True or False: women are better at social media than men?
There are many things that women excel in, going beyond the limited capacity of men! Multitasking is a classic one; along with the ability to keep focused on a task, despite the appearance of someone they’re physically attracted to. Well with the exception of Thierry Henry who is in my guilty pleasure.
With the growth of the web 2.0 and the new rules for marketing a.k.a. social media engagement, given women’s exceptional capacity to communicate, the stage is set for the “fairer” sex to dominate cyber communication via social media and by implication the world of commerce. Okay maybe global domination is a little ambitious, but you get the point.
Women are already the dominant users of social media. This is wonderfully illustrated in the infographic below by Hanson and York. The statistics show us that women dominate all the top social media sites including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace and Pinterests where a staggering 97% of users are women.
Not only are women the dominant uses of social media, women have also been among the early adopters of the web technology. Business Live previously published an article stating that women were emerging as the dominant users of technology due to “declining prices and new devices that help women perform multiple roles”.
Social media for business brings the business owner into relationship with its customers. In order that relationships are both productive and mutually beneficial, one has to be adept at communication. Honest, open communication is as dependent on listening as it is on speaking. Women are held up as the better communicated and it is assumed that this is because women are traditionally thought of as “talkative”. However the opposite is true; women are better communicators because they are better listeners. What makes women better listeners is the fact that women tend to listen with the view to understand, whereas men generally listen in fix and problem solve mode. Unfortunately this tends to mean that they are already offering solutions (or worst still putting forward their interpretation of the situation) before they have fully understood the problem. I admit I generalise, but it would be a rare female indeed who hasn’t been frustrated by a man who is busy trying to fix her when all she wanted was to be heard!
Social media is a tool to market and communicate with your customers. It requires that the business owner takes the time to listen and understand customers’ PAIN – problems, aspirations, issues and needs and only then respond with a solution designed to deliver what the customer wants.
Evidence of social media usage indicates that women have a better understanding and are more discerning about how they communicate and whom they communicate with. For example Pew Internet & American Life Project, a project of the Pew Research Centre found that:
- women are more likely to utilize Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace privacy settings. A full two-thirds of women have completely private profiles, compared with less than half of men.
- Women manage their connections more than men. When it comes to defriending, women are more likely to cull their list of contacts on a regular basis. 67% of those asked said that they delete friends, compared to 58% of males.
- Women are less likely to post something they will later regret. 18% of men later regretted posting material likely to be considered inflammatory or embarrassing, compared to 8% of women.
How does this give women the edge? Well it means that women are better uses of their time when it comes to social media and keep a strategic eye on the bigger picture; i.e., how they will be viewed in the longer term. In business speak this makes women more aware of the impact of their online persona on their brand. Also women’s inherent communication style means that they are more comfortable when it come to creating an authentic voice for their brand, which makes it easier to sustain and build relationships.
Social media is a more subtle form of marketing than advertising and promoting products. It is based on the premise that providing regular communication and providing high-value information that satisfies your target audience, will attract visitors to your website and other social media platforms who will engage with that information by commenting on it and sharing it via social media share buttons. The aim is to build a community of people who like you and advocate on your behalf because you have established a strong bond with them. Building relationships takes time.
Women’s engagement in social media to date seems to imply that more women are prepared to take the time to build these relationships and use their better communication skill to grow their businesses using social media. That’s not to say that men aren’t hot on our heels. Secretly, I think that we are so far ahead that we well be having tea with our feet up long before men cross the social media finishing line.
Sorry guys …we love you really 🙂
What do you think? Do women have the social media advantage? Please share your thoughts and join the discussion.
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