A new survey from the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute shows that women business owners place higher value and are significantly more likely to embrace social media marketing tools than are their male counterparts. The newly-released research report, “Prioritizing the Value of Technology to America’s Small Business Owners: Assessing the Importance of Software, Company Websites and Social Media,” finds that:
“Gender differences regarding the importance of technology are striking. According to The Guardian Life Index, women small business owners are far more likely to embrace technology in all its forms and applications than their male counterparts. Significantly, women entrepreneurs value social media at three times the level of male small business owners. The Institute’s research has previously shown that women entrepreneurs are more customer-focused and more likely to incorporate community into their business plans than male small business owners. These traits may explain why women small business owners are more inclined to embrace new tools like social media to engage with customers and build communities of interest.”
Here are some of the most striking gender differences uncovered in the survey. Respondents were given a list of items and asked to rate them on a scale from -10 to +10. When asked “What matters most to you in business when it comes to technology, such as software your company uses and its websites, as well as what is commonly called “social media”?
|Using ‘social media’ as a tool for communicating about our company||0.8||0.5||1.6||Using ‘social media’ as a way to find out about prospective clients or prospects||0.8||0.5||1.6||Using ‘social media’ as a business building tool||0.7||0.4||1.4||Using ‘social media’ as a means of personal growth and development||0.7||0.5||1.3||Using ‘social media’ as a way to find out more about the marketplace||0.6||0.4||1.2||Using ‘social media’ as a way to learn more about our competitors||0.5||0.3||1.0|
And, speaking of social media, the study release was accompanied by a YouTube video (click on link below) profiling how one woman business owner is using technology tools in her business, as well as a podcast interview with Institute director Mark Wolf.
The research was conducted online in June 2010 among 1,200 small business owners with between 2 and 99 employees, and focusing on 12 industry sectors, 9 regions and 4 key states. The sample was pulled from a Harris Interactive panel pool of respondents, so the sample is likely not representative of all small business owners – it is likely to be more tech-savvy than average. Nonetheless, the differences seen within this sample are quite noteworthy.