While we all know that businesses must begin to embrace social media, it appears female business owners are leaving their male counterparts behind.
According to research released today by American Express, female business owners are emerging as the frontrunners when it comes to using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and the web in general.
The survey of over 1000 small business owners in Australia found 43% of females use at least one form of social media in their business compared to 37% of their male counterparts.
And females look like they’re staying in the lead with 48% of women surveyed expecting to increase their focus on social media in the next 12 months (compared to 37% of males).
Similarly, 48% of female-run small businesses with a company website have their products or services available for purchase on the site, while this figure is at 40% for men.
Among those who don’t currently communicate via a company website, 26% of females plan to remedy this within the next year compared to only 18% of males.
The survey also revealed that 35% of female small business owners use Facebook to communicate with customers compared to 24% of men, while 15% of women and 10% of men use Twitter.
Case in point: Marketing Angels
The data is echoed by the social media practices Michelle Gamble uses in her business Marketing Angels. Owner, Michelle, says: “We've been active in social media for the last three years, predominantly using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
“We use Facebook to have a constant conversation with clients and fans of our brand,” she says. “We also share a daily small business marketing tip, which receives great feedback.
We use Twitter to connect with online influencers, and LinkedIn more so to target specific prospects”, she adds.
Popular social media channels
Gender aside, the most popular communication channels are company websites (46 %) and Facebook (30 %).
61 % also use one or more of the following:
How social media can give your business the edge
“From our perspective, using social media helps build our brand by allowing us to engage with a large number of business owners and provide them with a positive experience of our brand and marketing knowledge in a non-threatening way,” Michelle explains.
“This means they become advocates for us, which helps generate positive word-of- mouth referrals and sales."
From a profitability perspective:
34% of respondents said that of all social media channels used, the company website contributes the most to generating sales.
44% of businesses with a company website have their products or services available for purchase on the site.
Interest in social media is growing
Regardless of gender politics, there is no denying interest in social media is growing among small businesses:
22% of those that don’t currently have a company website, plan to have a site within the next year; and
43% of those surveyed expect to increase their focus on social media in the next 12 months.