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How do I choose which social media to use?

Match your social media to your target audience.

Ann Druce



Which social media is best for my small business?

I’ve been asked this question in several different ways lately and the question is always too broad.  Which social media should you start with? Which is the best for marketing?

Let me put it another way:  Which is best, a hybrid hatchback or a seven-seater 4X4? If you have a family of five and regularly holiday in the Okavango, a hatchback might not be ideal. If you’re single, a weekend in the bush is your definition of hell and you care about your carbon footprint…  You get the picture; there just is no correct answer.

The same is true for media selection. You need to set parameters. Choosing the right media, whether traditional or social, is entirely dependent on your brand, your target market and your objectives. So who are you talking to?  What do you want to tell them?  Why? How?

If, for example, you market hand-crafted chandeliers, you probably want to talk to people who are interested in décor, perhaps affluent home-owners. If you’re selling outdoor water tanks for rainwater harvesting, your target market might sound the same.

But that doesn’t mean they’re identical. One may be more fashion conscious while the other might be driven by ecological concerns.

If you’re marketing a law firm that specialises in contract law, the target market will probably be different than that of a firm focusing on personal injury cases. In each case, you need to tailor your message, your tone and your environment to suit your market, and the medium you choose may differ too.

You don’t need to be everywhere

Each social media channel has its own look and feel, its own personality. Your brand might benefit from being on several different channels, but that can take a lot of resource and you may need to limit your choices. So evaluate which platform best suits your needs.

If you were going to place an ad in a magazine, you’d look at the profile of the readership, their age, gender and lifestyle. You’d take a look at the magazine’s editorial context to see if it suited your brand.

So go and take a look at the various social media. Decide where you believe you’ll find your target market, and where they’ll be most receptive to you. And always remember that you don’t necessarily represent your target market.


Facebook has a slight female bias (57%) and, contrary to what many people think, has an older bias, with 46% of users over 45 years, and a further 22% aged between 35 and 44. More than half of Facebook users have a tertiary qualification. Largely used for personal networking, Facebook also offers business opportunities too.


Linked In is a business network, and almost 1.4 million South Africans visit Linked In each month.  82% of users are older than 25, including 17% who are over 54. Linked In is skewed to men (61%) and most users have a tertiary qualification. A full 25% have a post graduate qualification.

Content tends to centre on professional and business expertise and solutions, personal improvement and career advice. It’s also used extensively in the HR field.


Twitter users are almost equally split between men and women, with a slight bias to women (53%), but a very clear youth bias, with 74% of user aged between 15 and 25. Another 15% of users fall into the 26 – 35 year age group. Content is very diverse, but messages are restricted to 140 characters.


The profile of Pinterest is very strongly women, and in South Africa is skewed to women aged between 25 and 35. Content tends to be very visual, focusing on fashion, décor, design, cooking, weddings, arts and crafts and travel.


Google+ has a male bias (62%).  The average user is an English speaking student, aged around 24, male and single. This platform is almost a combination of LinkedIn and Facebook and is used for both business and personal networking. Owned by Google, you may achieve better organic search results if you include Google+ in your social media plan.


Slideshare has a very slight female bias and a strong bias to post-graduate qualifications. This platform is accessed most often at school/ university and at work, rather than home, clearly indicating how it is used for research for academic and business needs. Content is very diverse, but tends to be business-related.


60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, including everything from business and academic advice, to proof of stupidity (amazing how people upload videos of themselves or their friends making complete fools of themselves!) and full length movies.

It is clear that while 18 – 34 year olds dominate the user profile, YouTube’s reach of all segments, even senior citizens, is extensive.

You need social media

Social media might intimidate you, but the research is clear:  you can’t ignore it. Of course, choosing the right social media platform for your brand is only part of the challenge. More importantly, you have to create a content marketing strategy, to ensure that you deliver the kind of information that matters to your target market.

Ann Druce heads up Octarine, a marketing communications and advertising agency, where she focuses on marketing strategies for clients in the service, professional and industrial sectors. Ann specializes in clear, relevant messages that reach their target markets. Prior to Octarine, Ann spent 15 years in marketing management for major companies including Unilever and Adcock Ingram before joining Draft FCB. Connect with Ann on LinkedIn or Google+ and follow @AnnDruce on Twitter.



