Many researchers might assume that women use social media networks at higher rates than men but that would be a mistake. In a few key categories, men are the heavy social media users. Understanding what drives this behavior can help marketers successfully target men through social media campaigns.
Surveyed consumers generally say that they use social media to keep in touch with existing friends and family members. But for 12% of men, social media sites are a chief way to meet new friends. Men also see these networks as providing a connection with others who share similar hobbies or interests. Over half of men, 56%, say this connection is a major reason for accessing these sites.
These attitudes may help to explain why men are accessing the sites when they are planning a purchase or are actively shopping — they are looking for support and information. Here are the numbers, from Performics, which show that men turn to some social channels at the higher rates than women. (Women’s rates are shown in parentheses and numbers are based on a frequency of at least once a month):
- YouTube 54% (34%)
- Twitter 37% (24%)
- Google+ 36% (24%)
- Myspace 31% (20%)
- LinkedIn 20% (16%)
Men (71%) also outnumber women (64%) when it comes to visiting company/brand/product pages on social network sites during their purchase decision-making processes. And men have higher rates than women with respect to the following shopping behaviors conducted through social networks:
- Researching product information
- Reading product reviews
- Comparing products
- Finding product availability
- Accessing store information
Dana Todd, SVP, marketing and business development for Performics, suggests that these new social shopping behaviors exhibited by men are partly explained by the ‘digital dads’ who have more responsibility for shopping than earlier generations of men. In any case, it seems that marketers have a lot to gain by targeting men with their social media campaigns.[Sources: Surprising Shopping Study Results. Performics.com. 27 Oct. 2011. Web. 29 Nov. 2011; Smith, Aaron. Why Americans use social media. PewInternet.org. 14 Nov. 2011. Web. 29 Nov. 2011]