Monday, August 31, 2009

More Women than Men Use Twitter

Social media analytics provider Sysomos recently released a report on Twitter entitled “An In-Depth Look Inside the Twitter World." The report revealed some interesting, and surprising, data about the microblogging site.

Twitter has seen impressive growth this past year. According to the report, 72.5% of all users joined Twitter between January and May of this year. 53% are women, and 81% are under 30 years old.

And although it seems like most Twitter users are constantly microblogging, approximately 85% of users are a silent majority, updating 0 times each day. 6.48% tweet daily and 2.8% update twice a day. The percentage of users tweeting 3, 4, 5, etc. times a day continues to decrease until 9 daily updates, with only 0.18% updating. However, over 1% of the Twitter population tweets 10 or more timex per day. That essentially equates to 75% of all Twitter activity coming from just 5% of users.

Similarly, 92.4% of users follow less than 100 people, and 93.68% are followed by 1-100 individuals. One's "audience" impacts a person's activity. According to the Sysomos report, the average number of daily updates rises from three to six among users with more than 1,000 followers. However, that increase impacts a tiny percentage of Twitter users, with 0.68% reaching the thousand-follower mark.

Unsurprisingly, marketers on Twitter are more active. They are more likely to update than the average Twitter user, with 35% posting at least daily. Also, 15% of marketers follow more than 2,000 people.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kathy Ireland Sees Correlation Between Twitter and Sales

Personal branding guru Dan Schawbel recently wrote a Business Week article about leveraging social media for marketing purposes. Although the article focused on personal branding, Schwabel highlighted points that could be used for professional brands as well.

Some of his key points (revised for corporations) to leveraging social media are:
  • Create a goal-based strategy

  • Connect with passionate consumers who are interested

  • Consistently provide added value

Schawbel stresses that each interaction, such as a Facebook status update or a Tweet, is a marketing message. He uses the example of Kathy Ireland, the former model who currently has her own enterprise of clothing, jewelry, and home goods, and recently authored a book, "Real Solutions for Busy Moms." Ireland has profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, in addition to connecting with fans on Twitter.

Ireland has seen a correlation between her Twitter usage and sales. "Twitter has informed us of issues, unauthorized sales, media opportunities, and new exposure to people," she says. She also lauds the importance of participation in social media, and claims that absence makes a statement as well: "Even if you elect not to be involved in these media platforms, your absence is a statement and therefore a form of participation."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Women Use Social Media to Network Professionally

The results of a research study (sponsored by the social network ShesConnected) were posted in a recent eMarketer bulletin. Participants were recruited through various social networks, who were encouraged to pass it along to their friends. The survey results provided much-needed data about the habits and preferences of female social networkers.

59% of respondents log onto social networks multiple times a day, and an additional 14% log on daily. Facebook was the most frequently used social network, with 83% of respondents reporting they use it. Surprisingly, LinkedIn (73%) was nearly twice as popular as MySpace (41%) and 55% use Twitter. Another notable result was that professional networking was the most compelling reason these women visited social networks, overtaking staying in touch with friends. (71% vs 62%, found it "very important", respectively.) Researching products and services (45% "very important" and 34% "somewhat important") and finding deals and discounts (25% "very important" and 39% "somewhat important") were also high on the list.

The report also gathered data on privacy issues and revenue generation preferences. 93% of respondents rated privacy settings as “very important,” and another 6% said they were “somewhat important.” When asked about using sites that sell data to advertisers, 41% were "not comfortable" and 36% claimed they would not use the site. Interestingly, however, charging a subscription fee proved to be a greater barrier to entry- a full 49% of respondents claimed they would not use the site.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Organizes Tween Girl Summit, the social network of tween girl research firm AK Tweens, is holding the National Tween Girl Summit on October 10, 2009 in Washington, D.C. It is free for girls 9-14; teen girls 15 and up can register to volunteer.

