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Chicks Rule: Women Transforming Internet leads discussion at the Econsultancy Peer Summit

Shopping. Sharing. Communicating. Socializing. Relationship-building. Conversing. Connecting. Contributing. Multi-tasking.

Throughout (recent) history, women have dominated in every one of the very things that drive the social Web. So is it any wonder, and was there ever a doubt, that we would rule when it comes to Internet activity?

Not for the group of marketing and e-commerce decision-makers — from companies small to very large, public to private and non-profit, North American-based to global — who gathered together for an invitation-only thought-leadership experience in New York City at Econsultancy’s Peer Summit 2011 this past Thursday. As a sponsor and participant, and as a female executive, I came away from the event inspired as I learned from colleagues who shared real successes of  just how powerful “girl power” has become in today’s corporate and consumer-driven environments.

Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Bebo, Buzznet, Tagged: The gender balance on social networking sites is majority female, with women spending one-third more time on sites than men, according to comScore’s “Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet.” And that holds true for mobile, too. What I found of even greater interest is not only dominance in use, but also differences in use. For example, while men are more likely than women to post their own tweets, a larger percentage of female Twitter users use the site to facilitate conversation, find deals and take advantage of promotions. And THAT translates into more than just “hearing yourself Tweet”; rather, it’s productivity-based and a direct line to the female purchasing power. For companies wanting to grow the loyalty of their customer base, add brand ambassadors, and generate more revenue, listen to Beyoncé: girls run the world.

The event’s keynote speaker Joshua Karpf, senior manager of digital media communications at PepsiCo, made it crystal clear: “Shopper mom is still CEO of the household.”  Today’s smart companies have figured out that building brand and the bottom line just can’t happen, or at least won’t happen, as quickly as it could without courting women and their purse strings.

And it extends far beyond buying/decision-making for the humble abode. Engaging with women not just on brand but on product portfolios increases revenue-generating opportunities. PepsiCo even built WIN, the PepsiCo Women’s Inspiration Network, an interactive space that offers a global female perspective and idea-sharing from leaders, innovators and real women around the world, further underscoring their understanding of the importance of the female voice.

And, for PepsiCo and others like Facebook, they’ve come to the logical conclusion that getting more women who hold key positions on board will result in more intuitiveness on building products and services that are relevant and that will resonate with female users. And women in the C-suite make messaging more effective and efficient to their female target audiences. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and Birds of a Feather Flock Together. It’s even telling that PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi gives credit to another woman — her mother — as her first mentor and encourages females to shine and find their power, just as Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg challenges women to be more ambitious and take more leadership roles.

To that end, in my own small way, I’d like to pay homage to Econsultancy’s great summit and encourage women in public relations and marketing communication roles to “grow a pair” – as a mentor of mine, Jeanne Hopkins, director of marketing at HubSpot, once said. Take back what belongs to you. PR as an industry and a profession is dominated by women, and in conclusion from the above, so, too, is social media. Yet, today’s need for ROI, measurement and metrics seems to have us allowing bean counters and techies take over what we easily could and should own.

So if you find yourselves in need of a little encouragement in taking what you know as communicators and leveraging what’s out there to further advance, amplify, and give value to your efforts, sign up for the HubSpot/Marketwire free six-part webinar series: “How to Supercharge Your PR Program with Social Media.” Take advantage of every opportunity open to you, realize how much more power the Internet affords you, and remember: Chicks, indeed, rule.

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