Men and women use social media differently, and your social media strategy needs to reflect those differences. Depending on what kind of product or service you're selling, you should approach social media differently. To do this well, you need to know the differences between how men and women use social media.

Joseph Sherman is a social media expert who specializes in helping companies put their best foot forward online. I invited Joseph to provide his insights into the way men and women approach social media differently, and how these differences can (and should) affect the way you reach out to them.

1. Women see their (online) homes as an extension of themselves, while men don't care

In the physical world, women care that a wall needs to be painted, or that a picture frame is crooked, because intrinsically she associates her home as part of her own image. Online, women see their homepages, boards, and profiles as home. As a result, she will not want to post or share a photo online that is not to her liking. But when she does see a photo she loves, she will share it across multiple social media sites and even make it her profile photo. A man might never even notice the difference.

Business Insight: If you are hosting an event and posting photos online, invest in a professional photographer and digital editor to produce photos women will want to share with the world.

2. Women think through talking, and men think then comment

Women use online groups and forums as a way to think out their thoughts on everything from customer experience to brand strategy. Men formulate their own ideas and then write them down.

Business Insight: Men and women use your groups and forums for different purposes. Because women are talking out their ideas, you are more likely to have a real dialogue and an opportunity to bring them to your side of the issue. But with men you are more likely to get directly to what they are thinking, so it is easier to gather information, but harder to sell them through forums.

3. Men and women see social media like shopping--men are task driven, while women window shop

Women love window shopping. They look around, try on clothes--just for the fun of it--and then spend hours trying to find the perfect dress. Men go into a store with a list of items to purchase and try to get out as fast as possible. Women also love to window shop in social media. They want to see gorgeous photo after gorgeous photo on Pinterest and Instagram. Men look around too, but not nearly as much.

Business Insight: Women see ads as an opportunity to explore. If your brand is targeting women customers, it makes sense to have a lot of images that they can flip through. Give them 30 images of a marketing campaign, and let them pin, share, and tag their favorite ones. For men, give them one or two great photos.

4. Women are multitasking experts, while men focus on one thing at a time

A woman can speak with a client on the phone, read the latest business news, and browse updates on LinkedIn--all at once. Men, not so much. Men are more likely to do focused research on a particular subject and then email a colleague with a link to a Wikipedia page.

Business insight: This is why women have a higher click-through rate than men. Smart companies will design ads for women, and other approaches for men. So, how do you create ads for women who are natural multitaskers? Hire a woman. Given all the analytic tools, you cant forget to put the person at the center of your ad. Hire marketers who feel what you want to express in your brand, and women will respond.

Men, on the other hand, focus on one article at a time, and then choose a connecting thought. Place an ad or link at the end of an article. For Wikipedia, this can be as subtle as a "See also" at the end of a main article. For a blog, this can be text that hyperlinks to a related article. The reader will feel in control--he is choosing to make the next move (click), and your post just happens to be one of the options he will choose.

Published on: May 22, 2015