Men: Don’t forget, men and women socialize differently, even online

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…This time in the words of FaceBook COO Sheryl Sandberg,

“The world’s gone social. And women are more social than men.”

In a Forbes article, “What Men and Women are Doing on Facebook,” by Jenna Goudreau, she discusses the different reasons men and women use Facebook and other social sites, as well as, the different reasons that men and women use social media.

First of all, women rule Facebook…no doubt about it.

The 400-million member site, which is the largest social networking tool in the world, is 57% female*. Also, Facebook attracts 46 million more female visitors than male visitors per month.* Not only are there more women on Facebook, they are more active on the site than men. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, women on Facebook have 8% more friends then men and they account for 62% of the sharing.

“The social world is led by women,” Sandberg says.

First of all, it is very important to know which sites women are visiting most frequently. According to Goudreau those are sites more focused on discussion rather then content such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, and Flicker. Doesn’t this make sense?? Women love to share and communicate with each other which is the key purpose of all of these sites listed. Men, on the other hand are driven to sites like Digg, YouTube, and LinkedIn, sites which focus on content and not discussion. If you’re trying to market to women (and you should be) this means you have a better idea of where to focus your efforts when creating a social media campaign. For example is you’re building your website to appeal to women, it will probably be more effective to include a Twitter button versus one for your LinkedIn account.

Also, and even more importantly, you must know how women use social media, which is differently than men. According to Goudreau, experts presume that the differences in how men and women socialize online mimic their offline intentions. While men use social media to “wheel and deal” by gathering information and making social connections to increase their status, women use social networking to connect and share. As Jodi Kahn, the head of iVillage says,

“We’re women-we like to talk about things.”

Recently, iVillage and BlogHer joined together to conduct a study and found that 75% of women use online communities like Facebook to stay up-to-date and in-touch with friends and family and astoundingly 68% use them to “connect with others like me.” Does that sound like an opportunity to you, men?? It sure does to me! Women are using social networking to find and connect with others that they feel share their motivations, feelings and opinions. This can even include niche topics like their favourite washing detergent to use or very personal topics such as their history of gynecology! Want to connect with women? Give them something or someone to connect with. According to Kahn, “Women are online solving real-life issues.” They want to learn about and connect with others who are experiencing similar problems. Men, however use online communities as a means to research and make contacts. As Lorrie Thomas, a social media marketing professor at UC Berkeley, says, men use social media as an “interactive Rolodex.”

This difference in social media usage is closely related to how men and women are raised. Men are raised to be hunter gatherers and women are raised to converse and connect. Elisa Camhort Page, co-founder and chief operating officer of BlogHer believes that men “leverage social media for broadcasting their ideas and skills vs. women who find connections with others by sharing the ups and downs of their daily lives.” In a recent survey done by ATG, an e-commerce software firm, twice as many women as men said they frequently share purchasing information on social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Myspace. Scott Staab, group creative director of marketing agency T3 says that a woman recommends a brand online is more likely to influence her friends. Once again I will use the words of Sheryl Sanberg, Facebook’s COO to reiterate a point I’ve made before,

“If you reach women online, they will tell their friends.”

Now, don’t you want to be a part of that??

* and Google Ad Planner



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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