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Men, Do You Think The Social Web is Just a Trend For Marketing to Women? Think Again….It’s Just Getting Started.

eras_future

There are several reasons that marketers have yet to get involved in Social Media. Some are still completely unaware of it, some are fearful of it, some feel it is only for national brands and some say they just don’t get it. As the Social Web has become even more popular, now some question if it is merely a trend or a fad. Whatever your reason for resistance, if you are marketing to women, it is time to get on board with Social Media.

“Communities are going to continue to take charge over brands at an accelerated pace.” – Jeremiah Owyang

According to Jeremiah Owyang, senior researcher and analyst for Forrester Research and a few of his colleagues, projections of the Social Web reveal that not only is it NOT a trend or a fad, but we have actually barely begun to feel the impact and implications of this media. Soon to be implemented technologies, such as providing one single ID, will empower users to maneuver the many social networking sites with such ease that it will ultimately transform all marketing and advertising. Consumer adoption of the Social Web is increasing at a rapid pace, based on the 2008 Social Technographics Ladder, and for marketing to women, this is critical.

Within five years, you will no longer be simply communicating what your company has to offer. Instead, communities and more specifically, women will be defining what you will need to offer in terms of products and services, as social media gives the consumer a stronger and more powerful voice.

Owyang breaks down what we have seen so far, as well as what we can expect over the next several years, into five eras. This is not to be confused with the completion of the Social Web but merely what can already be visualized and anticipated at this point.

The Five Eras of the Social Web:
1) Era of Social Relationships: People connect to others and share
2) Era of Social Functionality: Social networks become like operating system
3) Era of Social Colonization: Every experience can now be social
4) Era of Social Context: Personalized and accurate content
5) Era of Social Commerce: Communities define future products and services

5 Eras Graphic

The timing of the eras – As technology provides, consumers optimize the Social Web.
Owyang notes that the five eras mentioned above actually overlap each other. While the Era of Social Relationships and Social Functionality have not fully matured, we are now entering the third Era of Social Colonization. The Social Web is not about large groups of people; instead, it facilitates smaller segments with specific interests. Users are capitalizing on the functionality of the technology to develop smaller communities – further optimizing their social experiences. This is fundamentally changing the role of the marketer. It is no longer about developing an ad and deciding where to run it to reach the masses. That thought is the old model. The new model is about creating smaller, more contextual, more relevant experiences and empowering communities to create experiences they are more likely to endorse and to share.

But it’s not stopping here. The fourth Era of Social Context is expected to introduce technology that will allow for a means of connecting all of a user’s social network sites through the efficiencies of needing only one user ID. This era is all about personalization placing users in control of their information. They can reveal it to companies at varying levels or layers pending what they want to get back from the company. For example brand advocates would reveal the highest level of information in hopes that the company would foster that trust with discounts. Registration pages will become a thing of the past. This will completely change how marketers will attain leads, and this era is anticipated to emerge in the next 2-3 years.

The 5th Era of Social Commerce is expected to begin in the next 4-5  years. This is when communities will begin to define the products and services. The model will dramatically begin to flip at this point. Communities will say, “This is what we want,” and companies will respond with products and services accordingly.

Social Media is not a trend, instead, it is a deliberate course leading to true consumer oriented products. Companies and marketers who begin listening to their female customers NOW through conversations and dialog will be best prepared to adapt to the control and charge the consumer will ultimately have on their product development and accompanying marketing in the very near future.

So, how should you prepare? Below are some great tips provided by Owyang. Pay attention. This guy is a genius!

Don’t Hesitate – These changes are coming at a rapid pace, and we’re in three of these eras by end of year. Brands should prepare by factoring in these eras into their near term plans. Don’t be left behind and let competitors connect with your community before you do.

Prepare For Transparency – People will be able to surf the Web with their friends, as a result you must have a plan.  Prepare for every Webpage and product to be reviewed by your customers and seen by prospects –even if you choose not to participate.

Connect With Advocates – Focus on customer advocates, they will sway over prospects, and could defend against detractors. Their opinion is trusted more than yours, and when the power shifts to community, and they start to define what products should be, they become more important than ever.

Evolve Your Enterprise Systems – Your enterprise systems will need to connect to the social Web. Social networks and their partners are quickly becoming a source of customer information and lead generation beyond your CRM system. CRM systems will need to inherit social features –pressure your vendors to offer this, or find a community platform.

Shatter your Corporate Website – In the most radical future, content will come to consumers –rather than them chasing it– prepare to fragment your corporate Website and let it distribute to the social Web. Let the most important information go and spread to communities where they exist; fish where the fish are.

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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
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Men, Social Media and Marketing to Women Explode. Are You Ready?

18oprah_span1

As Social Media and Twitter, specifically, become mainstream, one thing is certain— people are on the Internet, and Social Networking tools like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or the next big thing are how they connect. Twitter started three years ago, and it has taken @aplsuk (AshtonKutcher) about a year to accumulate 1,000,000 followers. Oprah started tweeting last Friday and had over 130,000 the first day.

