Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema has more Twitter followers than official opposition leader Helen Zille, a study by Apurimac Media has found.
Chief executive Will Green said on Tuesday that social media offered politicians an insight into how their political campaigns were received by online audiences ahead of the 7 May general elections.
"With 2014 being South Africa's 'first digital' election, it is interesting to see how [parties] and party leaders stack up against each other," he said.
"Politicians can learn a lot from digital media as to how all their electioneering efforts are resonating with the public that is online."
Out of all party leaders, the Economic Freedom Fighters head Malema had the most Twitter followers, at 426 755, followed by the DA's Zille, at 391 811.
The ANC president Jacob Zumahad 314 149 Twitter followers, while Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphelehad 40 066.
Between 8 and 14 March, Zille gained just over 3 000 new Twitter followers, while Malema also gained 3 000 and Zuma 1 000.
There were a number of Twitter accounts for Malema, including official, news and parody accounts.
In that week, Zuma did not tweet, Malema posted 13 tweets, Ramphele tweeted nine times, and Zille tweeted 43 times.
The study also found Zille had an "engaged" Facebook audience, with 6 463 users "talking" about the comments she posted, compared to Malema's 142 and Ramphele's two. No one was talking about Zuma on Facebook during the week of the study.
In terms of Facebook "likes", Malema led the pack with 79 700, Zuma had 38 776, Ramphele had 2496, but Zille had none, as she did not have a dedicated Facebook topic page.
By political party, the study found that the DA had the most Facebook friends, at 71 377, the EFF had 64 477 and the ANC had 58 176.