Is your practice using social media to its best advantage? Are you missing out on the most important demographic you could be targeting via social media? Not all users are created equal – and when it comes to social media, you might be missing the point with the most critical audience of all.
Women are the Biggest, Best Users of Social Media
Women outnumber men on every single social media platform except for LinkedIn – which is admittedly less of a social media site and more of a career networking platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest – they all have more female users than male users.
According to Pew Research Center, women also use social media in different ways than men do. Women:
- Log onto social media sites more often
- Consume online news more prolifically
- Interact with brands more readily
- Are more likely to take online commentary into consideration when making purchasing choices.
While men are more likely to use social media for business and for dating, women use it as a resource for much more. They use social media for support, for information, for socialization, and for self-help. They depend on their social media networks to help them make decisions, from what sunscreen to buy for their toddler to which dentist to use.
According to ExactTarget, women are far more likely than men to “follow” a brand on social media to stay abreast of current offers and new products. Brands are more likely to get an interactive response from women than men. Women also are more likely to “crowd-source” opinions and reviews before making a purchasing decision – and social media is the perfect place to do that.
This means that when you market on social media, you are talking to more women than men, and women are more likely to be influenced by what you say to and show them. Fleishman-Hillard Inc. estimates that women will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade. Doesn’t it make sense to market to women?
Social Media FAIL
Sadly, the way that brands engage with women often falls flat. For example, the car industry fails across the board at marketing to women; a recent study by Hello I’m Venus revealed that:
- Nine out of ten women surveyed felt that car manufacturer ads were targeted for men
- 75% of women said they do more research on car buying than their partner
- A full third made the final decision on which vehicle to purchase
- 90% of women, when asked if advertisers understand them, said “No.”
Microsoft recently launched a new “All-In-One” PC and tablet and targeted women in ads that focused on a female stereotype – a bride gushing over how her new tablet was just perfect for planning her wedding and checking Pinterest. Other companies insist in “pinking up and dumbing down” products to somehow “appeal to women” – from handguns to Bic pens, changing the color and shrinking the size is often deemed sufficient and the brand considers its job of marketing to women done and dusted.
So how do you use social media to effectively market to women?
Social Media WIN
When brands step back from the usual stereotyping and tropes commonly used when marketing to women, they find much greater success.
Pantene showed that the brand understood the double standard by debuting an ad that showed men and women behaving almost identically in similar situations – and captioned each photo with descriptive text: “He’s persuasive” vs. “She’s pushy” and “He’s smooth” while “She’s a show-off”. The ad concluded with the reminder “Don’t let labels hold you back.”
Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign has been drawing in women since 2004, with better ads and online campaigns every year. Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” sparked a collaboration with Getty Images to create a visual library showcasing women in every walk of life – working moms, female bosses, military team members and more, living realistic lives. Hello Flo demystifies girls’ and women’s bodies with campaigns that treat periods realistically, instead of a chance to wear tight, white jeans without fear.
How does Your Practice Talk to Women?
How do you translate all of this information into helpful tips for your practice? Here are a few dos and don’ts you can incorporate into your daily social media approach, to target the US’ most powerful consumer group effectively.
- Do assume women are intelligent. (Women are 33% more likely than men to achieve a college degree by age 27!)
- Don’t assume women like pink. (Fun fact: Until 1940, pink was considered a boy’s color, and blue – being calming – was thought more appropriate for girls.)
- Do recognize that women come in different colors, shapes and sizes. (The only “trend” your patient photos should reflect is an amazing smile!)
- Don’t assume all women want a man (or a baby, or a wedding). It’s fine to run an ad for tooth whitening for brides to be – but run one for women getting ready for that business meeting, too.
- Do listen to what the women who interact with your brand say and share. (They know what they want, and they are eager to tell you!)
- Don’t focus on physical beauty as the main reason women seek dental care. (Sure, everyone wants a great smile – but women are practical, and being able to chew takes priority.)
- Do use analytics, insights and and reporting on the social media sites you utilize to familiarize yourself with your female consumer base.
Look at the women actually using your practice, and think about ways to reach more women like them in your day-to-day social media campaigns. Monitor the questions women ask on your social media pages and create great content to answer them. Listen to what women say and they will tell you what is important to them.
If you can make women say about your practice: “They understand what is important to me!” You’ll be miles and miles ahead of 90% of your competition. Social media is a fantastic tool for marketing to women – you just have to use it correctly, with the end goal in mind.