AOL and Nielsen recently released a report with some interesting numbers regarding gender and communications styles in social media.
The report is concerned about how gender should be best addressed in social media marketing.
They use the word “targeted” but I don’t like that. Your ideal client is more than a target. Targets are shot at, not helped. You can’t build a relationship with a target.
Check this out:
Which gender should brands be targeting to help spread their message? While women outnumber men online — 53% vs. 47% — males are more likely to share digital media content — 51% vs. 49%
Interesting! Women outnumber men online. I already knew that, and my own audience breakdown reflects the same. Here’s the thing: knowing this, I adjust my social media game accordingly. This study bears out what I had intuited:
Men are also more likely — by a clear margin of 41% to 32% — to share information they deem “important” and feel will be helpful to others, from how-to tutorials to traffic reports.
“Men will share content that positions themselves as experts,” explained Kristin Kovner, senior marketing director at AOL.
Conversely, women are slightly more likely — 33% vs. 31% — to share information pertaining to a common interest like politics, arts and parenting. In other words, said Kovner, “women share to build community.”
Women “start businesses at 1.5 times the national rate” and the “…number of women-owned firms grew by 50%, well above the 34% increase in the total number of small businesses” according to the latest U.S. Census information.
What’s not addressed at all in the MediaPost article is…
What should we do with this information?
Well, maybe nothing, because the differences are slight.
But it’s different for all of us. For myself and this business, the difference is more than just slight.
Most of my clients are women. This could be due to several factors, first and foremost of which is my dashing good looks (ahem). I believe it’s because of two factors, really:
- The statistics cited above on the overall numbers of women vs men-owned businesses and online presence.
- I’m pretty good at not turning off women to my content and marketing.
I don’t claim to have any special prowess with women (insert joke here) because I never set out to market to them over men. In other words, I never concentrated on either gender at first, this is just the hand which fate has dealt me (and it’s such a terrible punishment, I know…).
When I now envision my idea client, she’s a she.
So… I tweet like a woman and I’m perfectly okay with that
I’m not being a phony. I’m not pretending to be a woman by using aliased or pseudonym social media accounts. What I am doing is remaining aware of the differences cited above in how men and women share content in social media.
If you take a look at my Twitter and Facebook streams you will see a mix of manly how-to practicality and just plain ol’ socializing and fun. Sometimes even slightly flirtatious fun, too. And I do mean slightly. Fun is good, creepy is not.
My main point here being that I kinda tweet like a woman, and while it doesn’t make me phony or manipulative, neither is it an accident or done unconsciously.
My masculinity is saved by my epic beard, which instantly out-beards all other beards in any room I enter and shrivels them in emasculated shame.
What do you need to be doing?
And the answer to that may be: nothing. Maybe gender and how it affects sharing and communications on social media doesn’t matter to you. If you’re a guy with other guys for clients, you probably don’t have to think too hard about it. If you’re a woman working with women, same thing. It’s all perfectly natural.
But… you may be the exception to the rule and not realize it. And you wondered why your social media marketing hasn’t gotten the traction you’d hoped for. You may want to attract the opposite sex as a client, but have felt like you had a cold reception or that people were just unresponsive.
In that case, maybe you do need to tweet like a woman… or a man.
Image by Mike-wise