Nobody wants to chat with a narcissist. Thanks to the huge impact of social media, marketing has had to adapt, moving from a carefully controlled brand monologue to a two-way dialogue – a conversation. If your brand says or does the wrong thing, consumers will let you know, in no uncertain terms and in real time. But equally, if you get it right, you can empower your customers and forge a legion of brand ambassadors, effectively multiplying the value of your marketing spend. And empowered consumers are acutely aware of this influence - 45% of millennials say they hold the power to help brands succeed or fail*.
Women are the most influential of the sexes on social media – more likely to like, share, review and generally collaborate**. Social media perfectly aligns with female psychographics, so it’s no surprise. Women place a higher value on the quality of their relationships and desire to feel understood, connected and engaged. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram enable women to keep in touch with friends and family and engage with like-minded people. They’re living their lives online - checking friends’ updates, commenting, sharing posts that reflect their ideologies, and building their personal and professional networks.
We also know that the demands of career, family, social lives, travel and well-being mean women are time-challenged and living multi-faceted lives. When making purchases they look to brands that understand these challenges and make life easier. And to find them, women CROP (seek CRedible OPinions***) before they buy. They trust recommendations from friends, peer reviews and influencers over brands. Through social platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest they can quickly find the answers they are looking for – whether that be product information, reviews, independent expert advice or simply inspiration. Not only do women get most of their information from friends, family and online communities, but women also feel that it’s their 0responsibility to help those in their circle make smart purchasing decisions.
Clever use of social media helps brands lay the foundation for a strong enduring relationship with their female customers. It’s no longer enough to simply have a presence on Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Now brands have to really leverage and feed the conversation, finding fresh, exciting ways to empower consumers and influencers to become part of their brand story.
The [ f ] Perspective - tips for embracing women on social media:
1. Listen and learn
Millennial women view themselves as brand partners and expect to be included in the process of creating products, marketing and brand experiences. Create lots of opportunities for open communication - get them talking about your products, commenting on and reviewing your products via your channels and their own. Make it a two-way conversation by responding appropriately to both positive and negative feedback. If you’re really listening you’ll quickly learn what you are doing well and what you need to improve on – everything from customers service to product formulation.
2. Create visually exciting content
Social media puts the brands women love in their lives every day and gives them unrestricted access. Women favour image based platforms. Instagram profiles offer prime real estate – here you can showcase products in glorious detail and in fresh ways to capture the imagination of your consumers and drive desire. Imagery should be created in line with the conventions of Instagram to maximise engagement. We know that authentic, in-the-moment content performs best and by placing products in lifestyle scenarios - in customers’ lives - you can build emotional resonance.
3. Let go
Brands have to let go of the idea that they can have complete control over the messaging about their brands. Women use social media to learn, create, share and critique. Don’t be afraid to be ‘story starters’ rather than ‘push messengers’ – invite real women and your most loyal fans co-create brand stories. A mix of branded content and UGC produced by consumers will enable you to tell an honest, relevant and connected brand story.
Today women are hungry for information from a source they can trust and they want to be entertained while they consume it. A quick search on YouTube for ‘contouring and highlighting’ will generate 1000s of results for tutorials from bubbly vloggers of all sizes and races. Consumers can now learn how best to use the latest products from someone who looks like them. This is a game changer. Collaborate with influencers that share your brand values and your customers can relate to. This could be as simple as providing samples for reviews or something exciting like developing a limited edition product that an influencer would be proud to put their name on.
5. Stand for something
Women want brands that have substance and depth – more and more they expect brands to support social issues and causes that they care about. But authenticity is key, if you’re going to support a cause or movement it must align with your brand values. Social media offers a unique opportunity to rich, meaningful story-telling about what your brand stands for – and if you stand for something your consumers will stand with you and this translates to brand loyalty and higher spend.
* Havas, Meaningful Brands 2017
** Pew Research Center, Social Media Update 2016
*** Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to "multi-minding" Women, by Kelley Murray Skoloda