Samstag, 17. März 2012

Why Women Fail to Rule the Social Networks - Zusammenfassung für die Huffington Post

Ein paar Tage vor der SXSW-Konferenz bekam ich eine Mail von Margaret Johnson, ob ich Interesse hätte, meinen Vortrag für die Huffington Post zusammenzufassen:

"When flipping through the news on Facebook one day, I realized the difference between women's and men's behaviour in the social network. Many women were talking about the things they love – the songs they were listening to, their little children, their friends. Many men were playing Social Media in a completely different way: They were talking about the things they know and have achieved, using Facebook to promote themselves as experts by sharing business information and telling the world about their success.

That raised the question: Do women fail to rule Social Networks? Do they miss the chance of using them for the advancement of their careers?

What the Facts show

According to an analysis by by the German online industry association Bitkom women are ahead of men when it comes to using Social Media: In Germany 71 percent of the female and 61 percent of the male internet population are active users of Social Networks. Facebook is the biggest social network in Germany as well as worldwide - 49 percent of the female internet population are active users, 41 percent of the males. Other smaller German networks like StudiVZ show the same pattern. They are all more actively used by women then by men.

But what about the Business Networks? They are dominated by men! Only 3 percent of the female but 6 percent of the male German internet polpulation are active users of the German business network Xing. (LinkedIn is too small in Germany to be examined.) These findings coincide with the results of a study, that Angela Rittig, Manager Corporate Communications at Xing, conducted: „Women still underestimate how important networking is to success in business.“ Women have one quarter less contacts than men and they ask only half as many people to be their contact as men do.

According to the Bitkom study I quoted above, women and men use Social Networks with different intentions: Women mainly want to get updates from friends and be informed about products and brands, men want to make new (private and) business contacts and keep in touch with current or former colleagues.

What the Experts say

As the figures above clearly show women don't use Social Networks as strategically for the advancement of their careers as men do. But why? “Women think too much about the implications everything has and what certain actions might reveal about themselves”, states Verena Delius, CEO of Young Internet. “They are more shy, they are less willing to take risks, they feel less at ease with talking about themselves, standing on the 'virtual stage', broadcasting their thoughts and ideas.”

Photographer Sonja Kroll thinks that “women are more interested in using networks for personal communication and too nice and modest to ruthlessly restrict themselves to self-centred, self-congratulatory promotion of themselves.” That matches the theory of Martin Meyer-Gossner, owner of the consulting company The Strategy Web, who says quite frankly: “Men are like vain cocks. Standing in the center of attention is by evolution in men's genes. Competition is tougher which makes them position themselves more often in terms of 'Look what I can do!' Women position themselves as trendsetters in social networks. Thus, they are more careful in what they share: 'Look what someone else has done!'"

Best Practices

Social Media offer great possibilities for any professional to present oneself, show expertise and influence the image of how one is seen by others. It's a chance not to be missed – and that's why I'd like to share a few hints how to better use Social Networks strategically that work for women and men alike:

  1. Become a member in business networks like LinkedIn and Xing – and do actively use them. Connect with all the people you meet in your business life. And don't forget to add your friends, too.

  2. Don't be picky to whom you connect with. Don't let sympathy or arrogance ruin your contact list. Being contacts doesn't mean being friends – not even within Facebook. And somebody that doesn't seem worthwile to connect with now be in an interesting position in a few years.

  3. If you use networks like Facebook for your business and private live, separate between the two. Sort your contacts in lists for different groups to avoid annoying your business partners with pictures of your cute cat.

  4. Act strategically: Define how you want to be seen by others. Choose the style of your postings in accordance with that image.

  5. Show your expertise and share it. Post news and studies concerning your business topics and comment on them to add extra value. Post your blog posts if you write any. Do write some! Take part in discussions that were ignited by others. They will reward you with interesting comments on your posts.

  6. Don't give up too early. Achieving goals takes a lot of work. Don't let backlashes dishearten you.

  7. Stay authentic. Don't choose a point of view because it suits your strategy if it doesn't match with your real-life opinion. Give the people that know you from Social Media a chance to recognize you when meeting you in real life."

1 Kommentar:

  1. Hallo Tanja, mein Vorschlag: Best Practices Punkte übersetzen und zur Pflichtlektüre für jede Facebooknutzerin (und Nutzer...) machen ;-)

    Danke für die gute Zusammenfassung.