Throughout history, women have strongly impacted buying habits—they control 85 percent of purchasing in the U.S. As a result, brands have tapped their influence by creating strategic marketing campaigns that relate personally to the female audience.
Although a different beast, social-media marketing continues to make headway by targeting a powerful subset of connected and engaged women, especially mom bloggers with big social followings.
A survey conducted by Women's Marketing Inc. published new findings that shed light on social-media marketing and women. I pulled three important lessons from the data, which will help businesses to refine their marketing tactics, especially as they pertain to the female demographic.
1. Women are more likely to purchase brands they follow. It makes sense, really, considering women are more present on social media than men. On Facebook alone, women are 55 percent more engaged than men. Similarly, 55 percent of women are more likely to purchase from brands they interact with on social media.
Bonnie Kintzer, CEO of Women's Marketing Inc., offers some initial advice for small business marketing strategies targeted to women. "First you have to know your customer and whom you want to reach," she says. "Who is she and how does she buy? What media does she see and what channels does she shop in all day long? Once you know that, you know where to focus."
2. Women use social media to connect different aspects of their lives. Four out of 10 women feel that the primary benefit of social media is to connect with family and friends. But not far behind, 37 percent of women think the primary benefit is being alerted to coupons, promotions and deals by connecting with brands on social media.
This data demonstrates that women are primarily on social media to forge meaningful connections with their personal circles, but a similar set is also willing to interact with brands. As a small business, look to combine the two different kinds of outreach into a sincere and personal marketing strategy. In other words, humanize your brand to create a social media presence that women are willing to connect with—and share with friends.
Almost three-quarters of women (72 percent) like to use social media to connect various parts of their lives. "Women use social media to integrate disparate roles—family, work and personal—online, Kintzer says. "They use it to connect with family, friends and brands."
3. Different women, different outreach. Although you probably wish you could reach all women with one marketing strategy, the reality is that women of different ages and backgrounds access social media in various ways.
In general, 46 percent of women turn to their smartphones first thing in the morning; 31 percent access their computers. This data indicates that to reach the largest female audience possible, you should tailor a strong mobile campaign.
However, also think about the age group and demographic of women you're targeting. These factors strongly influence the type of marketing content a woman encounters. Women under 40 are more likely to check their smartphones first thing, whereas women over 40 are more likely to check their computers and/or watch TV. Furthermore, full-time employed women more often turn to smartphones, but female homemakers rely on computers for their first doses of information.
"Consumption of traditional media, such as print and TV, goes up at night and on weekends," adds Kintzer. "To reach women, know who she is and what media she consumes all day long. Plan an integrated campaign, because all the channels feed off each other. If a potential customer hears or sees your message in more than one context or venue, she will remember it, and it is far more effective.”
Overall, 30 percent of women report they have become more social offline since participating in social media. That doesn't mean they're spending less time on social media. It certainly means, however, that the more often women interact with your brand online, the more likely they are to carry that experience into their everyday lives.
As a business, never discount women's roles as strong brand influencers. Just remember that they overwhelmingly prefer a personal component in their online activities. Develop a way to combine the two and you will have created a promising marketing strategy indeed.
Photo credit: Thinkstock