Originally posted at SheSpeaks

In this new social media marketing world — where it’s less about demographics and more about relationships — one demographic still clearly matters:  WOMEN.

Women control 85% of household spending, and (according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch)

in 2011, women’s earning power will recover from the recession far quicker than men’s earning power will.

These numbers are good news for marketers, but they need to come with a strong CAUTION statement:  just because women are a strong purchasing demographic does not mean we can pay any less attention to the relationship work required to make and keep our brands highly relevant to women.

In fact, we need to pay even more attention to the relationships.  If we marketers dare think of women as merely a demographic clump, they will hear those undertones in our messaging and their response to our brand will be lukewarm at best.

So how can marketers engage with women online in a way that honors their individuality, AND accesses the power of the full demographic?  Through social media, we can now:

  1. Provide a trusted online community space: relationships flourish when women can comfortably interact with you and each other.
  2. Ask for their opinions: this is not just a “feel-good” exercise – we need this information for brand survival.
  3. Listen to and hear their answers: If you don’t plan to listen, don’t bother asking.
  4. Confirm what you think you heard them say: We need to get it right.
  5. Make changes that reflect their preferences: Actions speak louder than words.

When we pay close attention to the individual through these tactics, we build the trusted relationships that lead to positive word of mouth and the resulting positive strong brand awareness.

Demographics give us great high-level brand roadmap, but it’s the individuals who point out the street signs. Don’t forget to stop and ask them for directions.

Ted Rubin Ted has a deep online background beginning in 1997 with Seth Godin, as CMO of e.l.f. Cosmetics, & recently as Chief Social Marketing Officer, Open Sky.

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