What if I told you there is a certain group in the online world that makes 85 percent of the purchasing decisions in the average household? It gets better if you’re in the travel industry — this group makes 92 percent of the decisions there. Food and pharmaceuticals? An astounding 93 percent of purchasing decisions are made by this group.
You’d be a little interested, right? Well, guess what? There’s more good news if you’re in social media marketing because approximately 70 percent of this group can be accessed through social networks. This group also relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing — the same style of marketing for which social media is so often lauded.
Yep, it’s women.
Any marketer would be severely missing an opportunity were he or she to ignore women as a demographic. Aside from certain websites like Reddit and Digg, there are more women on every social platform than men, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Research has found that women are much more likely to buy from a brand that they’re following online. They’re also highly likely to research a brand’s reputation before purchasing a product. What’s the bottom line? You need to get your name out there.
With that being said, if your target audience is women, what should you do? How should your online campaign be structured to best reach this demographic?
It’s important to realize what successful traditional marketing to women looks like, and apply the same principles online.
- Traditional marketing says: Don’t go with an over-the-top feminine look and assume that pink colors and baby pictures will resonate with your audience. It’s stereotypical and incredibly unoriginal.
- Social media marketing: Keep your brand pages looking professional. Women will buy your product because of its functionality, not because you placed it in the hands of a baby.
- Traditional marketing says: There’s a reason they’re called coupon moms. Discounts and promotions can often encourage women to purchase a product.
- Social media marketing: Offer plenty of contests and coupons online. Free giveaways are one of the best methods of increasing online engagement. Launch a campaign that asks your customers to list their favorite things about your product, and award the top five (or 10 or 20) submissions. In addition to strengthening your following, you’ll have plenty of positive testimonials.
- Traditional marketing says: Women are more likely than men to listen to their peers when making purchasing decisions.
- Social media marketing: Encourage your followers to express their love for your brand online. Feature comments and reviews on your website, while retweeting or thanking customers who offer you praise. Use those testimonials from the campaign as a way to show off what others are saying about your product.
- Traditional marketing says: Women are drawn to stories as opposed to mere facts about a product. It’s often a good idea to associate a product with a certain emotion, be that happiness or avoiding boredom.
- Social media marketing: Create a campaign about how your product is being used in the real world. Encourage video submissions or photos of your product in use. Proudly feature these on your social media channels. Women are also very visual, so it’s a good idea to be on Instagram or Pinterest (or both!).
- Traditional marketing says: Women are drawn to products that fix a problem.
- Social media marketing: Make sure your online channels are helping women by providing tips and tricks associated with your product. You’re more likely to gain a loyal following by adding value to your followers’ lives.
Remember, of course, that many of these tips can also be used to reach a male audience. Keep in mind that you’re end goal should always be to share helpful content and create a community of engagement, regardless of who your audience is.
But if you’re struggling to reach a female audience you know you can be reaching, try the steps listed above. You’ll end up with more loyal fans, a significant amount of positive reviews, and the word-of-mouth marketing that money can’t buy.
About the author: Joseph Havey is an account manager for the Triangle-based Shelten Media, LLC, a start-up company specializing in social media marketing. He attends N.C. State, studying Communication with a focus in PR, and is also a member of N.C. State’s PRSSA chapter. He also writes for their newspaper, Technician. In his free time, he trains for triathlons.