News Column

Women of Social Media: A Study of Digital Women Influencers

March 4, 2013

Research released today by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick identifies a sizable segment of North American women who enjoy using their social networks so much that they prefer socializing online over dating or spending time with their partner.

Weber Shandwick partnered with KRC Research to conduct Digital Women Influencers, an online survey of 2,000 North American women. The purpose of the study was to identify segments of women who are influential in social media and to provide new and unique insights about the female market as marketers and communicators evolve their strategies in this new era of digital engagement. This latest installment of the multi-part study, The Women of Social Media, dimensionalizes the segment of women who spend time using social media and enjoy using social media, accounting for approximately 82 million women in the U.S. alone.

"No successful brand these days can be without a social media engagement plan. Nor can any marketer ignore the strength - in number and influence - of women who use social media," says Marcy Massura, Director, Digital Engagement, Weber Shandwick. "Our research reveals how invested these women are in their social network communities and, based on the results, we offer food for thought to marketers who want to engage these women and tap into their marketplace connectivity."

Vital Social Statistics

______________________________________________________________________________ |86 |Percent of North American women who have a social media account | |__________|___________________________________________________________________| | |Percent of North American women who are Women of Social Media. They| |68 |spend one hour or more each week on their social networks and, on a| | |scale of 1-10, rate their enjoyment of social networking a 5 or | | |higher | |__________|___________________________________________________________________| |82 million|Approximate number of Women of Social Media in the U.S. | |__________|___________________________________________________________________| |10.2 |Number of times during an average month that a Woman of Social | | |Media "likes" or recommends products online | |__________|___________________________________________________________________| |1,600 |Average number of social connections a Woman of Social Media has | |__________|___________________________________________________________________| |62 |Percent of Women of Social Media who say they like that social | | |media lets them control who they talk to and when | |__________|___________________________________________________________________| |24 |Percent of Women of Social Media who say they would rather | | |socialize online than in person | |__________|___________________________________________________________________| Social Media's Emotional ROI The Women of Social Media enjoy their online networks nearly as much as they enjoy live social activities (75 percent and 77 percent, respectively) and, notably, slightly more than dating or spending time with their partner (72 percent). In fact, one-quarter of Women of Social Media (24 percent) prefer to socialize online rather than in person.

Added Massura: "Social media is where these women like to be and social platforms connect them with products and brands. Marketers need to recognize that social media is more than a channel for distributing coupons and promoting sales, but an opportunity for building relationships."

The Cost of Disengagement Nearly four in 10 North American women (38 percent) have decreased or stopped their usage of one or more social networks during the past six months. Their top reasons for social network usage disengagement are "just not interested/lost interest" (59 percent) and "no time/too busy" (35 percent). Marketers should not take decreased usage of a social media site lightly - analysis conducted by SocialCode found that the average cost of acquiring a Facebook fan is $9.56.

Defectors are younger than total North American women (22 percent vs. 14 percent, respectively, are 18-24 years old). These women are probably experimenting with new platforms and therefore more prone to shifting their allegiances. However, this is a vital demographic for social brand initiatives and "chasing" these women from platform to platform could cost marketers dearly. Defecting women wield more influence than the average woman, particularly online, magnifying the importance of maintaining their engagement with brands.

Engaging the Women of Social Media Given the emotional investment many women have in their social networks, marketers should consider building more emotional ROI into their social media brand platforms to keep these influential women engaged long-term.

Here are some easy to follow engagement strategies:

-- Monitor your channels carefully to get to know your members. What are

they "liking?" What is their tone of conversation? What product websites

are they linking to? Develop a robust profile of your members so that

when you need to reach out to them, you are doing so authentically.

-- Develop engagement plans around your authentic knowledge of your

members. Experiment beyond contests and sale events. Base engagement

programs around your members' interests and sync them to your

promotional calendar.

-- Find the advocates among your members and help them build communities of

interest. Encourage them to bond with each other and your brand.

-- Continuously evaluate and refine your engagement plans and activities to

help reduce defections and ultimately the cost of your acquisitions.

Develop defector strategies to bring them back to the platform they

left. A one-size-fits-all approach to social brand engagement program

likely won't work.

-- Keep in mind that not all women are mothers or wives. Be careful not to

fall into cliche content approaches that polarize the female experience. Please visit our infographic for more insights about The Women of Social Media.

About the Study The online research was conducted with KRC Research in August 2012 among 2,000 women, ages 18 and over, in the United States and Canada. The margin of error at the 95% level of confidence is 2.6 percentage points for Women of Social Media and 2.25 percentage points for total women. The first segment of the study, The Power of the PANK(R): Engaging New Digital Influencers, was a co-branded report by Weber Shandwick with KRC Research and Melanie Notkin, founder of Savvy Auntie(R) and the lifestyle brand designed around PANKs. Released in late 2012, it assessed a large and overlooked segment of women with considerable influence, both financially and digitally.

About Weber Shandwick Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations firm with offices in 81 countries around the world. The firm has won numerous awards for innovative approaches and creative campaigns including being named both The Holmes Report's 2012 Global Agency of the Year and the "Most Creative PR Firm in the World," based on the agency's first-place finish in its "Creative Index," as well as PR News' 2012 Digital PR Firm of the Year. Major practice areas include consumer marketing, healthcare, technology, public affairs, financial services, corporate and crisis management. The firm has deep, award-winning expertise in social media and digital marketing that helps drive engagement. Weber Shandwick is part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). For more information, visit http://www.webershandwick.com.

About KRC Research KRC Research is a full-service market research firm that specializes in the kind of research needed for effective communications--communications that reach, engage and persuade. A unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG), KRC Research offers the quality and custom service of a small firm along with the reach of a global organization. For over 30 years, KRC Research has worked on behalf of corporations, governments, not-for-profits and the communications firms that represent them. Staffed with market research professionals from the worlds of political campaigns, consumer marketing, journalism and academia, we are flexible, practical, creative, knowledgeable and fast, combining sophisticated research tools with real-world communications experience. For more information, visit www.krcresearch.com

______________________________________________________________ |Contact: | |||||||| |__________________________|____________________________|||||||| |Jennifer Norton |Rachel Manfredo |||||||| |__________________________|____________________________|||||||| |Weber Shandwick |Weber Shandwick |||||||| |__________________________|____________________________|||||||| |212.445.8314 |212.445.8171 |||||||| |__________________________|____________________________|||||||| |jnorton@webershandwick.com|rmanfredo@webershandwick.com|||||||| |__________________________|____________________________|||||||| SOURCE Weber Shandwick





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