Battle of the Sexes – Social Media Style!

We’ve been talking a lot lately about the role social media is playing in business, and how companies are beginning to leverage a social media presence in order to grow.  I thought it would be interesting to see who is killing it more on the social media landscape, men or women? 

The results aren’t surprising when you think about how men and women interact on a daily basis. Men generally are more transactional in nature while women are more social, which means that social media is almost tailor made for women to excel in.  Unless men can figure out a way to effectively use social media, I think the trends in women owned businesses, and their success will continue…Time to get in the game fellas! 

The Results Are In

  According to a study conducted by RapLeaf, Inc. in July 2008  there is a strong gender gap between female and male users of social media in almost all age brackets, with female users being the majority. From a business perspective this gap suggest women will be more in demand as companies shift to social media as a way to grow their business, and women entrepreneurs should be getting a leg up on their male entrepreneur counterparts.

According to a Rapleaf study, while both sexes still use social networking sites in huge numbers, women are the ones holding down the fort. In other words, the future of social media is going to be all about the women. So if you’re going to create the next hot Web 2.0 site and you want it to go viral, you’ll target women.

Rapleaf Study Reveals Gender and Age Data of Social Network Users

What does this mean for small business?

As a result, with the next wave of innovation likely to target women more than men, this gender gap on social networks (and increasingly in all of social media) will only widen. Naturally, male adoption of social media will grow as well. It just won’t keep pace with the expanding engagement among female users.

Rapleaf Study Reveals Gender and Age Data of Social Network Users

The RapLeaf study suggest that men and women in their 20′s are equally likely to use social media, less of a gap exsist within that age group. However the use of social media once a man gets married drops dramatically.  Why is this? Again the answer should come as no suprise. The study suggests that male users perdominantly see social media only as a way to interact with female users…again men are being driven by their primal urges, and once married see less relevance in social media becuase they do not seek out that male/female interaction in order to find that special someone.

Naturally, young men understand they can’t spend all their free time playing video games (though some practically do), as they still need to interact with the opposite sex occasionally. Sex, of course, has long been one of the strongest drivers of online usage. Not surprisingly, many men see social networks as a potential gateway to fill that desire. But once they get married, men see less value in social networks. Indeed, men generally tend to look at things in a more transactional way than women. That’s why married men dominate LinkedIn, the most transactional mainstream social network. LinkedIn is all about gathering intelligence and making introductions. We expect men to keep gravitating to transactional sites, such as those that make gaining access to news, sports, and financial information easier.

Rapleaf Study Reveals Gender and Age Data of Social Network Users

How does this affect the future of women in business, and their envolvement in social media? 

Quite simply there is no evidence that the gender gap trends will reverse or narrow which means women, and the fact that they “get it” when it comes to social media, will be in demand by corporate America and quite possibly able to grow their businesses more effectively through social media outlets for some time to come.

And because social media are so much more “in tune” with women, male audiences will be increasingly seen as less valuable than female ones. We already know that women spend more and make more purchasing decisions than men, and women seem to be more likely to tell their friends about their purchases—so an advertiser will get a double benefit from female consumers.

Rapleaf Study Reveals Gender and Age Data of Social Network Users

For anybody who’s interested, here are the raw numbers from the study by agegrou and network:

Click for full image

Women…What do you think?  Guys…Would you agree?

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