Guest post by Ryan Currie
Being a woman in business is hard enough without having to navigate the murky waters of social media. But in today’s increasingly-digital age it’s not sufficient just to own a business and smile your way through trade shows, you have to be involved and invested in social media! For women, this can be trickier than it seems for a variety of reasons.
Develop a Distinct Online Presence
Too many women are tempted to roll their entrepreneurial venture (think: real estate or custom-made furniture) into their existing social media accounts. If your business has any hope of growing and standing on its own two feet you’ve got to start by setting up totally separate profiles on all the social sites you hope to use. Your message will stay more focused and your business will be taken more seriously.
Use the Network You’ve Already Built
Statistics say that over 78% of all women use social networking sites (compared to only 69% for men) which means women are at a unique advantage for milking their online network. Women are also responsible for about 62% of all online “sharing” that takes place so if you’re an entrepreneur, reach out to this demographic and let them spread the word for you. It’s smart to cross-promote your brand, occasionally posting about business on your personal pages while regularly updating your business profiles too.
Don’t Get too Personal
For women more-so than men it’s sometimes hard to separate business life from home life. This is particularly true for entrepreneurs who work out of their homes or consider their business secondary to raising their family. Often this translates to overly-personal, sometimes emotional posts on social media about subjects that just aren’t professional. The key is finding a happy balance between being relatable and upfront about your identity as a female entrepreneur and avoiding baby-picture overload.
Get on Pinterest Immediately
If there is one social site particularly suited for female businesswomen it’s Pinterest. Skewing over 70% female, Pinterest is an excellent source of referral traffic and is actually pretty supportive of female-owned businesses. If your business involves something that can be photographed, something that can be broken down into a tutorial, or something that’s food-related you’re golden when it comes to Pinetrest-worthy subject matter.
Ask for Support
Men do it all the time but women, for whatever reason, have a hard time “selling” their social connections. It’s important to be upfront about what you want to gain from social: do you want to talk directly to customers? Get more business? Change people’s perception about your industry? There’s enough clutter online that it’s crucial you’re specific about how you want people to interact with you and that you follow up and introduce yourself, even when it feels uncomfortable. Social is a terrific avenue for women to “sell” themselves if they’d only get past the stigma.
Social media was practically created to serve women’s interests and needs and it’s truly changing the way small businesses work. If you’re a female entrepreneur and you’re not sure how to go about planning a social media strategy, keep these tips in mind. You’ll be surprised how quickly your business can gain traction online!
About the author: Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.