According to a study by AOL and Bovitz Research Group, content sharing is commonplace for women online, and most of them leverage the Web in some fashion for word-of-mouth (WOM). Yet only a small number of women account for the vast majority of social media recommendations and referrals.
Among the online female population, AOL identified seven different segments based on their values, habits, and characteristics. The study found that the smallest groups were the most active in social media, and that they contribute the most to online word-of-mouth. The research focused on three of these groups - Social Expressionistas, Alpha Trendsetters, and Shopsessives:
- Social Expressionistas (8%): These women use social networks to express their views and creativity. They believe that the Web brings people together and they're passionate about using it to create community. They love spreading the word online, and they love social networking sites - nearly 90% of Social Expressionistas said social networks were their favorite type of site, 13 percentage points above the next group, Alpha Trendsetters.
- Alpha Trendsetters (13%): These women take both their social lives and their careers very seriously. They're brand conscious and are looked up to implicitly, more so than other segments.
- Shopsessives (7%): These women are shopping online across product categories. They identify themselves as experts in all types of areas ranging from fashion to health to technology, and they enjoy playing an influential role with their family and friends. They like spreading the word about brands more, but the research suggested they were somewhat less likely to do so on the Web.
According to the report, the best way for marketers to encourage buzz among Social Expressionistas is to foster dialogue and provide them with brand assets that they can use to create their own content for sharing with their networks. Alpha Trendsetters participate online at fewer discussion-oriented sites, but still like to be the first ones to learn about new products and spread the word - early access to new information is prized among this group.
- Digital word-of-mouth has real-life impact.
- Authenticity is a key attribute for all women, and they only share trusted information - 40% of women share information they gather from someone they trust.
- Email is the number one method that women use to share information with their network (62%); social networks accounted for 34% of content sharing communication among women.