Is Social Media for Girls?

Rosie and I were filming a couple of segments for a local TV show yesterday, talking about social media for CPG companies, when the question came up — is social media for everyone, or just for women?

Since we were talking about shoppers in Big Box grocery aisles at the time, we didn’t immediately get the true thrust of the question. We were thinking about social media’s power to reach the largely female consumers we were discussing. As Rosie and I peppered the questioner with suggestions for great ways to use Pinterest and Facebook for his product, we were justifiably enthusiastic about using social media to reach women.

The question came up again several times off camera, though, and it finally struck me that they weren’t talking about female shoppers. They were talking about female business owners, and even female marketers. We assured them that we had guys on our social media team and as customers, but the question really came down to this: Isn’t social media so girly that real businessmen don’t see the value?

We finally grasped the stereotype involved. There are more than 9 million woman-owned businesses in the U.S., according to an American Express study. This sounds like great strides for economic equality — until you see that the average woman-owned business in 2014 had .9 employees and grossed about $155,000 per annum. Factor in the headline-garnering self-made millionaires, and it’s pretty clear that a lot of American businesswomen are alone in their kitchens whipping up cupcakes to sell to local coffee shops and earning $10,000 a year.

These are the women the guys we spoke with had in mind. Clearly, they have time to spend on social media and they don’t have the budget for advertising, so that’s why they’re hawking their wares on Facebook, right?

Think again.

First, are there only women following your brand on social media? Nope. These are the male/female demographics for our clients as a composite — that is, counting all the clients for whom we do social media.


For both Twitter and Facebook, though we have some clients with a definitely female audience, men are in the majority when we take all accounts together. The majority of social media users on these platforms may be female, but the majority of visitors to the business accounts we handle are men.

So no, you’re not only talking to women.

Then is it true that it’s mostly women who invest in social media for their companies? It might easily be true that the majority of business owners who do their own tweeting are women. That’s not the average business social media strategy, though.  A recent Dartmouth study determined that 80% of Fortune 500 companies have a public-facing Facebook account and 83% are on Twitter.

The higher a company’s rank in the 500, they more likely they are to have a consumer-facing blog, though that varies with industry. Crude oil, for example, does very little blogging, while retail and CPG companies are very likely to have blogs across the board — and the more successful they are, the more likely they are to blog.

The Fortune 500 companies, in case you were wondering, have just 5.2% women CEOs among them.

So no, it isn’t only female business owners who use social media.

Now you know.






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