It’s no secret that women rule the world of social media—especially the famous ones—so why do marketers pretend that their social content need only appeal to men to succeed?
While women are generally more active than men on social media, the split is even more defined on Instagram (the second-most-popular social channel in the U.S., after Facebook) where women will make up 58.3 percent of the total user base by the end of this year. It’s not just that women represent more users on the increasingly popular channel–it’s that they are engaging with content much more frequently than men; nearly 60 percent of Instagram’s weekly users are women.
With all of that data available to us, you’d expect to see a lot more ads directed at women, right? But campaigns like Under Armour’s I Will What I Want and Always’ #LikeAGirl still feel like one-offs. We celebrate them, the brands see positive consumer engagement, awareness goes up and sales increase, and then we’re back to asking women if they are beach body ready the very next day.
The Sprite #BrutallyRefreshing campaign earlier this year resulted in a massive backlash from women all over the world, despite the fact that the campaign only ran in Ireland, and parent company Coca-Cola was forced to issue a public apology.
Knowing that every advertisement, whether it originates in social or not, will likely end up there, and that women are dominating the social space, why do advertisers insist on relying on overused and offensive tropes?
Is it because, as Cindy Gallop suggests, “At the top of our industry, as at the top of every industry, there is a closed loop of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys?” Does the lack of diversity in the advertising industry make us incapable of speaking to women and minorities in a way that won’t cause a tweetstorm of #NotBuyingIt hashtags? I think so.
If your agency doesn’t represent the diverse culture of the digital universe, how are you ever expected to speak to those consumers in an effective way? Does any woman want a man selling her tampons? No woman in the history of the world has ever thought that doing yoga in tight white pants while on her period was a good idea.
Social media is no longer an option–it’s a necessary and important part of your marketing mix. Whether you advertise through social channels or not, someone is going to talk about your brand on a social channel. If you’re creating content for any medium, you should expect that it will show up on social media.
When your content does eventually show up online, will it be to the delight of millions of potential consumers, or will you be left wringing your hands, apologizing (again) and wondering why no one got the joke?
It’s time to make a change. Speak to women in a tone that makes them feel like they are in on the joke, rather than the butt of it, and you (and your clients) will see the results in your bottom line.
Shannon Hunter is a social strategist in the Toronto office of social media and digital marketing agency Zócalo Group.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.