But it is not only the volume of people who are now participating at exponential rates that makes Social Media relevant; it is also the diversity in how it is used. We are seeing interactive sites used as:

  • a platform for people to have their say and give their opinions
  • a place to create like-minded communities
  • a vehicle for real-time updates on virtually any event
  • a place to learn details from baking cookies to performing surgery
  • a voice for philanthropies
  • a place to share recipes
  • a place to build relationships

“Women have the tools at their disposal now to build an inherent connectivity with brands and to launch new businesses. We must partner with women and invite their co-brand management for brands to continue to succeed in the future — let’s start by listening.”  Kelley Skoloda, AdWeek

The question is, are you ready? Are you preparing your company to reach women on the Internet? Are you preparing to speak to them effectively? Are you prepared to give more timely reactions to potentially unsolicited PR nightmares such as the Domino’s YouTube scandal? Are you thinking about how to optimize the Internet, for instance, allowing students to tweet questions during surgeries? These are no longer optional questions.

Social Media is not going away. It will most certainly change faces over time. That is to say, people might not be using YouTube and Facebook or they might not be tweeting. Newer tools will likely develop and become more popular, but the two-way conversation has begun and will only continue to grow.

We will not be going back to one-way dialog where you tell your customers what they are supposed to think about your product or service. They are telling you what they think, and you need to be listening and reacting – fast.

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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

The New Art of Networking

Excerpts From Lunch with Social Media Guru, Peter Shankmansheconomy-skydiver3

Yesterday, PRSA’s Birmingham chapter hosted Peter Shankman, social media marketing guru, founder of HARO and Twitter’s @skydiver. I was up front with pen to paper and I’m posting today to share a few nuggets I took away. Enjoy!


LESSONS LEARNED:

  • If you’re using social media correctly, other people should be doing your p.r. for you.
  • Reach out to people when you don’t need anything. That way you’ll always be top-of-mind—the person who gets called when your contacts need something.
  • Four things make online marketing successful:

Transparency: Be straightforward. If you avoid smoke-and-mirrors or self-serving messages, you’ll gain the respect of your online community.
Relevance: Give your community news in the way they want to get it. Be timely.
Brevity: We’re becoming a sound bite society. Say what you need to say quickly.
Top-of-Mind Awareness: When, information or advice is needed, you want to be the go–to person.

  • To ensure you keep followers on Twitter, tweet out two kinds of information: things that are funny and things that are interesting.
  • You can tweet “I’m eating yogurt,” and no one cares. But if you tweet “I’m eating X brand yogurt. It’s delicious and you can download a coupon for it @link,” it becomes interesting, beneficial and helpful information.
  • We are becoming one world, one network.


QUOTABLES:

“Preacher, parent, boss. If any of those three wouldn’t approve, don’t post it online.”

“MySpace Arsenioed a year ago.”

“The average attention span on 18-35 year-olds is 140 characters or 2.7 seconds.”

“If you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you.”

“Every 12 days, Facebook grows by the number of people currently on Twitter.”


GREAT SITES TO VISIT:

Search.Twitter.com
Peoplebrowsr.com
Doyoupoken.com


RECOMMENDED READING:

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service
by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

Can We Do That?
by Peter Shankman

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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 Over the Age of 55 Are The Largest Growing Group on Facebook

elderly-people-on-computerWith over 200 million users now, Facebook‘s popularity is growing most quickly among women older than 55, according to Inside Facebook, which tracks Facebook’s growth.

Yesterday a CNN article revealed that there are now about 1.5 million female users older than 55 on the site – roughly a 550 percent increase over six months ago. By comparison, membership among people younger than 25 grew by less than 20 percent over the same period. The number of men over age 55 also grew dramatically, but women over 55 still outnumber men in this age group by almost two-to-one.

This is contrary to assumptions that many marketers and businesses make – that elderly people are not online and that elderly women are not involved in social media.

Why is this so important?

  • senior women age 50 and older control a net worth of $19 trillion*
  • senior women own more than three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth*
  • women control 85% of all brand purchases

CNN solicited interaction and discussion from people 55 and older on their own Facebook Discussion Board asking why they were on Facebook. While “connecting with other people” was a response repeated over and over, this group ranging from 50 to 83-years-old seems to be enjoying all that Facebook has to offer.

