NEW YORK, March 4, 2013 – Research released today by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick identifies a sizable segment of North American women who enjoy using their social networks so much that they prefer socializing online over dating or spending time with their partner.
Weber Shandwick partnered with KRC Research to conduct Digital Women Influencers, an online survey of 2,000 North American women. The purpose of the study was to identify segments of women who are influential in social media and to provide new and unique insights about the female market as marketers and communicators evolve their strategies in this new era of digital engagement. This latest installment of the multi-part study, The Women of Social Media, dimensionalizes the segment of women who spend time using social media and enjoy using social media, accounting for approximately 82 million women in the U.S. alone.
No successful brand these days can be without a social media engagement plan. Nor can any marketer ignore the strength – in number and influence – of women who use social media. Our research reveals how invested these women are in their social network communities and, based on the results, we offer food for thought to marketers who want to engage these women and tap into their marketplace connectivity.
Director, Digital Engagement, Weber Shandwick
Vital Social Statistics
Social Media’s Emotional ROI
The Women of Social Media enjoy their online networks nearly as much as they enjoy live social activities (75 percent and 77 percent, respectively) and, notably, slightly more than dating or spending time with their partner (72 percent). In fact, one-quarter of Women of Social Media (24 percent) prefer to socialize online rather than in person.
Added Massura: “Social media is where these women like to be and social platforms connect them with products and brands. Marketers need to recognize that social media is more than a channel for distributing coupons and promoting sales, but an opportunity for building relationships.”
The Cost of Disengagement
Nearly four in 10 North American women (38 percent) have decreased or stopped their usage of one or more social networks during the past six months. Their top reasons for social network usage disengagement are “just not interested/lost interest” (59 percent) and “no time/too busy” (35 percent). Marketers should not take decreased usage of a social media site lightly – analysis conducted by SocialCode found that the average cost of acquiring a Facebook fan is $9.56.
Defectors are younger than total North American women (22 percent vs. 14 percent, respectively, are 18-24 years old). These women are probably experimenting with new platforms and therefore more prone to shifting their allegiances. However, this is a vital demographic for social brand initiatives and “chasing” these women from platform to platform could cost marketers dearly. Defecting women wield more influence than the average woman, particularly online, magnifying the importance of maintaining their engagement with brands.
Engaging the Women of Social Media
Given the emotional investment many women have in their social networks, marketers should consider building more emotional ROI into their social media brand platforms to keep these influential women engaged long-term.
Here are some easy to follow engagement strategies:
- Monitor your channels carefully to get to know your members. What are they “liking?” What is their tone of conversation? What product websites are they linking to? Develop a robust profile of your members so that when you need to reach out to them, you are doing so authentically.
- Develop engagement plans around your authentic knowledge of your members. Experiment beyond contests and sale events. Base engagement programs around your members’ interests and sync them to your promotional calendar.
- Find the advocates among your members and help them build communities of interest. Encourage them to bond with each other and your brand.
- Continuously evaluate and refine your engagement plans and activities to help reduce defections and ultimately the cost of your acquisitions. Develop defector strategies to bring them back to the platform they left. A one-size-fits-all approach to social brand engagement program likely won’t work.
- Keep in mind that not all women are mothers or wives. Be careful not to fall into cliché content approaches that polarize the female experience.
Please visit our infographic for more insights about The Women of Social Media.
About the Study
The online research was conducted with KRC Research in August 2012 among 2,000 women, ages 18 and over, in the United States and Canada. The margin of error at the 95% level of confidence is ± 2.6 percentage points for Women of Social Media and ±2.25 percentage points for total women. The first segment of the study, The Power of the PANK®: Engaging New Digital Influencers, was a co-branded report by Weber Shandwick with KRC Research and Melanie Notkin, founder of Savvy Auntie® and the lifestyle brand designed around PANKs. Released in late 2012, it assessed a large and overlooked segment of women with considerable influence, both financially and digitally.