  1. Lance E. Carlson

    Nov 23, 2013 at 17:19

    Hi Ann, I thank you for the breakdown of all of these major avenues of social media. I am sure the numbers and gender breakdown are similar here in the U.S.

    I was particularly surprised by the Google + being that much male dominated and the Facebook feeding the over 45 crowd.

    Great work Ann,


  2. ProfKhim

    Sep 1, 2014 at 16:01

    The others are ok but am really not conversant with pinterest

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How Do I Create A Content Strategy?

A content strategy is not simply a spreadsheet outlining what blog post you’ll be posting when (that’s an editorial plan). A content strategy is knowing why you’re creating content, who it’s going to come from and how it’s going to benefit your target audience.

Belinda Mountain




Having a strong content strategy in place before you produce the content itself will ensure that you save time, save money and see real results for your company and brand.

Here’s how to go about creating one:

1. Look at your business goals

You can make the most beautifully shot video in the world, with huge viral reach, but if your goal was increased sales and the video didn’t generate a single extra sale, then what was the point?

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 5 Ways to Improve your Content Strategy Using Video

Consider whether you want to use content to increase brand awareness, engage with customers or generate sales. And then create your content ideas to suit this specific goal.

2. Consider your target market

To develop effective content you need to place yourself in the shoes of your target market.

Are they a new mother looking for helpful articles on dealing with toddler temper tantrums? Or are they a CEO concerned with cutting business costs?

Imagine what they would find useful, informative or entertaining and then produce content like that.

This is also worth bearing in mind when it comes to SEO: What common terms will they be searching for on Google? Incorporate those into your content, but only where they fit naturally.

3. Look at frequency, format and tone

What are your resources like when it comes to producing content? If you have someone devoted to the task then you may be able to produce a new piece of content a day, but if someone is doing it as a side job, then one a week is more manageable.

Don’t produce work that’s of a lower standard – rather produce fewer pieces, but do them properly. Also think about what format your content will be in.

Will your audience respond well to videos? Blog posts? Infographics? Finally, consider your organisation’s tone or voice and ensure this remains consistent through everything you do.

4. Ask the right people the right questions

Most businesses have plenty of sources of educational and entertaining content, but few know how to get this information out of their employees.

Ask an actuary about the products they’ve developed and they’ll soon wax lyrical about what they do in a way that is seldom communicated to your target audience.

Ask your product managers about new trends in the industry and chances are they’ll get extremely excited about something on the horizon that your target audience would love to know about.

Extracting this information is about asking the right questions and the best way to do this is often face-to-face. 

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Content Marketing Strategies You Can Steal

5. Make a calendar

Once you’ve formulated your strategy, you can then start working on your editorial or content calendar. Add in deadlines, assign people responsible for each task, allow time for approval of content, and lock down ideal publishing dates.

Have meetings regularly with key stakeholders to discuss new ideas, who’s doing what and how the process is moving along.

Above all, be adaptable as you learn what sort of content your audience is engaging best with, so that your content strategy is continuously improving.

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How can I use website copy to convert prospects into customers?

You spent heaps of money on designing your new website but it’s still not an effective sales tool. Here’s how to use web copy to convert potential customers into actual ones.

Belinda Mountain



We all know that consumers are time poor these days. And consumers of digital media are even more so.

If you want people to engage with your content and eventually purchase your product or service, the way in which you present your information online needs to be carefully considered.

Related: 7 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Adwords Agency

Here’s what you need to think about when it comes to copy on your website:

1. Put the customer’s needs first

You employ a very detailed philosophy when designing your products? Consumers don’t really care.

Your website should not focus on how amazing you are, it should focus on what benefits you can offer your potential customers and what problems you can solve. So do include your company philosophy on your About Us page, but don’t make it front and centre on your homepage, for example.

2. What makes you different?

If you’re in a competitive industry, you need to emphasise what sets you apart. Maybe it’s your award-winning customer service, or your years of industry experience, or your unique approach to sourcing products?

Make this the focus of your copy so that it’s very clear why a potential customer should choose you versus another competitor.

3. Contact details

I see so many websites where the contact details are placed only on the Contact page, or written in a very small font way below the fold.

It needs to be ultra simple for people to contact you, so make that phone number or email address clearly visible on the homepage – or even better, somewhere in your main navigation that then displays on every page of your site.

