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It’s no secret women have long struggled against cultural and social biases that made it more difficult for them to succeed in business…their own or anyone else’s. But times have finally changed. In the last 20 years the number of women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses has increased dramatically. Now, thanks to the Internet—and social networking in particular—the playing field might be evened out once and for all. Here’s why…
Social networking lets anyone reach thousands of hungry prospects easily and inexpensively —a large percentage of them women. Check out these stats about women’s online participation from the SheSpeak’s 2009 Social Media Study:
- 86% are using popular social networks, up 48% over 2008
- 53% make buying decisions based on information found on blogs
- 43% make decisions based on advice found in social networks
- 72% log into their social networking site at least once per day, a very high level of engagement
With this many active and interested women online, it only makes sense for other women business owners to market to them via social networking (assuming that’s their target market, of course).
On top of that, social networking also takes advantage of many women’s natural strengths. Think about it…
- You never hear anyone say “Every woman for herself!” There’s a reason for that. Women tend to be more relationship-minded and used to caring for others. We like to reach out, get to know people and create a sense of family or community. Social networking is all about building relationships and community, too. So it’s a perfect fit.
- Women have traditionally been the first to let our friends know about that amazing new hairdresser/shoe store/babysitter/restaurant etc. We truly enjoy letting others know about our latest find. Social networking makes it easy for us to share referrals and connect our favorite people and businesses together. What could be more natural?
- Women shop together, raise kids together (sharing tips and comparing notes along the way), and yes, even go to the bathroom together. We naturally offer each other support and a mutual sounding board for problems, dreams and ideas. Nowadays you can find online groups, forums and even entire social networking sites that are created by women, for women. These offer support, info, connections, PR and marketing opportunities, and more.
The bottom line is…doing what most women do naturally—creating relationships, community, connections, and support—is what social networking is all about. This means it’s also the perfect place for women entrepreneurs to become someone their prospects know, like and trust. What could be better for marketing a business than that?
In case you’re still feeling a little gun-shy, below are three tips to make using social networking to market your business much easier and more effective.
- Don’t understand the technology (How do you link your Twitter feed to your blog???)? The solution is to hire someone—Virtual Assistants are great for this—to handle the technology side, while you focus on strategy and content.
- Uncomfortable putting yourself out there in such a public way? Women typically have more trouble embracing and celebrating their expertise than men—let alone “flaunting” it. Rather than think of it this way, look at social networking as a way to reach and help more people. Then let other women do the bragging once they discover you.
- No time for it? Between the business, kids, and relationships, women entrepreneurs have a lot to juggle. And social networking can easily become a huge time suck with few tangible results. That’s why having a social networking strategy—complete with goals, and specific limits on the time you’re going to spend online and what you’ll do while you’re there—is critical.
Ready to get started? If you haven’t already, sign up for two or three sites where your ideal clients are spending time. Then look for interesting people to connect with and ways you can offer value. Most importantly, be yourself and do what comes naturally. Before you know it, your online network will grow. And so will your business!