It would be easy to dismiss the Summit as a ploy to get valuable market research information from teen girls and shower them with goodies from sponsors. Indeed, the Summit is being sponsored by a variety of mega-brands, including Electric Arts, PBteen, Disney Book Group, Sephora USA, Inc., Popstar! Magazine, Fundex Games, Ltd., Daisy Rock Girl Guitars,
D’Addario Strings, and Chit Chat Beauty. Even the press release acknowledges that their motive is "giving tween girls a platform to share their thoughts and opinions on a range of subjects, and marketers, policy makers and parents a more thorough understanding of this enigmatic and highly influential demographic."

However, that's part of what makes the Summit so great. AK Tweens is forthcoming with their intentions, so participants (and their parents) are fully cognizant. They are also holding (sandwiched between Exhibit Hall trips and celebrity appearances) sessions that are relevant and informative to the tween demoraphic. Topics include "Get Empowered: Online and Off" and "Make Body Peace"- featuring Seventeen's Body Peace program advisor. Even Mrs. Obama has been invited.

Another point of interest is the use of social media. In one of the sessions, the girls will be filming a social activism video. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to upload photos and videos throughout the day. What will the teen volunteers be doing? According to the website, they will be registering girls, blogging, reporting, uploading photos and videos to and Facebook, as well as assisting speakers, performers and press. And girls who cannot attend will be able to see updated information throughout the day on

The Summit's strategy is very cleverly thought out. Although not every company can afford celebrity guests and big name sponsors, everyone can find ways to make social media tools more accessible to their customers.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Plus-Sized Retailer Lane Bryant Launches Community

Lane Bryant, one of biggest names in plus-sized fashion, recently launched an online community, the Inside Curve. The community offers simple but effective features such as profiles, photos, and groups. Members will also receive fashion tips and information on trends, as well as coupons, promotions, and exclusive savings.

Says Jay Dunn, Vice President of Marketing, "We're hoping to provide a forum for women who are interested in fashion, who happen to be size 14 and above. We want to give them a place to get closer to the brand -- inside the brand, so to speak."

Dunn's goal is to increase sales, as well as bring in new, younger customers. "There are a lot of consumers who may have dated perceptions about what the Lane Bryant brand stands for, and this is an opportunity to bring in not just a younger customer, but an Internet-savvy customer," he says. Dunn also believes that Inside Curve is part of "an evolving but important part of our marketing and customer-relationship management mix."

Check out the Inside Curve's intro video below:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Women than Men Use Social Networks

A recent report from TNS and The Conference Board revealed that women are more social on and offline than their male counterparts. According to the survey, almost half (48%) of the female respondents visited social networking sites, compared with 37.6% of men. This is the second year in a row that approximately 10% more women than men reported visiting social networks. 43% of all respondents (US Internet users) visited social networking sites, up 16% from the year before.

Not only did the amount of users increase, but also the amount of time spent on social networks. The majority of respondents visited social networking sites at least once per day. Users were most likely to visit social networks in a family area at home, followed by in a private area at home, at work and by using mobile devices. The most popular social networking sites, as expected, were Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, respectively.

Monday, August 3, 2009

At Zankyou, Wedding Lists Go Straight to Your Bank Account

European wedding site Zankyou provides a variety of services for soon-to-be married couples and their guests. Zankyou enables couples to create private, personal wedding websites that not only keep guests informed about the ceremony but also solicit their input in a fun, non-obligitory way. The wedding pages go beyond providing ceremony information and directions-leaving room for nearby activities, recommended hotels, etc. They even programmed the site in five languages (English, Spanish, Italian, French and German) to make things easier for international guests.

Zankyou not only makes wedding websites more fun for guests, but also provides additional benefits to the bride and groom. Couples can use Zankyou to poll guests. They can also encourage guests to share photos, videos, and add songs to the wedding playlist. The site also offers wedding planning content in their "Zk Magazine" section, with suggestions for dress, themes, favors, and celebrity wedding gossip.

The best feature on Zankyou is the wedding list feature. On the site, couples can create wedding registry items not only for kitchenware and furniture, but also parts of their honeymoon, gifts to charity, etc. Zankyou does not purchase these items but puts the funds directly into the couples' bank account, allowing them to decide what they will ultimately use the money for. It allows users to get creative with their registry and provides couples with the freedom to decide what kind of presents they want. Zankyou is a great alternative for couples who may not necessarily want or need items from a department store, but feel awkward asking for checks or putting bank account information on their invitation.