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The Women of Social Media have spoken and they want more than cats and cupcakes. A couple of weeks ago we looked at statistics that suggested women aren’t happy with the way marketers are targeting them. A one-size-fits-all approach is sweeping across social media platforms and the reaction isn’t good. Targeting a female audience is only half the battle, so how can marketers make sure they get it right?


I’m not a particularly big anomaly amongst insights. I’m a female in the 18-24 category. I like to cook and bake and am a High-Street-shopping, tea-drinking, craft lover. A swift look through my Facebook likes and I can quite quickly categorise them as: local organisations and events, friend’s businesses, travel, linguistics and cats. The two don’t seem to match up. The few female-orientated brands I do keep up-to-date with on social media offer something a little bit different, beyond the initial ‘Like us and get a discount’. They’re the ones with the marketing team that, in my eyes, get it right.

Rather than try and describe how to make a woman of social media happy (we haven’t got all day), here’s an example of a brand that tick my boxes….

Benefit Cosmetics are my treat. They’re the ones I try to justify the stress of an extra last minute deadline to pay for a lipgloss. Bonus? They’re marketing is good and, most importantly, tailored to the different networks. Their Facebook page is updated daily but only once or twice. Enough to crop up on your newsfeed without bombarding you. The first thing I notice on their page is that it isn’t filled with hard sell posts. Of course there are images of their products but they’re dotted sparingly and typically being shown in action at an event or in the office. The page is visual and they share some nice slick graphics for national events and just for fun.

The Benefit Twitter profile is nicely synced with Instagram and has lots of competitions. They run a #jokeTuesday and one of my favourite campaigns saw that anyone that included #BeautyBoost in a tweet would receive a Benefit compliment in return. I look awesome apparently. They’re quick to respond to tweeters and share a lot of customer posts, indirectly encouraging people to mention them in exchange for a retweet. Everyone loves a retweet.

Things they get right? No hard sell, fun posts, competitions, interactive.

Things they get wrong? Hashtags on Facebook. Cringe.

I brought up the topic with female friends and many argued that a lot of marketing on social media becomes white noise. They’ve liked the Facebook pages and followed the Twitter accounts but they never really pay attention to the posts on their newsfeed. They’re not captivated by the brand but it doesn’t offend them either. Do marketers want the highlight of their monthly social media report to read ‘didn’t really annoy anyone this month’? 

If a brand receives a like on Facebook or a follower on Twitter then they can safely assume that the person in question is interested in receiving information about their products and services. Nothing new there. It’s the ones, like Benefit, that have spotted what gets people sharing that are getting the best female response online. Dorothy Perkins has nearly 1 million likes on Facebook and their image posted about a new range of dresses online received only 37 shares. In comparison, Benefit’s typographical graphic ‘Find someone who’ll ruin your lipstick, not your mascara’ (posted on the same day to an audience half the size) racked up almost 2,000 shares.

It’s about spotting something unique, being observational and keeping up with trends. Finding something that a female audience can relate to or will want to share with their friends of the same mindset. The ‘saw this and thought of you’ appeal. Social media networks are a place to start conversation and hard sell feels very one-way. Marketers should be placing less focus on how they showcase their products on social media and more on how they are going to use the profiles to get people, particularly women, talking and sharing. Social media is an opportunity for brands to tell their story. The listeners are ready but the storytellers are stuck in the advert break.

Written by EC Associate, Becky Hunt.