Did you ever think that your ability to talk would be a valuable asset? Social Media strategist, Lauren MacEwen, shares her insights on how women can really leverage their communication skills and achieve that edge in business that men don’t, because we’re just wired differently. Thanks, Lauren!
Women have the business advantage in social media. We continue to be the majority of social media users. As a driving force behind a lot of the overall internet usage, women are commanding a powerful influence in shopping, B2B, social media, blogging and content driven sites. But women are not just the consumers of retail, information and social activity, we are also the drivers.
Socially women are taught to communicate. We are taught to express our feelings and thoughts and spread information along to other interested parties. Community interactions teach us the art of the gossip and the gab. We are known as the purveyors of information. But we are not just the purveyors, often we are a vast and varied storehouse of information.
Another school of thought argues that women are neurologically better communicators. According to The Female Brain women can process 13,000 more communication events than men and have 11% more brain cells in planum temporale, which has to do with processing language.
“[F]rom a young age, women are conditioned to nurture, communicate, and express their feelings through words; all necessary qualities of a social medialite. Our male counterparts, no matter how accomplished or web savvy, have to work infinitely harder to master the art of casually dishing information and “gossiping” about industry hot topics.”
According to PsychTests, women are more comfortable sharing their thoughts and more willing to discuss issues and take others opinions into consideration. Also, women are better listeners and empathizers and are more skilled at handling “touchy-feely” conversations. But does this mean that women are better at social media?
Whether or not you believe that women have a neurological or a social advantage, many schools of thought support the idea that women are better communicators than men. Communication is a skill and like any skill is something that can be honed and developed. This skill is culturally supported for women, and possibly neurologically. For men, however, the cultural idea of masculinity being the “strong and silent” type is working in direct opposition to developing this skill.
The nature of social media is social. It is about community, communication, conversation and sharing information. The way in which women use the internet supports a social media advantage. Though men often use the internet more for research, women do use the internet for research but the way the research is conducted is different. “Women tend to treat information gathering online as a more textured and interactive process – one that includes gathering and exchanging information through support groups and personal email exchanges.”
The business of being social is in interaction and dissemination of information.
Through our skills in communication and our own user trends, women can be, and are becoming, a powerhouse in social media. “Women are enthusiastic online communicators.” Social media is providing a platform where our natural, or socially, developed skills at communication give us a business edge.
The joke in my house is that if you want to know what is going on, ask me not my husband. In fact, my husband often says how much he dislikes gossip and would rather abstain from a conversation than participate in what he feels is gossipy. Me, on the other hand, I am a collector of information. I collect gossip, news, sociological theory, tech developments, and maintain a repository of generally random information.
I often use this information in my business communication to deepen relationships. Just like friendships, business relationships are not limited to the topic at hand. The gift of the gab can be more than a friendly conversation starter, it can now be an entire business model
- 42 million U.S. women use social media
- 56.1% of Facebook users are women
- Women spend 1.5 hours more per month on social media than men
- Digg is the only social network that men have a majority
- Between 2008 & 2009, women using the mobile web increased by 43%
- 55% of the mobile web are women
Lauren MacEwen is the founder and primary social media strategist for SM Cubed Consulting. She has a focus on relationship development for business development. As well as writing numerous guest posts for prominent social media and political blogs, she is also a member of the Advisory of Women Entrepreneurs for Dr. Shannon Reece.