Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Women and Social Media – Playing to our Strengths

Marketers are always looking to influence women. While we (still rather appallingly) don’t earn equally to men, in many ways our spending power is greater. Why? Because we often have more influence than our spouses/boyfriends in what is purchased. Women have high influence on the purchase of groceries, home goods and furnishings, and clothing. In families, women’s choices influence children’s toys, entertainment and the petty cash expenditures that make up teen entertainment, allowances and tooth fairy money. We carry brand loyalty, we search for deals, our gender’s proclivities practically program us to be social. Combine that with shopping and you have a marketing home run. 

We are the Social Gender
Because women are by and large expert natural communicators companies have been constantly looking to engage us across multiple platforms and sectors both locally and globally. Rather than selling us something we might not need, but find attractive, now we are approached via social media to not only share our opinion but to sometimes beta-test or even evangelize for products and services before a single sale takes place.

The Good Gossip
Take for example a traditionally female market – baby products. Every new mother is looking for the best products that bring CPQ - Convenience, Price and Quality. If they have a cachet to them as well, so much the better. Who will these new moms listen to? The “Varsity” mothers, those with older children who can share their wisdom from a “been there, tried that” perspective. An entire cadre of “mommy bloggers”, our own version of 21st century “god-sibbs”, is out there sharing their opinions in real-time and building brand authority for any number of products. These days with social media, it’s not 4 out of 5 doctors recommending, it’s 4 out of 5 of the women in your child’s neighborhood preschool, at your job, on Facebook, in the pew and 6 timezones and perhaps a cultural divide away.

Leading Ladies
Because women are so driven to build relationships, we have a breadth and depth of opportunity to become social media leaders and sisters to one another. Advice driven sites on where to find the best bargains, deals, and coupons continue to grow. The addition of “gaming” techniques to deepen the engagement expands and amplifies our participation.  We have a gender-based advantage in communication and relationship understanding that can be used to effect change and create innovation by aggregating user value and harnessing the power of collective intelligence.

All Access Pass
For women who are trying to start their own businesses, the numerous free tools offered by social media are a huge boon for marketing and promotion. Social media done right is an all access backstage pass – you can build a stream to venture capital, industry experts and key players who can help along the way. Just a few years ago, this would have been much more difficult to gain without an MBA and/or a well-connected friend. A marketing campaign of Facebook, Twitter and a blog about your business costs nothing but your time. Social media enhances our relationships to one another, broadens our spheres of influence and levels the playing field. Women who aren’t using social media successfully are missing out on flexing our social muscle.

Share your thoughts. Are women better at social media than men? Are we truly playing to our strengths? Does gender have any bearing on social media success?

Feel the link love: Images courtesy of Virology, Perfectlyspaced.com, Zazzle.com and the University of South Florida

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