Social sites make the most of gender gap
Published 16/06/2011 | 05:00
AS marketers, we know that there is a difference in how we influence men and women. Each sex has different priorities in lifestyles, work habits, and communication methods. So it makes sense that men and women would join different social media sites, participate at different times and amounts, and interaction styles would vary as well. In order to target your proper audience, you need to understand how each gender approaches the social media as a medium.
Men will traditionally try new technology first and spend more time on the internet than women. Men are using social media in huge numbers, both personally and for business, but women participate even more. There is much more competition to attract men from other industries. So interestingly, as long as women outpace the men, sites are likely to cater more to them, widening this gap even further. With the exception of business-oriented sites like LinkedIn, men are avoiding social interaction sites, but women are attracted to this method of communication. Women will also spend more quality time on each site, designing its layout, waiting for replies to comments -- in essence, building relationships. Women use social media as a discussion medium, as a way to share personal information and interact. Men tend to jump in and out more quickly, obtain information and log out.
The corporate world could be affected heavily by this gender gap. Women audiences are far more available to be hired from social media sites, which is the number one growing method of attracting new executives. Talent in writing and engaging customers online is crucial for marketing, customer service, and sales managers, and companies see women more able to possess this skill. Women as consumers have heavier purchasing power and tend to tell their friends and associates on their social media connections about what they purchased. They will also stay online longer, searching for coupons and sales, will be more thoughtful, and ask questions of others before purchasing.
Men aren't being left out, however. Where their gender counterparts use social media to interact, men use social media sites more to achieve something for themselves such as to connect with a potential mate, to purchase a product or service, get information, or close a deal or sale. Sites like YouTube tend to be tied for men and women because of its high usage to play music videos and post videos, both personal and business. The gap narrows also for Twitter, perhaps one reason being that it provides quick satisfaction and not a lot of personal interaction.
Women "get" social media. They use it as it was made to be used, for an immediate communication of information. When women get together, they chat, mingle, build relationships and they share. When men gather, they want action of some kind -- such as playing a game -- and they compete. While this may be an over-generalisation, this is what studies are showing from the big social media sites. More of the users are women and the sites will cater to these females.
Tara Dalrymple is the founder of Buzy Lizzie