The Supercool Creative blog covers topics relevant to online video marketing, social media marketing, viral marketing, online marketing trends and anything else we think you may find interesting.
Lately, a wide range of social media writers have made much of the fact that the user base for Pinterest is overwhelmingly female, with even conservative estimates claiming 80% of users are women. Some writers have speculated that the structure of Pinterest, with an emphasis on visuals, appeals more to women, while other writers think that Pinterest appeals more to women because it focuses on social interactions by forming communities. However, what these writers are actually doing is reading too much into their own interpretations of the differences between the genders. Their arguments underestimate the flexibility of social mediums, in this case Pinterest, while trying to look for biological, rather than social, reasons for why Pinterest has become dominated by women. In the US, the Pinterest user base is predominately made up of women because women were the first, or perhaps just the fastest, to start inhabiting Pinterest and define its focus today. Women, by connecting with other women both on Pinterest and in real life, have made Pinterest a space for women.
In a country where men are traditionally the first ones to adopt new technology, it’s easy to see why writers have been sent into a tailspin trying to figure out why the gender ratio in Pinterest users is reversed from the usual statistics. These statistics have led some writers and analysts to speculate why Pinterest appeals to women in particular, and many have concluded that this is due to the structure of Pinterest itself. For example, Steve Jones, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois in Chicago, has compared Pinterest to the bulletin boards that girls hang up and decorate in their bedrooms: “It reminds me of my girlfriends in high school who’d cut stuff out of magazines and pin it up on a wall…This is the Web-based, digital equivalent of that behavior.” This statement, however anecdotally true, seems to assume that there is a biological distinction between men and women that makes women want to pin things to a board. However, I don’t think women have an innate drive to create collages. Instead, girls create pin boards because they’ve seen other girls create pinboards, and they liked the idea. Looking at the story this way, it becomes apparent that there’s more of a social influence at stake – we’re influenced by people of similar social groups.
There are a lot of new social media sites out there. But let’s face it. Not all of them were created equal. There were a lot of sites that were good, but not great, that had to be weeded out. Here, we present the Top 5 New Social Media Sites that brands and businesses should be watching, if they’re not already.
Many writers have debated whether or not Google+ will be able to topple Facebook, but the point is moot. Who really cares? What businesses should be looking at is how Google+ functions differently from Facebook and how they can lean from this. One of the most important features of Google+ is the Ripples application. Ripples shows the extent of influence of a user’s post. If a publicly-shared post is re-shared, and then re-shared by others, it shows up as a larger ripple. This application makes it easy to see who, and what, has the most clout on the social media site. Brands should perk up their ears on Google+ to see who is talking about their product, and who’s actually being listened to.
Even though Bandcamp currently only functions as a social media site to help bands and musicians connect with new listeners, it offers an interesting model that brands and businesses should keep an eye on. The site allows bands to upload liner notes and songs for free streaming, and lets them set the prices for download. The site also connects users, encouraging them to share music recommendations with each other on the site, as well as posting to other more ubiquitous social media sites, such as Facebook and MySpace. However, what really makes Bandcamp a site to watch is its user analytics. Through the site, bands can see which of their songs were played and which ones were skipped, as well as review the direct links to where their songs where shared and posted online. This gives bands the opportunity to directly respond to their fans’ postings, and extend their direct person-to-person influence over multiple other social media sites.
1. Social media is ubiquitous
Over 2 billion people worldwide use the internet, for various purposes, and almost all of them come into contact with social media through one means or another. It’s difficult to get an actual statistic on how many people use social media since a single person might participate in multiple ways, from tweeting to blogging to posting, but Facebook alone is poised to top 1 billion active users by August 2012, over 3 billion videos are viewed daily on YouTube, Twitter is at 100 million active users and Google+ is at well over 100 Million. Since social media is how people are communicating and interacting with each other online, brands and businesses have to be a part of those conversations.
2. Social media is accessible
Social media is really, really easy to access. Anyone with a name and an email address can sign up for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Foursquare or any number of social networking sites, and start connecting with friends. Even people who don’t have friends can get their social media fix by starting or reading a blog and making comments. As smartphones and wifi become almost omnipresent, your target audience no longer needs to be sitting down in front of a desktop to be able to access the internet, meaning that social media has become a constant, easily-accessible presence in public (and private) life.