12 Hurdles Male Marketers Must Clear To Successfully Market To Women With Social Media

As I review the explosive stats on the MBAonline INFOGRAPHIC shown below, I am amazed at the number of male marketers who still question the validity of using social media to connect with women.

But they do, and I hear from them daily.

After many discussions, I have noticed several common mistakes marketers continue to make when attempting to reach the female audience which keeps them from realizing success with social media.

12 Mistakes Male Marketers Continue to Make When Marketing to Women With Social Media

  • They are still trying to tell women what they want
  • They are not listening to what women are saying
  • If they do listen, they are still interpreting from the male perspective
  • They are trying to sell before connecting
  • They expect immediate results
  • They have not defined valid expectations
  • They try to find ways around the time required to build relationships
  • They assume social media means “Facebook”
  • They don’t know how to engage the female
  • They open channels with little or no strategy
  • They are working from a linear mindset as opposed to a multi-layered process
  • Finally, and my favorite – they are looking forward to the recession ending so things can return to normal.
Guys, it’s not only the number of users, but also the amount of time and levels of engagement that are increasing. For example:
  • 172 million people visit Facebook daily
  • 864,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube daily
  • 4.7. billion minutes are spent on Facebook daily
Bottom line, you are not going to stop the control that social media has provided people and you are not going to quieten the female voice. Quite the contrary. They are simply getting louder.

Not “getting it” is no longer an option. If social media is not working for you, try breaking through some of the barriers to reach your market on the other side.

A Day in the Internet


Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for 
Holland + Holland Advertising,Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Is Facebook vs. Google+ Similar to Microsoft vs. Apple?

The radical impact Google is making within the social space has reminded me a bit of the early days with Microsoft vs. Apple. Today it’s Facebook vs Google Plus. Much like Microsoft, Facebook captured the bulk of the market early on and rapidly grew on a worldwide basis. And even though Facebook, much like Microsoft has been somewhat discombobulated, they both fulfilled an untapped need. Microsoft redefined productivity in the business world. Facebook revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Both achieved what needed to be done on a functional level.

Apple on the other hand offered equal functionality yet with simplicity and clean sleek design. I admit I am biased as I have always been an Apple person, but as I have played around with Google Plus, I am feeling the same differentiating factors. Google+ is simple  and smoother in design. Good friend, Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa, recently shared a comment referring to the Aspen Ideas Festival:

Design is changing the way we talk to each other.

So true! And I believe Facebook is about to find that out. Facebook is functional and meets a need. But by incorporating thoughtful and logical design, Google+ takes the social experience to a different level.

So who wins? The consumer. I doubt Facebook is going away, but much like Microsoft, they are no longer the only ones playing and will have to step it up. Good competition means choices and ultimately better products for consumers. Google has been trying to get into the social space for quite awhile with little success. But with Google+, I think they have finally created not only something to compete with Facebook (and yes, Twitter,) but something that might even cause a switch.

For example, take a look at Chris Brogan’s (social media extraordinaire) new profile picture on Facebook. I was a bit amused, but I’m guessing Mark Zuckerberg did not feel the same.

What does all of this have to do with marketing to women? Everything. Women want to share, connect and build relationships. And Facebook has met that need. But they also want simple, clean and sleek. And it appears that Google+ has been listening.

As marketers, you need to know social is not a fad or a trend. It is now a way of life and will simply continue to be improved upon – attracting even more women!

Are you prepared to connect with the female market?


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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email


What Did Google Learn That Male Marketers Need to Know? It’s Not Just About The Numbers.

Watching the progression of Google’s newest social attempt with Google+  (also referred to as Google Plus), I have noticed a strong similarity with male marketers attempting to get on board with marketing to women.

There are two main stages that both must go through to be successful. Acceptance and understanding.

STEP I: ACCEPTANCE
Google had to first accept that “social” was going to ultimately dictate “search.” The best assessment I have read about this can be found in one of Jay Baer’s recent posts titled: Why Google Has the Hammer to Make Businesses Use Google Plus. It is a must read.

Google has always been about page rankings and algorithms. Hence, they devised their PageRank formula using the number, type, and reputation of other Pages that link to your own as a major ranking factor. This has worked quite well for years and boosted Google to be recognized as the dominant leader of all search engines. But as social moved in, Google resisted change and by the time they recognized social as a necessary component of search (some might say “the” component of search,) they were already way behind.

Meanwhile, both Twitter and Facebook have dramatically encroached Google’s “search” domain with a deeply rooted understanding of “social.”

Male marketers and CEOs continuing to resist the staggering power of the female consumer may too find themselves way behind as fresh, up and coming competitors recognize the vast opportunities that exist in targeting the female market. And with a majority of new businesses being started by women, it’s not difficult to see who might have the edge in this arena.

The reason? Stage two – understanding. Facebook and Twitter understand social and women understand women. Google and men are sometimes much too focused on numbers.

