Social Media: Women Vs. Men

The Difference Between How Women and Men Use Social Media

Guest Post by Bridget O’Reilly

“How do you use social media?” Unless you use social sites to leverage your business or personal brand, I’ve noticed that this simple question can be difficult for most people to answer right away.

You might think that if you’re among the 74 percent of the adult population that participates in social media, you’d be able to easily recall how you spend an average 3.2 hours a day doing so, right? Perhaps you don’t want to admit that you spend some afternoons catching up on the life of that person you kind of knew from that one time five years ago. Regardless, it seems that despite algorithm changes and privacy concerns, we return to social sites to join in or observe the endless virtual conversations every day.

I recently reached out to some female and male friends to ask how they choose to spend their time on the Internet’s most popular activity. Most of their answers were more or less the same, but undeniably the biggest differences came down to gender. So the question then shifted to this: How do men and women use social media differently?

The first thing I noticed was that the women I spoke with were more inclined to share their social habits than the men. While I have always noticed that women participate a little more across social networks, I thought that men play their fair part too. As it turns out, men spend 40 percent less time on social media daily than women do, so maybe the male crowd just doesn’t have as much to say about their usage.

Additionally, women use social channels in more ways than men. Overall, women frequent social sites more, interact more with brands, consume a greater amount of news from social media, lead the trend in social mobile use, and power visual social media.

Here are some more-specific findings:

  • 65 percent of women connect online for family and friends vs. 53 percent of men.
  • 28 percent of women utilize social media as a creative outlet vs. 23 percent of men.
  • 37 percent of women seek social media for “how-to, information, and self-help” needs vs. 30 percent of men.

Popular blogger Bleubird uses her keen design skills to create a how-to date night.

Men lead in two areas:

  • 27 percent of men use social sites for business vs. 22 percent of women.
  • 13 percent of men use social media for online dating vs. 7 percent of women.

These findings aligned well with what my male and female friends had to say:

Men “I follow cycling and running for brands that I own and also for events I participate in. I follow bands I like and post family events to Facebook.”

“I like to see what my friends are doing. I use Instagram because I can follow my favorite sports brands to keep up to date with new products and promotions.”

Women “I use social media to get feedback on things I’m working on, staying in touch with friends and to keep updated on peoples’ lives that I am curious about but would never reach out and ask them. I also post funny or intimate stuff to friends, use it as a creative release and to be inspired by creative people/brands.”

“I use social media to keep in touch with family and friends that I don’t get to see often, follow news stories and post my photography portfolio.”

“I like it as a news source. I also like to get inspiration for my students from teacher blogs. I also follow a lot of gluten-free blogs. I love to find DIY projects.”

What does this mean? As ads become more native in social feeds, brands should be aware that women are the majority of users on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Creating ads that inspire is key.

Club W advertises wine in a visually appealing way to draw followers to its subscription service.

So, what social media channels should women pay attention to? Unquestionably, the biggest takeaways from this research are that women fuel and utilize visual social media significantly more than men. Currently, the best places where women create and find inspiration online are the following:

Pinterest covers everything that women want visually from social media — there are infinite how-to’s, recipes, fashion tips and design ideas. More importantly, the site serves as a way to quickly bookmark products from favorite brands. For gift, style, home ideas and more, I follow user Moorea Seal.

Instagram is no longer just a place to connect with family and friends. Users have access to their favorite personalities and brands in their own particular niche interests. I recommend following Olivia Lopez of Lusttforlife.com for unique styling tips and beautiful architectural aesthetics.

Twitter is the best platform for real-time content updates from favorite news media, brands, influencers and more. If you want daily inspiration, to be the best you can be, I recommend following entrepreneur Marie Forleo.

WeHeartIt is a site similar to Pinterest but without captions or comments; the visuals speak for themselves. This site is excellent if you are in the mood to browse a large collection of beautiful photographs. Follow Britton’s colorful collections!

Tumblr is a jack-of-all-trades blog platform. The site is unique for microblogging. Users can write short posts and upload nearly all types of media, including everyone’s favorite: GIFs! Tumblr’s intuitive search feature also connects you to your interests and other bloggers. I recommend Indiana native Jessica Quirk’s What I Wore Tumblr for styling how-to’s.

Food52 is a community where users can view and exchange recipes from professional chefs and everyday people. The foodie site allows people to create collections of recipes and products, and, like Pinterest, group all of those items under a customized header (think profile picture, bio, links). You also can view other members’ Food52 activity and collections. I’m saving this sweet potato recipe to one of my collections!

Medium is the place to read “stories that people you care about publish and recommend.” The site is an open blogging platform that encourages writers to share inspirational thoughts and stories. Medium emotionally appeals to people more than other blogging platforms because of the genuine and altruistic content you’re likely to find there. You can also connect your social profiles and see what your friends and favorite brands post. I recommend “Anything Is Possible“ by Kevan Lee.

Learni.st is a community of user-curated articles, images, videos and webinars in niche topics. The site is similar to Pinterest but places stronger emphasis on learning. Learni.st allows people to seek information about subjects from thought leaders and experts in a wide array of areas. This user put together a helpful board called Quick Morning Workouts to Start Your Day.

Did I miss anything? Let me know if there are more sites that women should start paying attention to in 2015. Also, if you liked this, find out how Britton figured out the perfect content marketing formula with social media.

As a bonus, here’s a social-media-usage-by-gender infographic with stats mentioned in this article.

Bridget O’Reilly Freelance Writer BMDG

Photos: Shutterstock, Marketingcharts.com, Bleubirdblog.com, and ClubW on Instagram

Originally published at www.brittonmdg.com.

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