In an exclusive interview with Zubeida Goolam, co-founder of BrandTruth, we took an exciting tour of Black Twitter, discussing how it works, how it emerged and how brands can use it to their benefit. 

What is Black Twitter? Well, there’s two: American Black Twitter and South African Black Twitter — these are the popular ones. Black Twitter is a cultural identity usually consisting of black Twitter users from around the world, focussed on the issue of the black community, particularly in the United States. However, a similar Black Twitter grew in South Africa around the year 2010. 

But, does Black Twitter have the humour? Insightful content? And, can brands play in that space? Well, worry not, BrandTruth’s Zubeida Goolam has the answers to these questions.



Not in the mood to watch the whole interview? Check out the transcription below:

Large amounts of people in SA are black, and Twitter is a popular platform. Do you think it’s under-utilised by brands? Why?

Black Twitter was established by black people who spend a lot of time on Twitter and was a way for black people to get their messages across. This is because the black community in the US is the minority, while in South Africa, it’s just Twitter. 

How can brands use it to learn about their audiences?

There is an opportunity for brands to utilise and be part of SA_Black Twitter community, and not a lot of brands play in the space; however, with a bit of research and understanding, a brand can find a loophole and use it. Furthermore, Black Twitter leads the conversation and brands can take advantage of that. A good example is Nando’s, as they understand the Black Twitter space.

Considering Pick ‘n Pay drama recently ...How do brands participate in conversations on Black Twitter? 

Pick ‘n Pay had an opportunity to laugh at themselves and go back to the drawing board. Nando’s was smart; they jumped for the opportunity cleverly and brought in humour to the whole situation, which was well-received by Black Twitter. 

What should brands avoid doing when engaging on Black Twitter?

Brands need to move with the times and trends. The shouldn’t lay back and allow negativity to outplay itself with their brand. Brands like RoccoMamas respond in a way that strikes a conversation; they’ve earned their stripes and have a knack of responding cleverly. 

How important is venac when brands engage on Black Twitter ?  

Some brands do not understand venac and tend to misread the context, as it is difficult to translate.It is better to research and understand South African languages first. A good company that uses venca in its content is DSTV; most of its adverts are in venac and its great, as it pushes engagement on social media — especially on Black Twitter. 

What advice would you give a brand looking to improve its reputation using Black Twitter? 

Black Twitter is not entirely vital to improve your brand’s reputation. This is because users on Twitter are not sympathetic, so one needs to be careful [when going] into that space.

Rather go into a space or group that shares the same values [and purpose] as your brand to reduce criticism. 

Black Twitter is a platform that can make or break your brand, but if initialised correctly, you can grow your followers on Twitter and improve brand engagement. 

Now that you have the knowledge about how Black Twitter works, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below? 

Weshu... oratile ditaba tjarena akere na? Refe maikutlo agago. 

Now that you have gained some insight on how the streets of SA Black Twitter works, check out A behind-the-scenes look at a career in vlogging.