STEP II: UNDERSTANDING
Once male marketers and CEOs accept that women are the market, the real work begins. But some men are not willing to actually get to “know her” and sincerely “understand her” to build relationships and connect effectively. Likewise, although Google saw the writing on the wall with the undeniable impact of “social,” they continued to attempt to control people’s social paths to fit into their algorithms. They could not veer from the numbers long enough to allow users to be authentically social and their several failed social attempts reveal just that.

As Jay Baer put it in the article mentioned earlier, “Google has tried to invent a source of social signals to give it the scoring information it needs to stay on top of the relevancy heap in an ever-expanding Web. Orkut. Google Buzz. To some extent Google Wave. Picasa. None of them got even Twitter-level traction, much less Facebook.

But Google Plus just might be different. After being out only a week, a study conducted by The Next Web reveals that 66% of those who have tried Google+ are ready to abandon Facebook. Why? Because Google decided to listen to what people wanted out of social. Actually, they pretty much copied the good of both Twitter and Facebook, but the point is they now get it. It’s not just about the numbers.

Google finally accepted that “social” is the future of search. But just as important, they finally chose to abandon forced paths for the numbers and are offering a genuine “social” experience. Which ironically, has led to higher numbers – certainly in terms of consumer buy-in. You know they must be doing something right when Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook is the most popular person on Google+.

Questions for male marketers: Have you accepted the power and influence of the female consumer? And more importantly, are you willing to listen to and understand her? My advice would be to not wait. Few can afford the expensive cost of a comeback like Google.


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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

WOMEN RULE THE INTERNET. As A Male Marketer, Do You View This As Competition or Opportunity?

I recently read Why Women Rule The Internet on TechCrunch, by Aileen Lee, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

This is a GREAT article and chock full of statistics supporting the headline, some of which I have highlighted below. Aileen also made suggestions and asked some very poignant questions.

  • More female users will likely help your company grow faster.
  • Take a look at your product, your marketing, your customer base.  Maybe you would benefit from having a larger base of female customers.
  • If so, what would you change to make your product/service more attractive to female customers?
  • Do you do enough product and user interface testing with female users?
  • Have you figured out how to truly unleash the shopping and social power of women?
  • Take a look at your team.  Do you have women in key positions?
  • If you’re planning on targeting female customers, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to have great women on your team.

The data is fresh and new yet continues to affirm there are beneficial rewards for companies that appeal to and connect with women effectively online. And Aileen’s thoughts are spot on.

So, why did this article strike such a competitive nerve with several men? (comments)

Did they miss the point? I think so. The findings overwhelmingly remind us that women are spending more and more time online. And those who develop products as well as advertise to meet her needs are going to swiftly move ahead.

As a male marketer or male business owner who needs to reach the female audience, it would be wise to view findings that reveal the power of the female consumer as opportunity, not offensive.

Does this mean you are going to benefit from listening to the female audience through the ears of  experienced female marketer? More than likely, yes. Because even if you don’t, someone else will.

A few of the findings:

  • Comscore, Nielsen, MediaMetrix and Quantcast studies all show women are the driving force of the most important net trend of the decade, the social web.
  • Comscore says women are the majority of users of social networking sites and spend 30% more time on these sites than men;
  • According to Nielsen. mobile social network usage is 55% female
  • Brian Solis’s analysis shows females are the majority of visitors on the following sites:
    1. Twitter
    2. Facebook
    3. Deli.ci.ous
    4. Docstoc
    5. Flickr
    6. Myspace
    7. Ning
    8. Upcoming.org
    9. uStream
    10. Classmates.com
    11. Bebo
    12. Yelp
    13. The one site Brian notes where males are greater than females is Digg. (Didn’t I just read where founder, Kevin Rose resigned as CEO and that Digg is not doing well?)
  • More women use Twitter according to bloggers Dan Zarella and Darmesh Shaw’s analyses.
  • In e-commerce, female purchasing power is also pretty clear. Sites like those listed below are all driven by a majority of female customers.
  • Zappos (>$1 billion in revenue last year)
    Groupon ($760m last year)
    Gilt Groupe ($500m projected revenue this year)
    Etsy (over $300m in GMV last year)
    Diapers ($300m estimated revenue last year)
  • Further, according to Gilt Groupe, women are 70% of the customer base and they drive 74% of revenue.
  • And 77% of Groupon’s customers are female according to their site.
  • There is an exciting new crop of e-commerce companies building real revenue and real community, really fast, by purposefully harnessing the power of female consumers.  One Kings Lane, Plum District, Stella & Dot, Rent the Runway, Modcloth, BirchBox, Shoedazzle, Zazzle, Callaway Digital Arts, and Shopkick are just a few examples of companies leveraging “girl power.”  The majority of these companies were also founded by women.
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook said:
    1. Women are not only the majority of its users, but drive 62% of activity in terms of messages, updates and comments, and 71% of the daily fan activity.
    2. Women have 8% more Facebook friends on average than men, and spend more time on the site.
    3. Women played a key role in the early days by adopting three core activities—posting to walls, adding photos and joining groups—at a much higher rate than males.