4. Calls to action

Consumers need to be told what to do. Write about how great your product is and then follow it up immediately with a sentence telling them exactly what action to take: Need more info? Call us on xxx (phone number) or fill in the contact form below.

5. Use short sentences and simple words 

Long rambling sentences lose the reader – short punchy ones work better. The same applies to words, so use simple ones as often as possible. Remember that simple doesn’t mean unsophisticated.

Think of Google and Apple, two of the world’s biggest brands. They use a simple and direct tone that still communicates their offering perfectly. Also check your tone: write as if you’re chatting to one person and you’ll immediately engage the reader.

6. Get specific and paint a picture

If you’re selling a sailing holiday in Croatia, don’t tell them that the waves are blue and beautiful. Describe the smell of the ocean in the air, the feeling of the sun on your skin and the taste of the fresh sushi caught on a nearby boat.

You can sell something much more easily if you get very specific and evoke an emotive reaction in the person reading your words.

7. Use formatting

No one likes long reams of text – you’ll lose their attention and a possible sale. Break up your copy so that it is easily readable by using bolding, bulleting and separate paragraphs.

Related: Is Search Marketing Still Worth Investing In?

8. Limited sales offers

Reserve space on your homepage where you can include blurbs about latest offers or special promotions.

This will keep your website fresh and allow you to capitalise on potential customers who may be interested in these offers, by encouraging them to click through and stay on your site.

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How does the content in my email signature affect my brand?

How do your make your email stand out from the clutter?

Kgomotso Mautloa




The world of communication is an ever-evolving one. We’ve gone from communication with cave paintings and pictograms, to expressing ourselves with words and the alphabet, and now with technology thrown in there – the communication mix has evolved into something incredible.

Related: 4 Revolutionary Behavioural Email Marketing Ideas

The most notable mix would be the combination of writing the traditional letter and telecommunication; in the form of email. Just like every other development within the communication space, this created the opportunity for people to interact with people in different provinces, countries and continents all across the globe, all at a click of a button – instantaneously.

According to the Radicati Email Statistics report, there were about 100 billion emails sent out daily in 2013.

In 2013, the majority of email traffic comes from business email, which accounts for over 100 billion emails sent and received per day. Email remains the predominant form of communication in the business space. This trend is expected to continue, and business email will account for over 132 billion emails sent and received per day by the end of 2017.

Copyright Ó April 2013 The Radicati Group, Inc

If you think about those numbers, you’ll realise that every email counts; every piece of communication from you needs to stand out from the clutter. The question then is: how do you stand out from all the mails being sent? Another important element to bear in mind is the way you brand your email and your email signatures.

The way you engage over email, and most notably your email signature, communicates more about your brand than you realise, which is why it is essential that a lot of thought goes into the brand and persona your emails and email signature, portray.

Here are a few tips to help refine your approach:

  • Make sure that you begin your mail with a polite greeting. Just like when you meet someone you greet them, email shouldn’t be any different. This, for some, is the “first impression” if you have not yet met the person on the other side of the email.
  • Spelling – probably the most important part of any letter/email. Always check that you’ve spell checked your mail. People will not take you seriously if you spell their name, or any other word wrong. Attention to detail such as this is important.
  • Type clear and complete sentences. Don’t type random phrases, slang or short codes. This lends to ineffective communication.
  • Email signature – make sure that your email signature has all of your contact information. Think of it as your digital business card when you aren’t able to give one to that person. You’d ideally want them to have all your information so that you can be reached.
  • Once you have those contacts in your signature, you can look at the social media links that you could add to your email signature. These have become the next best form of communication in the digital era.
  • If your industry allows, you could opt for a really cool email disclaimer. Most disclaimers are formal (with not much personality) and I bet hardly anyone ever reads them. But, if yours can catch someone’s attention, they will read it, and it will show the effort that went into making it stand out.
  • There are great email service providers that also allow you to brand your signature, both the top and bottom. Just like you would open your email with a pleasant greeting, opening it up with a cool graphic, call to action or anything relevant to your business.
  • In this day and age, everyone is communication on their phone or tablet. Make sure that you try and have an interactive signature that a person can click on links within your signature. There is nothing more frustrating for a recipient then a .jpg signature that you can’t click directly on details, and where they have to memorise information that you could have simply clicked on, especially with the advancement of smart devices and their touch ability.

Related: 5 Ways to Improve your Content Strategy Using Video

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