In Social Media, Women May Be the Dominant Sex – Brain Map (Pt.2)
Historically, the differences between men and women in business have been the subject of debate, not to mention anecdotes and good-natured story-telling. The sense of it has been that men are in command and control. Well, guess what men? In Social Media, women may have a decided advantage.
In Part 1 of this series, Brain Map To Success In Social Media (Pt.1), I explained in some detail the Brain Map, and its implications for success in Social Media.
As it turns out, the science of Brain Mapping may lead to the conclusion that women are simply better suited to successful Social Media by virtue of their right-brain dominance in key areas.
Two years ago, Amber Hensley wrote a provocative article on the Masters of Healthcare website, which touched on some of these areas. The updating of her thoughts as they apply to Social Media, which I have attempted to do below, is at least illuminating, if not conclusive:
- Emotional Connection. By virtue of their right-brain dominance, women tend to communicate more effectively in Social Media settings than men. That is to say, they are better at finding solutions by talking through issues, and connecting emotionally through non-verbal cues such as tone and empathy. By comparison, men tend to be more task-oriented, less talkative and less likely to engage at an emotional level. In the old days of marketing, before Social Media became such an important component, the male approach of logic and analysis was an asset. In today’s world, emotional connection and empathy are paramount.
- Creative Problem Solving Through Emotional Communication. Social Media is all about conversation and engagement. It’s about connecting at an emotional level. Men may be better suited when it comes to product differentiation and task-orientation — which is a left-brain activity — but women often display the ability to use both sides of their brains, and to creatively solve problems by being aware of feelings while communicating.
- Quantitative Skills vs. Conceptual Skills. Men are accustomed to dealing with quantitative issues, like profitability and metrics, which are important post-sale requirements. But first the sale must be made. And in Social Media, the primary pre-sale need is to solve the customers’ problems — which is a conceptual issue. In a Social Media setting, the sales process is conceptual not quantitative. It is customer-centric, not sales-centric. Here again, women seem to have the advantage. Stated simply: Men ask “How much?” Women ask “What’s wrong?”
- Hormonal Differences and Stress Reactions. There is a biophysical difference between men and women when it comes to how they handle stress. Men tend toward the stress reaction that has been called “fight or flight,” which has served them well in business situations for years. However, “fight or flight” is simply too combative for Social Media. In Social Media a different approach is better suited and more effective. Originally called the “tend and befriend” reaction by the Psychologist Shelley E. Taylor, this reaction creates strong group bonds and is more conducive to achieving the intended result.
- Language Skills. Brain science has shown that the two areas of the brain responsible for language are bigger in women than in men. Women tend to be better at language-based subjects and language-associated thinking. Social Media requires these skills, as compared to the one-on-one sales skills required in a typical sales environment. This may be another advantage for women.
- Emotions. As I explained in the E13 Social Media Strategy – The Vanguard Approach, emotion is a critical element in Social Media success. As explained in Amber Hensley’s article, “Women typically have a larger deep limbic system than men, which allows them to be more in touch with their feelings and better able to express them, which promotes bonding with others.” This is a key element of success in Social Media, and bodes well for women.
All of these factors appear to give the advantage to women in Social Media settings. While there are many men who are tremendously successful in Social Media, it is possible that men’s current dominance is more a matter of their larger numbers than it is their greater relative abilities. I suppose only time will tell. But as women in larger numbers are attracted to Social Media, and as entrepreneurial companies led by women become more prevalent, we may see an interesting shift toward women as the most successful group.
In the next installment of this series, Success Stories in Social Media, we will explore some amazing and hugely profitable accomplishments by men and women alike.
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