I’m 65 and joined Facebook around two years ago. I would be lost without it. I use Facebook to keep connected with friends and family that are scattered everywhere. – Jinx Macgillivray

Reasons people 55 and older gave for being on Facebook and why they like it:

  • To stay in touch with family all over the place
  • Keep in touch with children
  • To reconnect with people from high school and college
  • To stay young
  • Find it fascinating and enriching to interact with people
  • Easy way to keep in touch with everyone
  • Share photos
  • Share silly humor and laugh
  • Promote causes they believe in
  • Make new friends
  • Join specific groups for interests and discussions
  • It is borderless, and genders and ages mix so freely
*Mass Mutual Financial Group-2007

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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

Top 10 Social Media Questions Marketers Want Answered

sociale28093media_marketingSocial Media Marketing is undoubtedly still in its infancy, and exactly how to utilize it to market your company remains a complete mystery to most marketers and business owners. A recent online survey of marketers conducted by Michael Stelzner reveals that 88% of the nearly 900 participants indicated they were employing social media for marketing purposes, but a significant 72% have either just started or have been using social media for only a few months.

This makes Stelzner’s March 2009 white paper, Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses, an invaluable tool as it provides insight into the ominous world of Social Media Marketing. It is a free download and a must read for anyone considering Social Media Marketing. You will quickly see you are not alone and since 56% of the participants were women, ideas on how to reach them as a market may even begin to emerge as you read through the report.

A significant 81% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated exposure for their businesses.

Whether marketers are just getting started, have been doing this for a few months or have been involved with social media for years, Twitter is the most commonly used media tool.

Below are the topics surveyed and analyzed by Michael Stelzner in this free download.

•  The Top 10 social media questions marketers want answered
•  The Use of Social Media Marketing
•  Time commitment for Social Media Marketing
•  Benefits of Social Media Marketing
•  Commonly Used Social Media Tools
•  Social Media Tools People Want to Learn More About
•  Survey Participant Demographics

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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

Blogging: The Engine That Drives Your Social Media Efforts

BlogIt began with conversations. Then we got into broadcast media. Now we are going back to conversations. It’s a full circle. –Terry Catchpole, The Catchpole Corporation.

As I have discussed in past posts, one of the best ways to connect to the female audience and build your brand is through a personal or corporate blog. Blogs are changing the way Business talks with their customers. Your business needs to join the social conversation online to build trust and humanize your brand. Your blog lets female customers see who you really are before they engage you in potential business.

Blogs are rapidly becoming the actual engine that drives your entire Social Media Marketing efforts.

Learn All You Can
The best thing to do is to jump in and get started. Apprehension will leave your brand stagnate, but there are many ways to move past those fears. And it begins with knowledge. The more you know about blogging and it’s impact, the more successful you will be. One of the most useful books I have read about blogging is Naked Conversation by Robert Scoble and Shel Isreal. I have quoted this book several times while pitching clients on the benefits of joining the social conversation online.

Here are “Five Successful Tips” from the book that I have found very useful to understand before you start your blog.

  1. Talk, don’t sell – Remember this is a conversation­—not a pitch.
  2. Post often and be interesting – Take the time to do a post regularly and remember every post does not have to be a white paper. I have run across several great blogs that simply include a link and a short commentary.
  3. Write on issues you know and care about – If you have a passion for something, your conversation will come naturally. It’s hard to be an authority and passionate about something if you don’t care about it. And remember that women can see right through your insincerity.
  4. Blogging saves money but costs time – The medium is inexpensive but it still takes the research, creativity, and time to build the brand.
  5. You get smarter by listening to what people tell you – Remember that this is a two-way conversation. It’s truly unbelievable how much I have learned from others while writing this blog.

Effective Execution is Key
To be successful, your blog must be carried out correctly. Another invaluable resource is Chris Brogan, who is among the current online social media influencers and someone I look to regularly for advice and trends. Below is a list of great advice and thoughts about blogging developed by Chris. (list originally compiled by Michael Gass of Fuel Lines)

So, Get Started
A fun way to get started with your blog is to sign up for Plinky.com, which will send you a daily prompt to get the blog ideas going. Plinky offers suggestions to get you thinking – where you go from there will define your social media platform.

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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

For Social Media to Successfully Connect With Women, It Demands Well-Orchestrated Strategy

sheconomy-strategySocial media and social networking become Social Media Marketing success stories only if developed, implemented, monitored and managed with clear cut strategies. Women are your market, and social media is the way to reach them. But you must connect effectively.

Costs associated with social media and networking tools are very appealing. But it will cost you more in the long run if a strong and well thought-out plan is not in place. Begin with knowing who you are and the female audience you need to reach now.

“The high-volume, low-dollar, high-complexity nature of Digital programs makes it the most labor-intensive medium in the advertising industry,” states Joe Burton in the 4A’s recent book, Understanding the Economics of Digital Compared to Traditional Advertising and Media Services.

The value in Social Media is the conversational transparency and engagement it offers. But natural dialogue still requires topics and points of interests. These cannot be forced. The female audience will see right through you and get bored very quickly. The subject matter must be honest yet thought provoking, and the platform must be dimensional with intuitive intentions.

Keep in mind, this is now a two-way conversation. We have gone from monologue to dialog. And if you simply feed the Internet with your hyperbole, women will eat you alive.

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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