For more insight and findings, view the article in it’s entirety here.


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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Marketers: Women Do Like to Talk, But They Also Want To Hear Back

A recent study conducted by Burson-Marsteller of the Global Fortune 100 companies, reveals that as brands are becoming more comfortable with social media marketing, they are also taking a more active role in the social networking concept.

This is a great sign that companies are beginning to move in the right direction for marketing to women with social media.

Findings showed that 25% of these companies worldwide are using all four of the major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs with 84% being on at least one platform.

But more impressive than the continued explosion of companies “opening” social accounts is the increase in engagement and participation by the brands.

During the week prior to the study, 84% of companies posted an update to their Facebook wall, up from 59% who had done the same a year earlier.

Although the numbers do not reveal if companies are trying to inappropriately sell their products, the fact that they are talking back at all will get the attention of the female audience!

Click here for more on the eMarketer article.


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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Male Marketers, Both the Use and Purchasing Impact of Social Networking Among Women Nearly Doubled in 2009

Guys, if you are still not convinced that even more women are spending even more time on social networks, and you are even more baffled as to how that translates to your bottom line, then this one’s for you.

SheSpeaks’ 2009 Social Media Study revealed dramatic increases in the number of women participating in social networks as compared to 2008. But the most exciting news for marketers is the impressive increase in the influence social media has on what women are purchasing. A few of the findings:

  • 86% of women are now using popular social networks, a 48% increase compared to 2008.
  • 53% of women are making purchase decision based on information they find in blogs, up from 27% in 2008
  • 43% of women are making decisions based on advice found in social networks, also up from 27% in 2008
  • 72 % of women log into their social networking site at least once per day. Last year only 53% logged in that frequently, indicating a 36% increase in this high-level engagement.

Aliza Freud, Founder and CEO of SheSpeaks expanded on the findings. “Last year our members were going online primarily to research purchases, but now they are looking to social media to help them research, guide and facilitate every kind of transaction, from social exchanges to purchases,” Freud said.  “Women have become more comfortable using social media, and for marketers, the overall growth and habitual use of social media represents opportunities to reach and engage women of all ages, and influence their purchase decisions.”

But one of the most interesting things about this study is still to come.
When I spoke with Aliza about the findings, she shared that they had actually stimulated a follow up study that will take a more in depth view at what women are looking for in their online communities. This upcoming study was initiated because the data suggested that although women are open to developing relationships with a company’s interests they do NOT want to be friends with brands.

Ahh, the days of simply opening a Facebook fan page and Twitter account are gone. Well…. “those days” were never really here for any company seriously trying to connect with women.

I can’t wait to hear the results of the next study, Aliza!

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

Guys, Could Marketing To Women Be As Simple As Playing A Game? Just Might Be.

FarmVille_lgA new study released this week from Q Interactive and Social Media World Forum reveals that women are actively engaging with brands as they play some of their favorite online games. FarmVille has nearly 64,00,000 active monthly users on Facebook alone. And according to market research firm, Think Equity, the $720 million online social-gaming market is expected to at least double to over $1 billion by 2010. For brands wanting to connect and partner with women, online games are far from child’s play.

Brands and Women are Partners in Gaming and App’ing

The study investigated how brands and women intersect during social media gaming and app’ing and found brands are an important partner:

  • 97 percent of women prefer to earn virtual currency through either winning more or accepting a branded offer – versus paying for it with “real” money
  • While they game and app quite regularly, only one in ten women have actually used “real” money to purchase virtual currency; of that, 85 percent have spent under $100 in their gaming and aping activities – ever
  • Of women who have signed up for branded offers to get more virtual currency, 67 percent found the offer useful
  • 37 percent of those women chose the branded offers based on “content”; 17 percent went for offers with free products or services

“As brands seek relevant and natural ways to shake hands with women via social media, the gaming and application marketplace holds tremendous potential to integrate in a consumer-friendly, meaningful way,” said Matt Wise, President, Q Interactive. “Women seek a partner to support their entertainment, which is exceptionally important given their busy lives.”

The Modern Gaming and App’ing Woman is Competitive, Social and Loyal

The study also establishes a picture of the typical woman engaged in social media games and applications:

  • 85 percent of those surveyed use five or less games and/or apps regularly, indicating an inclination to be loyal to a handful of favorites; approximately 15 percent regularly invest in six or more games/apps at a time
  • More than half (57 percent) are earning/spending virtual currency daily
  • Introduction to new games and apps rest heavily on word-of-mouth: Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) got involved in a game or app due to “a recommendation” by family or friend or because they “noticed a friend or family member’s score”
  • 95 percent utilize virtual currency primarily to “gift” and/or advance games
  • In interacting with games and apps, 57 percent feel virtual gifting – for example, giving a bag of virtual makeup from Sephora – is as meaningful as real life gifting

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email