Posted by Joe McNamara on Apr 30, 2012
Research conducted by Nielsen has found that women are substantially more likely to engage with social media and produce their own online content than men. The report shows that women are 8% more likely than the average user to update a personal blog, and 18% more likely to engage with a brand on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
It’s not the first time that women have led in the social stakes. It was recently revealed that 80% of Pinterest users are female. However, there is an argument to suggest more emphasis has been placed on other demographic indicators when analysing online communities. E.g. what age or socio-economic groups are engaging with social media?
For a tech PR agency with such a keen interest in social media, this provides an interesting insight for many of our clients who are interested to learn more about their own online communities. It’s vital to know who is talking about a brand and consider why that may be. Knowing the most likely participants in social networks is vital when putting together digital PR strategies too.
Driving sales online
The lines between PR and sales are notoriously blurred, but Nielsen’s findings suggest that a relationship does exist between a female’s inhibition to purchase products online and their increased likelihood to engage with brands, set up a social network, and share personal content.
Women are 12% more likely to buy products online that have been featured on TV and online shopping is certainly an activity that is dominated by the female sex. What is more interesting is that women are apparently more likely to be online in the first place and create an active digital persona.
The theory that consumers are more likely to engage with brands that they buy products or use services from is not rocket science; but what of the reverse? Knowing who is contributing to your online community is arguably just as important now as knowing who is buying your products. If a brand’s online presence predominantly attracts a certain gender, age range or socio-economic group, what does that say about the brand messaging and product appeal?
Digital dads and blogging blokes
With men being 21% less likely than the average user to follow a brand online, there are two conclusions to be drawn. The first is that brands with a specifically male target audience may be best advised to pursue alternative mediums of communication. However, the second is that brands should consider what they can do to persuade their male audiences to interact more regularly online.
It’s a real ‘chicken and egg’ situation, but the same is true for social networking sites that are attracting more females than males. Find out what men do / want to do when they are online and think of new ways of acting on that feedback. Practices such as digital PR and social media PR are indeed becoming more of an art form, but it’s simply a case of providing your online community with relevant content and offering them something a little different than your competitors.
Clearly this is an area that traditionally female orientated brands such as consumer lifestyle and beauty products are already excelling in, cashing in on growing trends in e-retail and online communities. However, perhaps companies with a stereotypically male audience, like B2B technology and hardcore gaming brands, need to do more to digitise their community and raise brand awareness online.