Women are a force to be reckoned within social media according to a new study conducted by Harris Interactive (for Rebtel).
This is key information for internet marketers who previously thought they were catering to male audiences. It also means that companies that usually spend most of their marketing dollars in more traditional advertising channels such as print and television to reach female audiences can find worthwhile opportunities in social media.
Why Women Matter
The study shows clear evidence that women are savvy network marketers and that their propensity to social media means that they are also more social. That is, they are inclined to interaction and they interact on a consistent basis. In fact, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which conducted a study on internet users, 69% of women who use social media log in daily. (CNN Tech, 8/26).
As women’s influence in social media continues to grow, marketers must now reevaluate how they are marketing not only to this specific demographic, but to social media users, as a whole. Because women influence social media, creating an online campaign that alienates the interactive and social nature of women is a prescription for fiscal disaster. To this end, analysts that had previously taken a more traditional approach to social media marketing now have a reason to point to when they evaluate why their campaigns may have failed.
Women Authorize Social Media Trends
Women have embraced social media and used it as an extension of both home and work. Women use blogging, in particular, to journal or chronicle their thoughts and opinions, offer advice and examine products and ideas. Blogging provides the means to make those assertions in a social way. Prominent bloggers such as Geraldine DeRuiter of the Everywhereist and Molly Erdman of Catalog Living, both which were listed in Time’s The Best Blogs of 2011, serve as examples of the degree of influence women are bringing to the web.
That sphere of influence is also far reaching into social media technology, as well. As an example, Tumblr, which has a predominantly young female following, is now more popular as a blogging platform than WordPress. A noteworthy difference between the two platforms is that Tumblr is more community-oriented in that social media integration is built-in and doesn’t require additional plug-ins like WordPress does. This noticeable shift is further evidence that women are not only influencing the blogosphere, but they are authorizing it, as well.
The Real World Is Key
What does this new data tell us about women as consumers? Bridget Brennan, author of “Why She Buys” (Crown Business, 2009), offers that women respond to stories more than they do to product information. Women want to hear personal experiences as opposed to the science on the label. Marketers can use this information to their advantage by introducing real-world anecdotes into their marketing material and then amping up their social media capabilities to stimulate brand awareness and generate feedback about new and existing products. The most successful companies, after all, hang out where their customers do.
A Plan That Works
When faced with the task of creating an effective marketing program for an emerging brand or making an existing brand more relevant to the social media scene, internet marketers must take marketing to women seriously. Women are the decision-makers, the innovators and trend-setters of social media; therefore, it follows that knowing what makes them tick, what incites them to action and how they communicate are high up on the radar. It isn’t enough to take a traditional marketing campaign, color it pink and expect breakthrough results. Social media marketing must be purposeful and specific to tap into the habits and emotional triggers that are unique to women.