Women in general and moms in particular have embraced social media as a way of acquiring and sharing information about products and services, according to a study conducted by the “Mom-entum” division of Big Fuel Communications.
It’s not surprising that women are active social networkers. A result of a separate survey released this week by the Pew Internet and American Life Project reveals that 58 percent of all Facebook users are women and they post, comment and “like” on the site far more often than men. On Twitter, the divide is even greater; 64 percent of all Twitter users are women.
According to the Big Fuel study, for which more than 800 mothers were interviewed, women approach their online social networking, both between themselves and other women and between themselves and brands, in ways that strongly resemble social networking and brand engagement done offline.
What is a little surprising is the degree to which those activities have been ported to the digital universe. Of the women polled, 54 percent spend 10 or more hours each week using social media. Twenty-five percent of the women polled report spending more than 20 hours per week on sites including Facebook and Twitter.
A big chunk of that time is spent interacting with friends and family. But, increasingly, women are initiating contact through social media with the brands that they like, brands about which they are curious and brands that their friends like, trust and recommend.
Unlike their responses to unsolicited email, women are inclined to react positively if a brand initiates contact with them, especially if that brand offers content that they deem valuable. Almost 70 percent said that they are receptive to that tactic. But they are also more than willing to initiate contact with their favorite brands on their own. When asked why they had “liked” a particular product on Facebook, more than 30 percent of moms polled said, “I just liked the brand so I looked it up on Facebook.” Almost three quarters of the women polled have posted either on their own Facebook page or on sponsored Facebook pages about a brand or product.
Interestingly, women’s willingness to expand their online reach seems to be limited. They may be colonizing the social media universe, but when it comes to the virtual workplace, men may still have a better sense of how to maximize their connections. According to research done by professional networking site LinkedIn, men have what the site terms a higher “savviness” rating; the men on the site have more connections than the women, and the population of LinkedIn skews male.
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