Social networking has become a must for women this year, according to a new edition of the SheSpeaks “Annual Social Media Study.” Social networking profile penetration climbed from 58% of Internet users in 2008 to 86% in 2009.
Asked about brand-related activities on social sites, 80% of female Internet users said they had become a fan of a product or brand on a social network. In addition, 72% had learned about a new product or brand, or joined a group around one. Web users were less likely to participate on Twitter in all the product- and brand-related activities. SheSpeaks chalks this up to women being more active on social networking sites overall than they are on Twitter.
One-half of female Internet users had brought a product because of a social network. Purchases based on social networking sites and blogs both increased dramatically over 2008.
Users seemed more receptive to social network advertising than they were in 2008, with 9% saying that they always look at ads and often click through, compared with just 2% last year. Thirty percent look sometimes, versus 13% in 2008, and fewer users felt annoyed by ads or actively ignored them.
“Last year our members were going online primarily to research purchases, but now they are looking to social media to help them research, guide and facilitate every kind of transaction, from social exchanges to purchases,” said Aliza Freud, founder and CEO of SheSpeaks, in a statement. “Women have become more comfortable using social media, and for marketers, the overall growth and habitual use of social media represents opportunities to reach and engage women of all ages, and influence their purchase decisions.”
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