As an officer for a certain women’s business group, I created and subsequently was asked to remove a Facebook group, as it was deemed an “inappropriate social media channel.”
This made me think: Are women’s business organizations missing an opportunity to connect online?
Facebook touts more than 300 million active users, with 50% logging on in any given day. Among US users, women outnumber men in every age group. The gap is most notable in age groups that correspond with prime career years: 26-34, 35-44, and 45-54. Women outnumber men by more than 2 million in each of these groups. In the US alone, that’s nearly 7 million more women than men potentially in the prime of their careers.
Encouragingly, more than three-quarters of organizations researched have some social media presence, and a slight majority maintains a presence on both Facebook and LinkedIn. There doesn’t seem to be any theme about what “types” of organizations fall into each category – nationals vs. regionals, for example. The only potential stand out is with ethnic women’s organizations. Of the four included, none fell into the “LinkedIn only” category.
Most orgs are on both Facebook & LinkedIn
For organizations with a presence on both channels, there appears to be a positive correlation on group size: the bigger the Facebook group, the bigger the LinkedIn group, and vice versa. So it would seem members aren’t flocking to one channel over the other. LinkedIn groups are usually better populated than Facebook groups at present – this could be accounted for by the fact that LinkedIn is a bit longer in the tooth.
Groups are better populated on LinkedIn, but not always
So what does all this mean for women’s professional organizations, and the use of channels like Facebook for business networking? First, you can successfully promote and recruit members through more informal networks, but you shouldn’t pick one over the other. A good social media strategy combines interesting content and awareness efforts across multiple channels. Click here to see the full list of organizations we reviewed and which seem to be following this best practice.
Jennifer Hoffmann is Manager of Customer Engagement at Dow Jones and is based in New York City.