I talk a good bit here about the power of the female target audience and reaching them with Social Media Marketing. But, I would like to pause for a moment to make sure something does not get lost in the messages.
Simply becoming aware that women are your market and social media is a way to reach them could actually be more damaging to your marketing efforts if both findings are not researched and strategized very carefully.
You’ve heard the old saying that “someone knows just enough about a subject to be dangerous?” That adage could not be more accurate than when advertising to women using Social Media Marketing. Beware, and do your homework.
85% OF ALL BRAND PURCHASES ARE MADE BY WOMEN… and recent research reveals that the majority of women feel that advertisers do not understand them, especially during the recession. So, if you have discovered that women are indeed your market, but do not bother to learn how to connect with them effectively, you may risk causing an even greater disconnect by not resonating with them or even offending them – ultimately hurting your brand considerably.
“In some ways, it would be better not to start at all than to be seen online with a big social media effort that simply disappears or stops with a static blog or a non-participating avatar.” Geoff Livingston, Now is Gone.
Although not all-inclusive, below are just a few “Don’ts” when marketing to women.
- Don’t fall prey to common stereotypes about women by painting everything pink, frilly and all about children.
- Don’t conduct focus groups with women and then sit in a boardroom with five other men trying to figure out what the women “meant.”
- Don’t rely too heavily on your wife or your assistant for the female voice. They either already believe in you or might not speak up for fear of losing their job. (Unless they are seasoned and objective marketing professionals)
- Don’t hire professional female marketers and then not yield to their advice.
Now, for a few “Do’s”
- Do conduct female focus groups and involve an experienced female marketer in the analysis, assessment and implementation stages.
- Do read, comment and learn from blogs written by and about women. A great place to start is: Ongoing List of Social Media Marketing Efforts and Social Networks and Communities for Women by Jeremiah Owyang.
- Do attend conferences and seminars to better understand women. An example would be the M2W Conference in Chicago in April 2009.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE WAY TO REACH WOMEN ONLINE … and the Social Media trend is NOT a fad or a flash in the pan. It is instead an irreversible way for people to relate to your company. So if you are ready to embrace social media marketing yet do not take the appropriate time to understand its complexities and hire the right professionals, you will definitely learn of its power – the hard way.
Again, although not all-inclusive, below are just a few “Don’ts” when marketing to women with Social Media
- Don’t get overwhelmed. This is admittedly a whole new way of communicating, and very complex, but if you allow yourself to get overwhelmed, you will find yourself paralyzed.
- Don’t hire an ad agency that has not been on Twitter for at least six months. If they have been following blogs and the leaders and evolution of Web 2.0, they knew to get a Twitter account. Although having a Twitter account does not ensure their expertise, not having had one reveals they have not been keeping up.
- Don’t hire a web-developer who doesn’t understand Social Media Marketing. Long gone are the days of simply getting a website up and running for your customers to seek out static information about you. Social Media Marketing is about engagement and conversation that comes about only as a result of full-time strategy, monitoring and management. And while the web-developer is probably not the person who would be performing these services, a keen understanding of the goals is required to develop a site that will prepare your company for the dynamics of Web 2.0 (Social Media).
- Don’t be mislead by the “free” tools. These “free” tools will cost you dearly if not implemented with well-thought out strategy.
- More “Don’ts” when using social media to reach women
And now, for a few more “Do’s”
- Do start participating. Get a Twitter account. Follow some of the leaders in the Social Networking arena including Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble, Charlene Li, Brian Solis, and Jeremiah Owyang just to name a few.
- Do start reading blogs and books that focus on Social Media from researchers to techs to authors. A good start with blogs includes Web-strategy by Jeremiah, Mashable, and TechCrunch. And two great books to get going with are Groundswell and Now is Gone.
- Do hire an ad agency that shows a well-rounded track record of both understanding the tools of Social Media balanced with strong marketing strategies. The tools are now available at everyone’s beck and call but unless utilized and intertwined through a strong marketing strategy, you could easily do more harm than good.
Social Media Marketing, implemented inappropriately, could be very damaging to your brand. You will often hear, and I would tend to agree, that the best way to learn Social Media is to jump right in and experience it. But I also believe that some of the mistakes made by major players such as Motrin and Ketchum are great examples of the need to do your homework and hire effectively.
The resources above are just some of my favorites. Please feel free to add to them under comments for others to benefit.
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
Filed under: Advertising during recession, Advertising to Women During Recession, Buying Power of Women, Marketing 2.0, Marketing to Women, Social Media, Targeting Women, Web 2.0, Women and the Internet