Women and Facebook

Marketing Research Roundup

For many women, Facebook provides another important way of staying in touch. While it can be used for more personal one-to-one confidences, Facebook enables more broad many-to-many exchanges. For time-squeezed women, social media platforms like Facebook are an efficient way to stay in contact with friends and family. It’s evolved into an important change in how we interact and juggle our busy lives.

3 Major findings from Oxygen’s Facebook survey

Recently, Oxygen Network with the help of Lightspeed conducted research on women and their Facebook behavior. Here are three of the major findings of Oxygen’s research:

  1. Women, especially those in their 40s and beyond, are the fastest growing segment of Facebook users. This finding is neither new, nor surprising since these women are most likely monitoring their teen and college aged children, other family members, friends and colleagues.
  2. Roughly 40% of women surveyed perceived themselves as power users. While not a majority, these women view themselves as always on call to help do whatever is needed, be it for their family, friends or job. Marketers should take this into consideration when trying to connect with these women.
  3. Women, in general, have not fully thought through the implications of the Internet’s never-ending memory or Facebook’s propensity for changing privacy settings without notice based on their response to questions related to privacy. Interestingly, they act a lot like their children.

As a marketer, it’s interesting that Oxygen and Lightspeed chose questions that didn’t yield new insights into female behavior on social media sites like Facebook. What’s even more interesting is that Oxygen focused its own Facebook effort on three of its reality television shows, not on promoting its own brand. For example, the Bad Girls Show has close to 850,000 followers. By contrast, with over 10,000 people who like Oxygen’s page, most of the content is a stream of comments containing the word “oxygen”. Not a very social media savvy strategy to engage prospective television viewers.

3 Implications from Oxygen’s Facebook research

Here are three things that I find interesting about this research and how I have observed women using Facebook.

  1. Facebook is a place where many women are applying newer, more efficient tools to their traditional roles as the family organizer and caretaker as well as for dating. Facebook with its ever-expanding user base facilitates interactions.
  2. Facebook makes previously loose personal connections seem closer since there’s more sharing and sharing that easily crosses time and space with comments and photographs.
  3. Facebook has caused longer-term sociological changes that its user base hasn’t considered. For example, women tend to fudge their age. Many years ago my two grandmothers each shaved a year or two off of their age. How will women who are web-active teens and twenty-somethings do this when they’ve lived and recorded their lives online?

What do you think about how Facebook is changing women’s lives? Have you changed your behavior as a result of Facebook?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Susan Getgood did a good analysis of this Facebook research on BlogHer.

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