-compliant as it mainly involves Instagram’s public data that’s retrieved by hashtag/account monitoring (number of comments, likes, and follower count to infer potential reach), in addition to Instagram private data retrieved by own account monitoring (this is the data that only you the account manager can see).

As of the beginning of July 2022, Instagram made available Reels data via their API, for all of our channel types (hashtag, business discovery, insights).

Talk to one of our experts now to know more about Instagram coverage


Influencer marketing on Instagram is only one piece of the puzzle. The image-sharing platform offers a wide array for marketers to generate leads, promote their brand, and showcase their products. One thing that ties all those elements together is how Instagram data and consumer insights could be turned into actions and therefore: profits.

Now is the time to prepare for success, you can no longer wing your Instagram marketing strategy and hope for the best. Instead, use the data that’s available for you because your competition is surely benefiting by saving time, money, and effort.

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