Are female NFL fans more socially active online?

I’ve been working on a project recently for a large sports sponsor who has for years been leveraging a league-side sponsorship to reach men. Now they wonder if they can leverage social media to reach and engage female fans as well. If they can do this, they will generate more value from the same sponsorship deal. So let’s see what we can discover about female fans online…

We know that 33% of AVID NFL fans are women, but how do we know whether or not female fans will engage with our sponsor through social media?

I’ve been reading the book, Groundswell, Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, by Charlene Li and Josh Benoff. These authors come out of Forrester Research. (If you’re looking for a framework to use in explaining (or selling) social media concepts, I recommend this book).

I’m using some of the concepts from this book to address the question at hand. This blog post will offer a summary of my initial findings, but before I get to that, there are two key terms introduced in the book which you need to be understand in order to track with me.

1. Groundswell – a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations

I really like this definition. In fact, I applaud the authors for emphasizing that social media is MOSTLY about people connecting with people, and LESS about technology. This is a critical distinction. The authors point out that applications that connect people will be more successful than applications that don’t. This is a pillar philosophy in our work at the Colts.

2. Social Technographics Profile – This term was invented by the authors. Basically, they’re saying that different people use social media in different ways. Some are creators, some are critics, some are joiners…and some are inactive. Different factors affect behavior. Age matters. Gender matters. Personal passion matters. If you understand the social technographic profile of your customers and prospects, it will help you develop a strategy to leverage social media to engage that group.

Basically, the authors have invented another prism through which we can segment audiences. We already know about demographics and psychographics…now we’ve got social technographics. OK, I get it. Different people use social media differently. But which people? And what differences? Here’s where the authors introduce a model, which they call the Social Technographics Ladder.

Social Technographic Ladder – Here is how the average online population breaks down in terms of social technographics. Each step in the ladder represents a group of consumers more involved in the groundswell than the previous steps. To join the group on a step, a consumer need only participate in one of the listed activities at least monthly.